Is Google’s new Inbox app worth all the hype? In a word: Yes. In more words: Google’s Inbox is the way to use email that you never knew you wanted.
With Inbox, Google has taken the tried and true route of releasing a largely finished product in a “closed beta” status, ensuring that everyone starts wondering just what Mountain View’s new “Inbox” thingy is and that everybody starts talking about it. Sort of like Google did with Google Wave and Google+, except that Inbox is a development that’s actually worth being interested in.
The main aim of Google Inbox is to transform the way you interact with your email. Sure, that’s just about what everybody says when they come out with a new email app, but Inbox – by cribbing a bit from some other successful email app clients – actually manages to do so.
Inbox takes your existing Gmail account – it only works with Gmail right now – and does away with all of the tabs and sidebars that you never really liked in the first place. No more separate-ish folders for Promotions, Inbox, Social, and so forth. Instead, everything is presented as a sort of constantly updating list. The emails that hit your inbox today are up at the top, while older emails, of course, are located further down.
Hey Inboxers: invites to share should be showing up in Inbox now. Tap the + button and look for the golden ticket. pic.twitter.com/mj6oknk2Da
— Inbox by Gmail (@inboxbygmail) November 6, 2014
The real benefit of Inbox emerges in how you interact with it. You can swipe left or right on emails, with a left swipe logging an inbox item as something to deal with later while a right swipe tells Inbox you’re done with the email and to send it to the archive. Archived emails aren’t deleted, but they just don’t take up space on your screen anymore.
After a day or so of using the app, I’ve got to say it’s a pretty liberating experience. My own personal Gmail account had hundreds, if not thousands, of unaddressed emails. By accident, I swiped to the right on a big stack of them, and they were all archived. Now, I approach my inbox without any of the annoying tags telling me how many unread items I have sitting in my backlog.
One big plus with Inbox is that the user experience carries over from the mobile app into the desktop Gmail client. By going to Google’s special Inbox page, your Gmail account pops up and gives you the same Inbox look and feel that you’d see on your mobile phone or tablet.
In short, the big deal about Inbox is that, once you try it out, it’s hard to imagine going back to the old email paradigm. Just getting everything out of the way and not having all of your older emails bothering you is, alone, worth the switch.
If you want to try out Inbox, though, that’s a different story. Right now, you’ll have to head over to Google’s dedicated Inbox page in order to sign up for an invite. Google did open the invite process to anyone who wanted one yesterday, but that promotion only lasted for an hour. It only takes a few days, typically, to get an Inbox invite, though, so the wait isn’t too bad. Or you could pester one of your friends that has Inbox already.