Inbox by Gmail

This week, I received my Google Inbox invitation from one of my wife’s good friends who works for Google. I’ve been using it the last few days, but not to the extent to be able to review it completely. Today, however, I did more things with it.

Although I’m not super impressed with it (just yet), it is a fresh perspective on email. It actually took me a while to start getting used to it. Here are some info and quick impressions:

  • It only works in the Chrome browser, Android and iOS phones.
    Being a predominantly Windows user, this didn’t bode well for me. So, for now, I’m only using it in my Chrome browser on my desktop. I did download it on my iPad (that being my only iOS device) but the app itself is designed for the phone. It looks horrible in it’s zoomed out state.
  • It has a concept called Bundles
    Bundles allows you to, well, bundle your emails. The predefined bundles are Promos, Updates, Purchases, etc. You can create your own bundles akin to creating your own tags. In fact, I’m not quite sure if bundles and tags are the same thing/concept within Inbox.
  • I had a hard time determining if I had new emails or not. Part of it is because of the bundles and how the emails collapse within those bundles. For example, a bundle may say “Promos (25+)” and I wasn’t quite sure if I had any new emails in there.
    New emails do show up in bold, as they did in Gmail, and maybe it does the same thing for bundles (and just haven’t seen it light up that way yet).
    I have to say, most of the bundles are accurate – and you do have the ability to fix it if an email was incorrectly placed in a bundle.
  • Google Inbox have Reminders that are first-class citizens within the app
    You can now create reminders for yourself and they show up just like an email would. It’s like sending an email to yourself. I may consider using this over Trello. I’ll have to see how accessible these reminders are from my other devices.
  • Finally, you can pin items. Emails, Reminders, etc.
    With one click of a button, you can view all of your pinned items. I can’t say that I’m that impressed with how Google implemented this feature. A toggle button, thought it makes sense, just seems a bit off to me. Here’s a screenshot:
    I’m not exactly sure how I would’ve done it myself, being a developer/designer, but I actually stayed away from that button for the first few days because I didn’t know what it was (until I watched the YouTube video). My best guess is that the experience is best suited for touch devices.
    I think what’s bothering me about it is because there’s a left-side navigation menu that switches it from one view to another, and then there are other ‘toggling’ features (on/off type of UI) that were implemented using a single icon that is either colored in (blue) or disabled (gray). I don’t know, it’s really not that big of a deal.

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll probably do a couple more reviews on it later.