What is Inbox by Gmail?
1. Bundling - the ability to group emails by type in your inbox. If you subscribe to a lot of newsletters or forums and you start using Inbox, you will soon see these emails appear as one category, instead of 7 or 8 separate emails. Clicking on that category will show you all the emails that have been grouped together so that you can read and work on all of these emails. Inbox comes with a number of pre-made bundles, but you can make your own too. If you don't like bundling, you can disable it.
2. Snooze - If you Snooze an email you basically hide it for a set period of time. So, if you have an email that you can't answer yet because you are waiting on some additional information, you can Snooze it so that it leaves your inbox and returns at a time when you are better equipped to deal with it. If you've ever used Boomerang for Gmail, the functionality is very similar.
3. Reminders - Add a task with a due date to help you remember to take care of something. Reminders are can be added to your Inbox or snoozed until nearer the time. Reminders also appear on the Reminders calendar in your Google Calendar, just like they do when you add them with Google Keep.
5. Quick Replies - If you use the Gmail mobile app, you will already be familiar with this feature. Quick replies are short suggestions on how you might want to reply to the email you just read. They are often eerily accurate and a quick way to save yourself some typing if you want to confirm or thank someone.
6. Material Design - Despite the ability to customize with Themes, Gmail is not very easy on the eye. The overall design is a little dated and not in keeping with many of the other apps in the Google stable. So, when Inbox was created, Google made sure to incorporate its Material Design language. This gives a very clean and modern appearance that also allows you to hide the sidebar where all your labels live. Hangouts are also hidden away in the top right-hand corner.
A Quick Reflection
Pinning was useful occasionally, but again, not something I used very much. If you are used to starring things in Gmail then this might be an easy transition for you. I never used stars very much so probably won't pin very much either. The quick replies, on the other hand, were something that I used with increasing frequency. The algorithm that Google uses to scan the content of your email and serve up some suggested replies is surprisingly accurate, and according to Google, the more you use it, the better it gets. Lastly, the design really appealed to me. I like things that are designed well and look good. For that reason, I have previously used things like Spark to process my Gmail, but Inbox is a big improvement over Gmail, in terms of design, so I am happy to use that to read my email.
However, if you put these concerns aside for just a minute, I think you might want to give Inbox a try. There's a lot to like, and I for one, am fast becoming a convert. So, if you're already using Inbox, I'd love to hear any tips and tricks you have in the comments below. Similarly, if you tried it and hated it, what was the straw that broke the camel's back for you?
Digital Learning Consultant