Gmail has been quietly working on an alternate email app called Inbox for the past several years. I made the jump a few weeks ago and I’m so glad I did.
Back when I used Gmail, I was the sort of person who kept unread messages at zero, but I was not the sort of person who kept his inbox at zero. I didn’t understand the point. If I needed to keep track of an email I would star it; otherwise I would let it recede into the thousands of read emails in my inbox.
Since switching to Inbox, I get it. Inbox is designed from top to bottom to get people to inbox zero. First, it replaces Gmail’s confusing “archive” button with a crystal clear “done” button. I don’t care about archiving, but I love marking things as done. Second, it’s easy to clear out single or multiple emails with a single tap. Third, it introduces this new feature — snooze — that kicks an email out of your inbox for a set period of time. Fourth, it offers a wonderful visual reward for when you do get to inbox zero.
Here’s what Inbox shows once you’ve cleared your inbox:
What’s so good about inbox zero?
Once you get there, you don’t have to worry about starring emails to keep track of them (tho Inbox lets you pin emails if you need). Instead you can just leave them in the inbox, confident that you will get to them in time. The inbox becomes an organised place of stuff you have to deal with, rather than a uncertain stopping point on the brink of oblivion.
Inbox also does other cool stuff.
“The world has changed a lot since 2004,” Gmail product manager Alex Gawley told Tech Insider in March. “We felt that there was an opportunity to rethink [email] and think about what might an inbox for the next 10 years look like.”
That includes AI-generated suggested replies; bundled emails for easier sorting; improved integrations for calendar, flights, etc.; a much more fluid and beautiful design; and more.