Google Inbox – The most innovative e-mail client

This post is NOT about photography, but about e-mail, and specifically about Google Inbox, and question why this is being terminated. If you are interested, please read on. If not, just continue whatever you were doing 🙂

Introduction

I have been using e-mail since I was developing e-mail systems back in the 1980s.

When I first discovered Google Inbox in 2014, I immediately started using it. It has some really great features I have not seen in other e-mail clients.

The tagline is “completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters.” So why is Google killing it?

If you have answers to any of my questions, please comment on this post.

Why Google Inbox?

This is how Inbox is introduced when you start it for the first time.

Yes, it really makes my e-mail management a lot easier.
Great feature, which I use a lot. Have not seen anything like it in any other e-mail client. It will recognize a reply to an e-mail I have sent, and put this on top.
Yup. Very nice.
Q: Can anybody tell me where my Inbox tasks are in Gmail. I don’t even see them in “Tasks” on the right-hand side. Will I have to save them manually, and re-created them?
Snoozing is fantastic. Remind me to look at this e-mail on Monday. Yes, you can snooze e-mails in Gmail, but not tasks or links.
Bundles are just great. A fantastic way to group e-mails, and have them appear when you want, why isn’t this available in ALL e-mail clients.

So how will you handle this in Gmail, Google?

Inbox has always stood out among the e-mail clients. Google offers Gmail, but this is just yet-another e-mail client, pretty much like any other. I’m wondering how to manage the functionality I’ve gotten used to with Inbox, and how you want to help me to “… focus on what really matters “.

This is what I will miss:

  • The nice and clean UX
  • Tasks
  • Email bundling
  • Trip management
  • Snooze to location
  • Saving links

And probably some features which are working in the background which I am not even aware of.

As far as I can see, Google Gmail does not give me any of these. And I have yet to see any other e-mail client which offers any of this functionality. Any pointers would be helpful.

So why, Google, why? Why are you dragging me back to a standard e-mail client. They haven’t really changed a lot, since the 80ies, when I was in software development, and creating e-mail software.

The clean UX

This is a sample of my Inbox screen.
And here is the same screen in Gmail. Why are you trying to cram so much information into the same screen?

Tasks

Showing tasks in the same list as the e-mails make a lot of sense. A lot of my e-mails are also tasks to be followed up. So why does Gmail have a separate list on the right for tasks. And why don’t my Inbox tasks show up anywhere in Gmail?

Q: Any idea for a good task application, which works across devices, and which is integrated with e-mail (preferably also Outlook)? And which also has “snooze to location”?

Email bundling

While Gmail offers four hard-coded tabs: Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums, Inbox offers bundles. And while Gmail shows these as tabs on the top, which are always present, Inbox creates bundles, which are shown in the list. You can configure when you want to see them: as messages arrive, once pr day, once pr. Week. This keeps the “noise” out of the way.

For me, one example is photo competitions, and I do receive a lot of e-mails about this. So I have configured these to show up only Monday morning, at which time this pops up as new bundle in my inbox. See how this is shown in the list below.

The screen below also shows one e-mail which was not caught by the automatic filter (which is actually rare). I can just click on the … icon on the message, move it to “Photo competitions” and select “Always do this”.

I can also easily archive all messages in a group with one click, and the bundle is gone from the list, until it is scheduled to show again (when a new message arrives, tomorrow morning, or Monday morning, whatever I have configured).

Showing the bundles in the e-mail timeline makes it so much easier to go through these.

Yes I know, I can set up filters and sort into folders. I do this in Microsoft Outlook, and it is painful to set up, and the problem is that I forget to look in those folders. As Inbox shows the bundles in the stream, they will pop up at the desired time, it’s quick to go through them and just archive the entire stream.

Q: What will happen to my bundles in Gmail?

Q: I notice that some of the photo competition e-mails are “tagged” with “Photo competition”. But how do I show all of these, and move them to archive? The only way I found was to: 1) Open the panel on the left 2) Click on “show more” to see all 3) Click on the “Photo competition” label. 4) Click on the “select all” check-box 4) Click on the … button 5) Select “Archive”. While in Google Inbox: Click on the check mark of the bundle.

Trip management

As a frequent traveler, this is a fantastic function. It analyzes incoming e-mails, and creates a trip bundle for every trip. With flights and hotels, and also other information. And it also offers me to manually add items which are not automatically detected. And the trip bundle is shown in the inbox, and moved higher as new information arrives, such as flight check-in information.

Opening the group shows the flights and accomodations, and below, all the e-mails in the group.

Selecting trips, gives me this overview:

Yes, there are external tools which will read your e-mail, and create trips. But for one, this is a separate app, and also, there is no way to manually add e-mails belonging to a trip, which I do from time to time, for example tickets to events, which would be really hard to recognize as part of a trip.

The trips also shows delays etc.

Q: How to handle trips in Gmail?

Snooze to location

Well, they already took this away. This was a feature I used a lot. Working in different locations, there where things I needed to remember to do when I got to a different location, which was handled by using snooze to location.

Q: How to handle this in Gmail? Yes, I know Google Keep supports this, but why would I want a note to show up in a new location?

Saving links

Inbox also offers functionality to save links to web pages. When in the browser on my phone, I can directly save the URL in the inbox or forward in an e-mail. Saving the link, makes it show up in the list, and can also be snoozed, like any received e-mail.

Last words

Dear Google. I really hope that you will come to your senses, and instead of killing Inbox, continue adding new features.

As mentioned, Gmail is just YAEC (Yet Another Email Client).

Double full rainbow

Not often you see a double full rainbow.

This is taken from my cabin in Levanger, Norway, using the panorama function on the iPhoneX, so you see some artefacts.

IMG_1334