Will This App Replace Gmail?
The demise of email has been predicted for over a decade, yet the volume of email continues to grow even if you don’t count spam. Ironically, the alternative messaging services that were supposed to kill email have instead fueled its exponential growth. Will Google Inbox solve the problem of email overload, and replace the popular Gmail service? Read on to find out...
What is Google Inbox?
In addition to personal correspondence, email now brings me Tweets, Facebook notifications, Paypal and credit card receipts, bank account transaction notifications, sellers’ shipment notices, USPS “track and confirm” progress reports, press releases, breaking news bulletins, calendar appointment reminders, and lots of "special offers" for products in which I have no interest.
Google Voice even sends me email when I get a phone call, and occasionally hilarious attempts to translate voicemail into text. I even get copies of my text messages in my email inbox.
RSS was supposed to be the email killer, enabling people to "pull" items of interest from a collection of websites, instead of having them "pushed" to their inboxes. But RSS never gained much traction outside of techie circles. Ironically, the most common use for RSS feeds now is publishing email newsletters.
So email is not going away; it remains the common denominator of online communications. Everyone’s inbox is overflowing and it’s all jumbled together. Email overload is particularly painful on mobile devices whose screens cannot display lots of subject lines very well and whose input methods are not well-suited to searching and managing text manually.
Is There an App for That?
Sure; Google just released it. It’s called Google Inbox and it may eventually replace Gmail as we know it. Because it's still in Beta (almost done but still not officially released), you’ll have to request an invitation to join it, then wait until Google adds you. But early reviews indicate that Inbox will be worth the wait.
Nearly all email apps can sort, filter, and perform if-then operations on messages; Outlook’s “Rules” feature is legendarily sophisticated – or complicated if you prefer. Google Inbox does all of that and more, bringing Google’s vast store of information about the world to bear on your email management problem.
Incoming email is sorted into default “bundles” such as Purchase Receipts, Shipping Notices, Travel Plans, and so on. You can create customized bundles based on your personal needs. So far, that’s nothing new.
But Inbox also displays only the most pertinent parts of emails, or attempts to do so. It extracts from an airline reservation email, for instance, just the date, time, flight number, and other essential data, and displays that cogent synopsis in a “card” that pops up when you highlight the message. You can open the email to read how happy an airline is that you chose it for your travel needs, if you wish.
One feature that I'll find most useful is the ability to add reminders to emails for future action; that’s in other email clients too, but Google Inbox hides such “snoozed” messages until their reminder times, reducing inbox clutter.
Integrating Your Inbox and Your Life
What really sets Inbox apart from all other email clients is Google’s encyclopedic knowledge of everything that has to do with your email. A dinner reservation will include a map, reviews, and the restaurant’s phone number. A travel reservation may include directions to the airport. A reminder to visit a store will includes its business hours. So Google Inbox not only saves you time on managing email; it helps you do things based on email’s content more efficiently, too.
Zoho, the small-business productivity Web service, announced two months ago the imminent release of its Inbox Insight app for Android and iOS devices, promising similar productivity features. Now that Google Inbox has been released, Zoho is hemming and hawing about the exact release date of Inbox Insight. Boomerang is another app that offers some of the same inbox organization and reminder features.
Google Inbox will be available as a Web app for the Chrome browser (other browsers will eventually be supported), and on both Android and Apple mobile devices. If you're looking for a way to manage inbox clutter, Inbox is worth a try.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 27 Oct 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Will This App Replace Gmail? (Posted: 27 Oct 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved