If you’ve ever thought that Gmail is about as convenient a platform as email gets, you’re not alone. Nearly half a billion users have a Gmail account, which boasts a 99.9% uptime rate — meaning that the entire Gmail network had a cumulative downtime of just two hours in the 2013 calendar year. Since Google never leaves well enough alone, however, their team has launched the Google Inbox app in the hopes of winning yet more Internet share and delivering a superior email platform for mobiles and tablets than their standard Gmail app. What does Google Inbox have to offer users?
Perhaps the most well-publicized feature of Google Inbox is the snooze feature, which would allow you to hide certain emails in your inbox until a later date. If you’re at work and get an email about a shopping coupon, for instance, you can snooze it until a few minutes before you log off the network and head out the door. Likewise, a work-related email you get on a Saturday can be snoozed until you’re behind your desk on Monday morning. The new pinning function works to ensure that important emails aren’t quickly bogged down under the weight of spam and social media notifications; these pinned messages stay at the top of the food chain until you un-pin them or delete them (or both). Inbox uses an algorithm, furthermore, to pick out the details of your incoming and outgoing messages, such as phone numbers or names or addresses, putting them onto an easy-to-read card whenever you hover over a message so that you don’t have to read the entire email to get the important details.
How To Use It
Since Google Inbox is invite-only, the very first way to use it is to find an invite and sign up for it. Once that barrier has been overcome, you enter into the app and find that you have three different options for reading and sorting your emails. One is the pin function, mentioned above, that takes the important emails and keeps them front and center of your email dashboard. The second is the snooze, which delays notification. The third and final function is done, which means you no longer need the email and it is archived and won’t show up again except in a search. Done is different from deleting an email in Gmail — you retain all the information of the email, but will not be able to see it unless you go searching for its contents.
Inbox and Productivity
How can you get the most mileage out of your Inbox app? Consider your email a to-do list and Inbox as your means of prioritizing tasks and deadlines. Unlike classical email methodologies, in which you either delete an email or hold onto it (until the day you do delete it), Inbox functions as an app that allows you to cultivate an individual response to each email and its contents. How do you want to utilize any given email — Inbox’s set-up allows you to choose between addressing it immediately, ignoring it, returning to it at a later date, and so forth. When you’re overwhelmed with a particular type of email, furthermore, you can bundle them all together under a single theme, whether it’s family e-Christmas cards or sign-ups for the office birthday party. Want to get a lot of promotional emails out of sight and mind? Bundle them together and hit done — they’re gone forever unless you want to return to them.
Inbox vs Gmail
Could Inbox be the email platform that topples Gmail? One factor in Inbox’s favor is that it functions the same on computer and mobile platforms, unlike the Gmail app functioning differently from the computer Gmail experience. Google wants to consolidate its Android platforms and its web platforms and the keys to Inbox make it easy: the filters allow you to determine what you want to see, when you want to see it, compared to Gmail’s tap-dance of moving emails around to different categories. Once Inbox invites reach critical mass, it may put Gmail on the “Done” list.