The newly released Inbox by Gmail has only been out a short while, and although it can be downloaded from the Play Store by pretty much everyone, using the app requires an invite at this point in time. Google is doing their own rounds of sending out waves of invites, they also tossed out three invites each to existing Inbox users to hand out to friends, family, or generally anyone. Email has become an important part of the day for many of us, but no matter how much we strive to reach inbox zero, or how often we check our inboxes to stay as up to date as possible so we don’t get backed up, email can still feel a little overwhelming at times. Google has attempted to attack this issue head on with Inbox.
Inbox just might be the best email client you’ll ever use, and there are numerous reasons as to why. The first is that its main goal is to help you manage your emails and tasks more with a streamlined approach. Yes, Inbox has a more task driven focus to it, and this is evident by the “set reminders” feature that is embedded within the application. When you set a reminder within Inbox, it throws the reminder to the top of the pile so you’ll see it easily. It can be filtered down the list as new emails come in, but you’ll easily notice it even if you have to scroll down a bit. As someone who spends quite a bit of time checking their email throughout the day, it can be extremely useful to have a visual reminder for something important that you have to do by having the capability to post a reminder inside of your inbox. If you use email often, this feature might become your best friend.
While Inbox’s makeup automatically feeds you your incoming emails in the most reasonable way possible, there is still a layer of customization to the way things are listed so you if you value a little more control, that hasn’t gone away here. Inbox will attempt to filter any incoming emails into the appropriate “bundles,” which are like tags. This is already infinitely more useful than the normal Gmail inbox, as Gmail has it set up to filter emails that are viewed as “primary,” “social,” or “Promos.” Inbox has all of this and takes things many steps further, by giving you numerous different bundles for stuff like social, promos, travel, forums, updates, finances, and purchases. These bundles are all listed inside of the inbox, tucked away in what feels like a forum with numerous threads. As you tap on any one bundle, you’ll find all the associated emails within, just you like you would with a forum for a specific device and all the threads posted within that forum that relate to it. You can move emails to different bundles too. If you get an email that comes in under promos but for example, you feel it should be placed under another bundle name, you can move it(you can also create your own bundle categories)and from that point on any incoming emails from that particular sender will be filtered into the bundle you designate. These are really useful features, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.
One of Inboxes best features, in fact, i’d go so far as to say it is the best feature, is the capability to snooze emails. There are plenty of times where I get important emails that comes in that don’t need my immediate attention. If I don’t take care of them right then and there however, there is a possibility that I’ll forget about them. I might not need to check these emails for days, which increases that chance. With the snooze feature, which you swipe left on the email to access, this becomes a non-issue as I can simply take a minute to figure out when I would like to be notified about the specific email, and then set that time and date. You can select to be notified later that day, later that week, or you can customize the snooze timer and set a specific day and time of day if it’s something more like 3 weeks out. Google has even implemented the ability to snooze an email based off of location, so if you’re riding your bike to the coffeeshop downtown and something important comes in just before you leave, you can snooze it to notify you once you reach your designated area, and once Inbox can verify the location you set as you arrive, you’ll get another notification. Neat, right?
There are many other useful features that make Inbox better than any other email client, that isn’t to say that it isn’t without its faults. There are a few things that could make it a touch better, and hopefully Google is working on those things. The first is one that hit home for me personally. Right now, Inbox doesn’t support Google Apps accounts, so if you have a work or university email that uses Gmail through Google Apps, Inbox will not filter those emails in at this time. This is likely due to the fact that Google is still working on Inbox and is planning on making things the best that they absolutely can be before they start to allow school and business accounts access, which is understandable.Still, it is a drawback, and because of it I am having to manage Inbox and Gmail to monitor both my personal and my work account.
There is no swipe to delete like within Gmail, which was a nice feature and made for quick transfers of unwanted emails to the trash bin, but this is because Inbox has opted to have the done folder by swiping to the right, and the snooze feature by swiping to the left, instead of having delete and archive. An even trade off I would say. You can send things to the done folder, and once there, you can send anything in the done folder to the bin, which is essentially your trash. You can also individually enter each email after entering into your desired bundle, and access the three dot button for a “move to bin” option. While the swipe to delete was nice, moving things to the trash is still quick as you can long press each individual email and get the same results. Inbox may have a couple minor setbacks, but they are far outweighed by all the beneficial functions that come along for the ride. If you have a chance to check out Inbox, I highly recommend giving it a try.