Last night, Google’s Gmail team announced Inbox: its mobile-first reimagining of the email inbox, now available by invitation only.
Google has applied its learning's from Google Now to Inbox, transforming your email inbox from a list of messages to a feed with added value by calling out important information. Similarly to the Google Now app, Google’s server will read your emails and use that information to help get you "just the right information at just the right time." For example, when I receive an email with a boarding pass, Inbox will highlight that and show it in my so that I don't need to dive into the email.
|Google even made a web version but to be honest its nice but just not the same as the app which has all the lovely gestures in it|
In the screenshot above, the attachment is front and centre for easy access. This makes perfect sense -- why have attachments been at the bottom of emails or tiny icons for so long? For example, I might not read the email from Motorola (above), but I am going to want that attachment for my records. A simple tap from the inbox allows me to immediate download it, all it takes after that is a quick swipe and it is gone and in the done pile. Simple, fast, beautiful and efficient -- just what mobile should be. It is worth noting that “Done” is just another word for “Archive.”
You can’t really mention Inbox without mentioning Dropbox’s email application Mailbox. Mailbox is all about getting your inbox to zero. However with Inbox by Gmail, that is just a small feature that it can do. I feel that Inbox is less about getting your inbox to zero, but rather about keeping important messages and files easily accessible.
I did a quick video below to give you an idea of how it works. Because it was built as a mobile application, Inbox excels at condensing important information and making sure it is easily accessible. Inbox also has the ability to tie into Google Now, allowing you to set reminders which can be triggered by time or location.
Google has proved its mobile-first work ethic by launching on both Android and iPhone simultaneously. The Gmail team is less interested in platform loyalty and more interested in access to users, they don’t care if you are on iOS, Android or even Windows Phone they want to reach as many people as possible. For them its all about the users and delivering a truly mobile first strategy is launching on both iOS and Android
To peak interest and build anticipation, the tech giant has chosen to roll out Inbox in the trendy invite-only method. While some companies adopt this practice due to scaling issues, Gmail product director Alex Gawley joked to The Verge that "We're good on servers,” hinting that it is more than likely not a technical limitation.
Another limitation is that Inbox only works for email addresses ending with Gmail.com which is a bit of a problem for those with apps accounts, particularly enterprise accounts. Which means I can’t take the power of Inbox and let it loose on my work account which is a bit of a shame. Much like the role out of Google+ though I am guess that option will be rolled out soon.
It may not seem at first like game-changing technology, but Google has effectively made your email smarter and as a result, your life easier by bringing important information front and centre. Hopefully, the end is in sight for the dumb inbox.