Review of SNARF: Social Network and Relationship Finder

Microsoft Research tool sorts your email inbox by importance

Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – in this case automatically ‘triaging’ inbound email by user defined importance. SNARF allows the user to design their own personal email importance criteria such as the "number of emails sent to me in the last month". Such metrics can, in turn, be combined to create overall importance criteria for sorting your inbox.

For more details on SNARF plus system requirements and free download click

I was unable to review SNARF in action, as I am running Outlook Express, however I did review the excellent research paper on how SNARF Triage works and have two observations:

Firstly automated social sorting is a neat idea - to be able to assign, on an individual basis a series of 'social metrics' and have them automatically computed from the current and historical email traffic and then to be able to sort your inbox by them.

Secondly, and perhaps I am missing something, I wonder if there is a much simpler social filtering email solution that would work in 80% of the cases using fixed categories such as:

  1. VIP

    Those we will always respond to quickly - top customer, mother, dentist - there may be no email traffic pattern to analyse here.

  2. Awaiting Reply

    Those who we have sent a recent email and not yet got a closure reply

  3. Regular Communicator

    Those where there is a current history of email message-reply 'pairs'

  4. The Rest

    Anybody else

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