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AutoCompletion of email addresses using context in mail client Disclosure Number: IPCOM000228189D
Publication Date: 2013-Jun-12
Document File: 2 page(s) / 32K

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The Prior Art Database


Auto-completion of email address is a very common feature of a mail client. This feature currently does not use the mail context in determining the email address to prompt. The email context i.e. the other recipients, the mail groups and the email content provide important clues that can be used to enhance the user experience and prompt smarter options during auto-complete. This would also prevent accidental data leakage where an incorrectly prompted email address gets added to the mail and sensitive content passed to an incorrect recipient.

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AutoCompletion of email addresses using context in mail client

All email clients today support auto-complete email address feature. This feature is configured to prompt an email address when the user enters a few characters on the email address. There is however no smart logic to how this address is selected. In some cases like outlook and browser based clients, the client simply displays a list of email addresses previously used and cached. In others the client can be configured to also look up the address on a server address book. In both these cases, one can end by selecting a wrongly prompted person as the recipient if one is not careful. Such a situation could also lead to sensitive information being leaked due to an incorrectly prompted email address and mail being sent to an unintended recipient.

There are no current known solutions for this problem.

Using pieces of information from the email, for example list of recipients, email subject etc., the client should make smarter decision on which names need to be prompted to the user.

Current auto-complete implementations simply cache the names used and prompt with the most often used name as the first choice.

The email client can use details like

1. Who are the other recipients of this email?

- For example, for a mail being sent, the user types the first name as "John Smith" and has typed "Tony" as the next address, the email client should make a decision to prompt "Tony Smith" as the first choice instead of "Tony Adams" (even though "Tony Adams" is a more frequently used email address) as it determines that mails that are sent to "John Smith" tend to have "Tony Smith" and not "Tony Adams" as a co-recipient. Conversely, after entering other names, if the first recipient (i.e. first name in the 'To' list) is suspect, the email client should highlight the name to allow the user to correct if any mistake was made with that email address.

2. What is the context of the email?

- For example if the mail has a subject "Project XYZ Schedule .." and the user has typed a name "John", the email client should prompt "John Stewart" as the first choice instead of "John Smith" as it determines that the mails regarding "Project XYZ" tend to be sent to "John Stewart". Similarly context of the email can be gathered by examining the contents of the email body.

3. What email groups does the user belong to?

- For example if a person belongs to an email group/distribution list, t...