In an effort to stay relevant, the United States Postal Service is introducing a new program that will make receiving snail mail somewhat more convenient. The feature will allow people to access the contents of their physical mail over email so that they can know exactly what to expect in their mail for the day.

The free service is being called “Informed Delivery”, and it will email subscribers black and white images of their letter-sized mail pieces. The postal service says that it will get the emails sent to subscribers before 11 am Eastern Standard Time on the day that the mail is processed for delivery. The images will be housed on the internet with an online dashboard.

It should be noted that these emails will only contain an image of the letter and not the contents of the letter itself.

Eventually the postal service is hopeful that larger items, such as magazines, will also be added to the program. The announcement of the initiative was made on the USPS website.

The postal service has already promised that the system is completely secure. The mail will not be opened in any way, and only the parts of letters that were already visible will be scanned.

The announcement on the website said, “The scanned images are of the external markings, showing only the address side of mail.”

Currently, the service is only available in New York City and areas of northern Virginia. The postal service has said that the program will be expanded over the course of next year. The program is only available to residential customers and not to businesses. Customers who want to participate in the program are encouraged to sign up online.

While the service does sound quite useful, don’t expect it to save the postal industry overnight. With email and text messages occurring in an instant, physical letters are largely a thing of the past. It’s no surprise that USPS is doing everything in its power to try and save itself from its inevitable decline.

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