Not content with revealing the Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Android 5.0 Lollipop last week, Google is once again dispersing exciting news for all. This time, Google has announced a new app from the Gmail team entitled Inbox, said to revolutionize the way we read our emails, and make our interaction with them more streamlined. Here is everything you need to know about Inbox by Gmail. Update: we've added information about the web interface of Inbox by Gmail and explained the new features of Inbox too. See below the video for details.
Google’s aim is to completely “reinvent email” by creating an “intelligent” system, for better sorting of emails. This system will almost act like a personal assistant, helping you decide what actions to take for what messages. An improved search function, the ability to set reminders or “snooze” items, and providing an altogether more efficient way of filtering items are just some of the ways in which Google has improved upon the regular email inbox design. Here's a walkthrough of Inbox by Gmail's features:
Inbox by Gmail features
First things first: Inbox by Gmail is not a replacement for Gmail, but a kind of enhancement. So you don't have to worry about trying to come to terms with a whole new approach to email all at once. You can continue to use your traditional Gmail as you always did while you play around with Inbox by Gmail to get the hang of how it works. However, both services are connected, so if you archive something in one service, the change will be mirrored in the other. There's also a web version for Chrome, which looks like this:
Pins are a simple tool that allow you to pin important messages, reminders or other details to the ''top'' of your Inbox. Anything you want to be reminded of can be pinned, and all you need to do to access your Pinned content is flick the Pin switch at the top of the screen. Getting into the habit of checking in here once or twice a day – and pinning things as they come up – is a pretty easy habit to get into, and the benefits of doing so are great.
Inbox by Gmail will automatically create some bundled content for you, which you'd already be familiar with from Gmail's Social and Promotions inboxes. Inbox by Gmail takes this logic even further and adds Bundles for Updates, Purchases, Travel, Finance, Forums and more. You can even create your own Bundles so you can keep any emails from a specific category together. If something is getting bundled that you don't think should, then you can easily remove it from a bundle too.
Snoozing lets you read something and save it to be dealt with later. It's kind of like hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock. You're aware of what's happening but you don't want to deal with it right away even though you know you can't ignore it forever. It's a much better system than marking emails as unread so you get back to them later. Snoozing lets you pick a particular time or place to be reminded of the email, like when you get home or to the office (if you allow Location Services), or just at 7:00 pm.
Highlights are a brilliant idea that pulls out the important information in an email and shows it to you as a preview right in your inbox. If you have a flight booking email, Highlights will pull out the dates and times of the flights so you can see them without even needing to open the email. If there's attachments in an email you'll see them too, and YouTube videos or purchase details can be seen at a glance too. Highlights make digging through emails for details a thing of the past.
Not only can you pin important emails to be dealt with later or snooze emails until you're ready to deal with them, you can also create reminders within Inbox by Gmail to have them pinned to the top of Inbox. So your inbox becomes more than just a place to check emails, becoming a place to go to keep track of your day and make sure you get what needs doing done.
One of my favorite parts of Inbox by Gmail so far is the sweep feature. It's the little check mark with lines next to it that lives at the top of each Bundle or individual email. When you tap the sweep button everything will be cleared out to your Done folder. It works the same as ''being caught up'' with your notifications in Google+. So if you look at your Social bundle and decide there's nothing there that needs to be pinned or replied to, you can tap the sweep button to have your entire Social bundle cleared and removed from the front page until new content appears. You can sweep from within a bundle or email or straight from the front page.
You'll notice that Inbox by Gmail is also arranged according to when your emails and reminders were sent or created. So you'll see one section for Today, another for Yesterday, then This Month and then for every month before. This helps you see in a very quick and easy overview, just how much you have to deal with. If you're using Bundles to their full potential as well, you should be seeing a very manageable list of emails and reminders.
Inbox by Google works with your existing Gmail account and has a web and mobile version. You can preinstal it on your device now, but it is invite-only for the moment. Download it via the Play Store link below and mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request an invitation.
What do you think of Inbox by Gmail? Will this change the face of email forever?