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Google Introduces Inbox, an Email App

Email Icon ImageIs your email inbox out of control? Mine is with 3,054 unread messages out of 3,601 total messages as of this writing. Google’s Gmail product team decided to rethink email and developed Inbox, a new email app. Inbox will do more of the heavy lifting for you to keep everything organized and presented in a contextual manner. As you know, it’s hard to get anything done if you are spending a great deal of time looking for a particular email or cleaning them out.

Key Inbox Features:

Bundles

Bundles builds on the categories feature introduced in Gmail. It allows similar emails to automatically be combined together. For example, all your bank statements are grouped together so you can review them and then swipe away. You can teach Inbox how you want emails grouped by choosing which emails you want grouped together.

Highlights

Key information from important emails, such as photos, flight itineraries and package tracking information, is highlighted. Google uses its data mining ability to add web information to your emails. For example, an email from the airline about your flight would include real-time information about your flight. You can click on the highlight to get the underlying message. Highlights and bundles help you get key information at a glance.

Google Inbox Highlights Example

 

Reminders, Assists and Snooze

We all have a lot to remember to do. With Inbox, you can add your own reminders, which will appear alongside your messages. They can be anything you want, including picking up your dry cleaning and making appointments. Google provides assists by pulling information from the web. For example, if you created a reminder to make a restaurant reservation, the restaurant phone number and hours of operation may be displayed.

Assists also work in your email. If you receive a restaurant reservation confirmation, Google will add a map to the location.

Google Inbox Reminders Example

A sampling of Assists

Not everything needs to be done right away, and sometimes you need to pause email and reminders while you focus on a task. Therefore, Inbox offers a snooze feature. You can set them to come back on at a specific time or when you arrive at a particular location, such as your office.

Using Inbox:

To use Inbox, you will sign in with your Gmail account. Your old Gmail messages will be there, and many changes will be reflected in Gmail. Inbox replaces the familiar list of subject lines and senders to the overall look of a social networking feed. Once in, you can create your own bundles, reminders, assists and to-do-lists. Also, stars become pins, and labels become bundles.

The current web version of Inbox only works in the Chrome browser (naturally), but compatibility with other browsers is planned along with a tablet version. Right now it does not work with most Google Apps for Business domains, only Gmail.com.

Google will continue to work on Gmail but expects people to use one or the other but not both. Google claims Inbox to be a reinvention of email, but some of these features share similarities with other programs and apps, such as Mailbox and Google Now.

As I have reviewed Google’s blog post and early users’ experiments, one question keeps coming to mind. Why not put these features into Gmail? Maybe this app will grow into its own. Maybe features will eventually be incorporated into Gmail.

Google is rolling out Inbox on an invitation basis. You can invite friends once you receive one. If you just can’t stand waiting waiting, you can email inbox@google.com to get an invitation as soon as new ones are available.

About Jennifer Nash

Jennifer Nash is the owner and president of Living Business, a consulting business that focuses on the intersection of strategy, marketing and operations.