Google recently released a new app called “Inbox” and it’s an invite only app at this time, which provides a new front end to your Gmail. It still holds all the same folders/tabs that Gmail has, but they have created it more as a standalone app to access your Gmail.
I finally received my invitation to test drive this new app and can definitely say I’m not impressed. Sure, it’s pretty with all its colors and new layout, but like the other Gmail app, it’s still lacking.
Gmail has always had problems with organization and management. Nearly 10 years ago, I opened my first Gmail account. Back then, there was no mechanism to mass delete, and forget sorting into folders. Gmail created the labeling system, which allowed you to color code email. Later, they gave us a link in our trash bins and spam that would allow us to mass delete, permanently. Finally, they created a priority mail system for us. I still get some of my mail dumped into spam because Gmail can’t decide if it’s Priority mail or if it’s just a subscribed for promotional email.
Inbox feels like Google has thrown up their hands and said, “F*ck it! We didn’t get Gmail right the first time, let’s try again.”
Truthfully, I approached Inbox with hopes that I would be able to manage my inbox better. I admit, I do like where they are going with it. It’s pretty. It has a great swipe system where you can swipe to the right and the email is marked done, or swipe to the left and you can schedule when you want to deal with that email again. It uses the Priority mail system that we see in Gmail, but they have added a few more.
Key Points for Google Inbox
- Swipe messages to the right, the email is ‘done’ (not deleted).
On the one hand, it’s nice to swipe the email away. However, I panicked on my first few swipes. I had no idea if I would ever be able to retrieve it again. I did learn that when you swipe your message, Inbox sends it into a folder called, “Done” that you can access any time. Like “Archive” in Gmail, I’ll never really access it.
- Swipe messages to the left to ‘snooze’ an email.
This allows you to put a message on the back burner. You can schedule to read it at another time or day. Inbox sends your message to a ‘Snoozed’ folder.
- Reminders are a nice touch in this app.
However, I set a few, thinking it would give me some kind of alarm. All you get is the notification sound, as if you’ve just received an email. If I set reminders, they must have their own unique sound, similar to an alarm clock, perhaps.
- You can tack important emails in your inbox so they never go away.
- You can view photos & documents inside Inbox without opening attachments thus saving you valuable time.
- Google’s default bundles (a.k.a. tabs in Gmail) are still just as useful and probably enough for most email inboxes. However, if you’re like me, you want to create your own bundles or folders. You can do that now and you can set a notification on that bundle when something hits it. Unfortunately, if your one of those super organized and want a distinct sound for each of your bundles, you won’t get that. There is only one sound for all inbound email.
Now, the problem with this app is the same problem with the Gmail app. When you want to clean house and you’re deleting spam or trash, you have to tap each email’s radio button to mark it, then you can hit the trash bin. There isn’t a ‘Delete All’ button at all. If like me, you’ve got 30,000 Spam emails accumulated or your trash bin is over flowing with years of trash, because Google doesn’t dump it every 30 days like once believed, then you’ll be sitting there tapping your phone for a very long time.
Who doesn’t allow you to ‘Delete All?’
I am not sure I like the search method in Inbox. I gave it whirl and searched my inbox and trash on various topics such as names, email addresses, subject, & random content. With terms that were exact, I got a list of hits, but on something random in the body of a message I got nothing.
Inbox is a handy app. It’s clean and does some neat things. It interfaces well with Google’s apps (Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Maps, Google Drive, etc.) However, I don’t really see the point of creating a new wheel, when all you have to do is fix the old one. It isn’t any more efficient than Gmail.
If you want an invitation to give Google’s Inbox a spin, you can request an invite. Make sure you let me know your thoughts in the comments below.