Trying out Google Inbox

About a week and a half ago I was happy to get an invite to Google’s new take on e-mail: Google Inbox. The idea is to make it much simpler for users to deal and bundle e-mails they get.

I’ve written about my approach before in How to become efficient at e-mail, something I was happy to see Googler Rob Dodson address:

So, I feel happy and effective in my approach, but at the same time, always willing to test something new.

Trying Google Inbox

Google Inbox is based on top of your Gmail account, meaning that all existing e-mails, filters, labels etc are still present. This all makes it very easy to try out with an existing account and structure, and also opting out simple if you want to. It is available on mobile as apps for iOS and Android, and through desktop web browsers at https://inbox.google.com (right now this is Chrome-only, probably through the initial testing phase, but the developers have said that they naturally aim at supporting more browsers) and as a Chrome App.

Features

The basic features of Google Inbox are:

Bundling

E-mails are being automatically bundled together in one category and in your inbox you can see the different bundles, quick view of their contents and making it easy to to read or mark all of them as seen

The bundling is done automatically, and out-of-the-box, Google offers a number of bundles such as Travel, Purchases, Social, Updates, Forums and Promos. Going through my e-mail, I’ve been very happy with Google’s automatic filtering of my e-mail into corresponding bundles.

Highlights

Extracting key data from e-mails, like images, attachements etc, to show in the Inbox list without you having to open the actual e-mail.

Reminders

Want a quick to-do list? Google Inbox offers that funcationality right in your inbox now.

Snooze

If you see an e-mail that you need to reply to/act on but just haven’t got the time at the moment, you can snooze it till later (something that users of Mailbox, acquired by Dropbox, will recognize). It also supports snoozing until you are at a certain location, which is an exciting feature.

Sweep

There’s one quick action for both all e-maiuls in the inbox or all e-mails in a bundle, sweep, to make them all as seen and remove them from the inbox.

Pinning e-mail

You can also pin e-mails that are important to you directly in the inbox so no matter if you mark everything read, the pinned ones will still be there. You also have an option at the top to switch between seeing all e-mails in the inbox or only the pinned ones.

Pinned view switch

Pinned view filtered

Some power features and settings from Gmail are definitely missing, but I think this is a very interesting step in the right direction.

Screenshots

Bundling options

Social bundle

Bundling on mobile

Quick compose on mobile

Navigation bar

Invite-only

At the moment Google Inbox is invite-only, but they seem to be releasing more and more invites (no, I don’t have any invites to share at this time)

When you get the chance to try it, you should, since could be a rewarding perspective and service. And all we aim for at the end of the day is Inbox Zero, right? 🙂


Inbox Zero with Google Inbox

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