#20yearsforward: Mail.Ru Email Service Introduces Major Changes and Brand-New Development Strategy

Mail.Ru, the largest email service in the Russian-speaking internet segment, unveiled EGO, the biggest, most ambitious update in years. The team announced a host of new features and options, including the Smart Groups feature, grouping emails from online stores, search by category for transaction messages, reminders, the option to top up mobile phone account via the payment interface featured in the message, and quick pay button for business. The team also revealed the revamped interface and logo.

In 2018, Mail.Ru celebrates its 20th anniversary. EGO, the new development strategy, is based on the changes in the email usage paradigm. Email service is now user-centric, focused on solving specific problems.

“The role of email has changed radically. 20 years ago, internet was a huge data library and a means of communication. The only thing you could do was to chat and share data. Now internet permeates every aspect of life: there are Uber-like services, online shopping, digital content and app stores. In this world of technology, email is becoming the most important digital ID and a means of communication. As the number of digital services is growing, email becomes more and more versatile. It’s true that email stepped down as a means of chatting, passing this role on to messaging apps. Instead, email became the practical tool for handling a huge array of personal tasks,” says Anna Artamonova, Vice President for Mail.Ru Group, Head of Email and Portal Business Units.

The new development strategy for Mail.Ru is based on the 3 core concepts:

* Email must be outstanding: it must filter incoming data and help a user structure the data.

* Email must be efficient: its job is not only to notify a user, but also to offer services enabling users to solve their problems right there and then.

* Email must be guarded: it must ensure data security, as email inbox usually contains private and sensitive data.

Outstanding email

“People receive dozens of messages to their personal email addresses, sometimes hundreds to their business email addresses. The information overload is getting worse, as various companies and services fight for users’ attention. The job of a smart email service is to protect users from unwanted messages, to filter, sort and organize that data. That’s why we developed smart tools powered by advanced machine learning technology,” says Eduard Tyantov, Head of Machine Learning Team at Mail.Ru.

Mail.Ru already features Smart Reply, the first Russian-language smart response suggestion service. The algorithm scans a message, analyzes it and suggests three potenial responses. This is a very handy option for the users who receive lots of emails and don’t have time to write long responses.

Mail.Ru now filters transaction emails (messages sent out by various businesses and services) and groups them into 6 categories: travel, orders, finance, tickets, registrations, and fines. Each category is marked by a specific icon, which makes it easier to spot a certain message in an inbox.

Users can also search by a transaction message category – for instance, one can view all travel-related emails.

The Smart Groups technology introduced by Mail.Ru groups notifications from social networks and newsletters into smart threads, decluttering the inbox and increasing the visibility of the most important messages: transaction emails and messages from the other users, which can be quickly answered thanks to the Smart Reply.

What is more, Mail.Ru now groups into a bundle all the emails related to an order by the same number. The smart machine learning algorithm extracts order numbers from messages and forms a separate thread for each order. Thus, all the info on the certain order is collected within the tread, not scattered throughout the inbox. The feature is tested for AliExpress messages and will be later expanded to all online stores.

Last but not the least, Mail.Ru introduced subscription management feature. Users can view all the newsletters they are subscribed to and unsubscribe or delete unwanted ones in a few clicks.

Efficient email

“We believe that email must provide solutions for everyday problems, that’s why we reimagined the very concept of email: in addition to notifying, Mail.Ru helps users solve their everyday problems right there and then. Email has turned from message exchange tool into a digital hub allowing a user to do more,” says Ivan Myzdrikov, Product Director of Mail.Ru.

A few handy features are already available and popular with users: for instance, Mail.Ru users can choose to receive notifications about traffic tickets and pay fines online without leaving the inbox, or send money to anyone with an email address, regardless of the email provider (at the moment, this feature is available in 17 countries).

It’s announced that the updated version of Mail.Ru will allow topping up mobile phone through the interface in the message. When the account balance goes below a certain limit, a user receives a notification message featuring the quick pay button.

Soon, Mail.Ru’s partners will be able to add payment interface to their emails as well. The feature is now tested by Rostelecom, ivi and Litres.

What is more, Mail.Ru will be displaying additional details: if, for example, a flight is rescheduled, Mail.Ru will notify the user in time.

Mail.Ru will also launch a recommendation system. When checking in to a flight, the email service will suggest printing out boarding pass and booking a ride to the airport.

Guarded email

“Inbox is a personal digital interaction hub. Data security is ensured by the whole array of solutions developed by our team. The importance of security and the sophistication of these solutions grow every year, as people entrust email with more and more data and documents,” says Andrew Sumin, CTO of Mail.Ru.

The Marshal system developed by Mail.Ru team prevents unauthorized access attempts: it employs machine learning to analyze hundreds of factors and user actions. If there is a deviation from the usual behavior, the system regards this as a hacking attempt and blocks unauthorized access.

Another serious cyber threat is phishing, fake messages from large companies. The usual phishing detection approach employs textual analysis; however, it can be insufficient if a phisher doesn’t mention a company name in the email but uses its logo instead. Mail.Ru team taught the neural network to recognize logos and added this phishing detection method to the anti-phishing system.

Security measures are being constantly improved and updated. Mail.Ru Group’s Bug Bounty has already paid $200,000 to security researchers.

Mail.Ru email service offers users all the most advanced security systems ensuring maximum data safety and preventing hacking attempts.


New UI

New options called for the new interface. The brand-new UI was made with the current design trends in mind: it’s advanced, quick and adaptive. Users can choose three-column layout, write multiple messages simultaneously in the same browser tab, collapsing them to the bottom of the screen, and use all outstanding and efficient features included in the update.

Mail.Ru email service also unveiled the new brighter logo.