Zemanta‘s semantic technology has been around in Firefox for a while now via their add-on, which is just one of the tools in their set. Amongst other things it provides you with image, link, and article suggestions based on your content as you write blog posts or compose (Web)emails. This weeks sees releases that support new clients Outlook 2007 and Thunderbird, giving users of desktop mail an opportunity to use the service.
Here I will give a quick tutorial on how to get going in Thunderbird. Versions 2 and 3 are supported. This can be incredibly fun when composting emails to friends and family, or have practical use for writing fact-finding emails.
The install XPI is the same as the Firefox and Mobile, but if you want the Thunderbird listing URL, here it is:
First you will have to turn HTML Compose on. In Account Settings, for each account you want to use it with, go to Composition & Addressing and check the ‘Compose messages in HTML format‘ box.
Setting HTML Compose ensures you can write and see rich emails, and the next step is to ensure the recipient can also see it in it’s full glory. This means that you have to set them to receive HTML mails. The default I believe is for mixed text/html which is fine, and you will be warned if you have the wrong setting. But just to know, first go to the main Thunderbird Preferences/Options and select the Composition panel. At the bottom select the Send Options… button.
In Send Options, look for the Text Format dropdown. Choose any options except ‘Convert the message to plain text’.
Away We Go
That’s it. Now you can go ahead and compose a great email.
The Zemanta ‘Content Recommendations‘ panel appears on the right side in the Compose window. This can be opened/closed via the format toolbar button. When you start writing your email, Zemanta when it has enough words will retrieve suggestions for you. Then you just need to click on the results to add/remove items from the email. It will keep checking back for changed content and refresh the recommendations.