Everyone hates junk mail, but I find myself hating the regular mail more and more as well. Bills can be paid and viewed online. I can see my bank statement from my phone. Magazines have online editions. Why are we still wasting paper sending physical copies of things? A new startup that just launched in San Fransisco wants to take the burden of physical paper off your hands by digitizing all your snail mail and emailing it to you. Sure, the physical mail still exists, but you won’t have to deal with it. You have people for that now.
Outbox started its test run in Austin with 500 customers, only three percent of whom have canceled the service, according to the company. The launch in San Fransisco is the first step in a wider rollout across the country, so hopefully it will be available in more cities soon.
The way it works is an Outbox employee collects your physical mail three times a week, scans it, and sends you digital copies of it. Things like packages and Netflix DVDs are left on your doorstep, and any mail you need the physical version of will be returned at your request. Any physical mail that you don’t want returned to you — you know, pretty much all of it — is shredded and then recycled.
Anyone concerned about someone else going through their mail might take comfort in knowing all Outbox employees are vetted with background checks, and shredding the mail is a more secure way of disposing of potentially sensitive information than simply ripping it half and tossing it in the recycling bin, which is exactly what everyone does currently.
If you live in San Fransisco you can sign up and get a one month free trial of Outbox, after which it will run you $4.99 per month. Not bad for the convenience of not having a bunch of useless paper piling up on your coffee table day after day.
Outbox is actually the opposite of one of Google’s April Fools Day pranks from a few years ago, Google Paper, where they offered to print and deliver physical copies of your Gmail account.
You can check out the official “Intro to Outbox” video the company produced below:
- The U.S. Postal Service is ending Saturday delivery
- A report says kids will spend 25% of their lives looking at screens
- eReader use is on the rise, but that doesn’t mean books are dead
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