March 25, 2014 at 2:36 pm

‘Play My Inbox’ Turns Gmail into Music Playlist… If You Dare

play my inbox

When someone sends you a song through a music service or a social network it comes with a play button attached. Sometimes, you can play that song right there on Facebook or Twitter, or in your email client — but after that, poof! There goes the music, much of it sadly uncollected.

Email is no longer the dominant communication tool it once was, but many of us have reams and reams of the stuff, with more arriving each day, whether we like it or not — and some of those emails contain music that you will probably never hear. Who has the time to go sifting through potentially hundreds of thousands of unread emails looking for tunes?

Play My Inbox solves this problem, although it requires no small amount of trust.

Grant it access to your Gmail inbox, and it’ll go through the whole thing, assembling all of the SoundCloud and YouTube music links anyone has ever sent you into a pretty-looking playlist so you can audition it all before collecting it in your preferred method.

Quite obviously, one might not want to run an app that lets someone see their entire gmail inbox, so we asked developer Pieter of Levels.io for some kind of assurance that Play My Inbox isn’t reading or stealing all of their emails, but rather simply finding and playing the music stuff.

“It’s absolutely an issue, and one reason why this is more of a fun project for me than a promising venture,” responded Pieter via email. “I’ve tried to show some trust by connecting it to my name (Created by @levelsio) and linking it to my blog. I could also put the source on GitHub if that’d help anyone. I think it’s actually good people are scared of it, it means they have a sense of protecting their security/privacy now. I would think twice before using PlayMyInbox if it wasn’t my own product :)”

On top of that, he even shared with Evolver.fm some code from the program showing that PlayMyInbox “only searches for YouTube/SoundCloud links and not the rest of your mail:

	// select All Mail
		logThis("Selecting IMAP folder ".$folderNameToSelect."...");
		$storage->selectFolder($folderNameToSelect);

	// search for mails w/ youtube.com/watch
		$searchTerm = 'SINCE "'.$sinceDate.'" BODY "youtube.com/watch"'.$uidFilter;
		logThis("Searching for messages with ".$searchTerm."...");
		$emailIdsToFetch1 = $imap->search(array($searchTerm));

	// search for mails w/ youtu.be/
		$searchTerm = 'SINCE "'.$sinceDate.'" BODY "youtu.be"'.$uidFilter;
		logThis("Searching for messages with ".$searchTerm."...");
		$emailIdsToFetch2 = $imap->search(array($searchTerm));

	// search for mails w/ soundcloud.com/
		$searchTerm = 'SINCE "'.$sinceDate.'" BODY "soundcloud.com"'.$uidFilter;
		logThis("Searching for messages with ".$searchTerm."...");
		$emailIdsToFetch3 = $imap->search(array($searchTerm));

and here what it saves:

					// finish off
					$item['msgId']=$data['uid'];
					$item['date']=$data['date'];
					$item['epoch']=strtotime($data['date']);
					$item['recipients']=$data['recipients'];
					$item['from']=$data['from'];
					$item['subject']=$data['subject'];
					$item['url']=$url;
						$item['youTube']['videoId']=$videoId;
						$item['soundCloud']['trackId']=$trackId;

So that’s the minimum it needs to show the tracks to a user.”

Dare you bare your inbox to Play My Inbox?

That’s your call. If you do it, though, you’ll not only get the chance to travel back in time through your gmail inbox, but also to turn the whole thing into a neat, shareable jukebox, with the ability to search it all by keyword or browse it all by thread. We’ve already found plenty of stuff worth listening to in there… but we’d still never grant it access to a work account.