Hawaiʻi's Technology Community

For someone who moves a lot from place to place, here is a nifty idea. Why not have a virtual PO Box service, which scans your mail and makes it available online/mobile? 

In my search, I came across a company that's already trying to accomplish that

However, their pricing plans are not quite satisfactory for my needs. I'd like to be able to store all my mail and search through it, keeping full history/archives from the signup date, for a reasonable fee.

I think Google is in a good position to offer similar services, mainly because:
- they have Google Voice that tries to accomplish a similar idea with phones
- they've already done scanning with Google Books
- they really know how to do search well
- can be integrated with other services and made available via Google Dashboard..

Given this, as a frequent address changer, this would be a real time saver for me. 

C'mon Google.. how about it?

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Don't expect this from Google. Scanning individual pieces of mail is VERY labor intensive and has few economies of scale. These kinds of services are for those who NEED them or those who have money to burn.

Because of the labor component, it is unlikely to become cheap enough for those looking for a little convenience.

The cheapest service I've seen of this sort is from Paperless Mail ( A larger operation is Earth Class Mail ( And if you are mainly looking for bill paying check out Pay Trust (
I hear what you are saying about the labor intensive part, but I'll also have to disagree about not expecting it from Google.

For a person who changes addresses frequently, it would actually be quite a handy service, and a bit more than just a 'little convenience'. It is great that there are companies that are already trying to solve this problem. I think we are going to see snail mail moving towards virtualization, the question is how fast are we going to get there.. or maybe it is even going to transform itself in the process and become something else (as there are already 3D capable printers :)

Anyway, given that Google is a data mining company, I think this move would give them the whole 'virtual mail/addressing' market at their fingertips, which is not a shabby piece of the pie. I also think their current products and direction put them in a very strategic spot to pursue this opportunity.

I think main obstacle here is mostly psychological, as we are so used to having our paper letters delivered to rusty mailboxes..
This is a great idea man. Having a PO Box in California and having my mail forwarded sux. Imagine getting instant access to your virtual mailboxes.

In regard to the labor intensiveness of the service, Google already has vehicles scanning all of our streets. I think they can handle scanning mail with some giant super robot.
Google already has vehicles scanning all of our streets. I think they can handle scanning mail with some giant super robot.
Right on.. though in my case, I'd prefer to manage my mail selectively. Most of it can be scanned and made available online with an option to export into Google Docs. Other, more personal/handwritten mail I'd like to simply forward to my current address. In case of parcels, I'd like to choose whether to accept it individually, in bulk, or send back to sender. I'd also like to keep indefinite history of my mail for reference purposes, whether it is a scanned copy or simply address and date of arrival.

Interestingly enough, once a service like that is in place, it is not difficult to imagine having your Bank Account associated with it for bill paying purposes, and email/sms for alerts/notifications. Also, once this process gets going, major institutions will likely be interested in partnering with such a service to start sending mail electronically, virtually eliminating paper communication. ($$ saving opportunity)

I agree, it is not an easy thing to implement, but once going it should be a win-win for humans, corporations, and the environment.

Not to mention, it should also save Post Office $$ on gas/sorting/delivery, since a major chunk of work should be offloaded from their shoulders.. Last I heard, Post Office is actually loosing money, that's why they keep raising the price of stamps every year.
In addition to this, most of my mail is either a bank statement, a bill, or an ad service offering. Instead of having such mail be send in Doc/PDF format, it could be itemized using XML (or alike). This could easily make 'mailing' information available for auto-digest/take appropriate action scenario.. sort of like breaking mail monoliths into useful chunks of data that computers can understand, saving us humans from repetitiveness of most mailing/communication tasks.
Why do we need mail? I only want package service.
I agree. We don't, as paper VS. digital is mostly psychological. Unfortunately we are not there yet, as there is still a lot of paper going around. So having a virtual PO box service could help streamline things in that direction. In any case, we've got to have a better solution than 'mail forward' for every address change..

I also like to do a handwritten mail once in a while, just to make sure I still remember how it's done :) having some kind of a 'personal' virtual PO Box could be a good idea.
Unfortunately, the world of law and commerce still functions mostly through communications on paper so analog mail will be around a long time until that changes.

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