It has been a long time since we saw a change in Gmail interface. It is quite an overdue!
The boring Email
Emails are pretty boring, I mean if you think about it there isn’t a lot to do. All I look for are reading emails that I receive and sending out emails. And gmail does that pretty well without much of a fuss. It is fast, simple and efficient.
Rise of Inbox
When Google introduced “The new Inbox from Google” I thought that was the route Google was taking to Email. It felt like Inbox was the answer to a new Email experience, and why not? It combined the best of all worlds. It took the features that MailboxApp(which got acquired by Dropbox and evetually succumbed to a death), features like Snooze for a periood of time, Mark done,etc. that lead to a cleaner experience combined that with simple, fast and efficient gmail experince.
Inbox even gave users an option to make inbox default when you enter gmail.com on your web browser. I was pretty certain when I saw that option that gmail was nearing its end or so I thought!
Although I use Inbox every once in a while on my phone I really never liked using it on my laptop/web. The more I think about it the only reason why I used Inbox on my phone is the grouping of emails (Promotions, Social, Regular) is something I think I prefer in my context of mobile phone usage and don’t quite like it on the web. Because I disabled the grouping option on Gmail.
If you are wondering if Inbox is still a thing? Yes, it is you can use it by going to inbox.google.com.
The new redesigned Gmail
The new redesign brings about quite a few visual and functional changes.
- You now have the option to hover over an email to bring up quick options such as : snooze, mark as read, delete, archive. It also shows pdfs, link to sheets/document/attachments so that you don’t need to open the email.
- There is now a bar on the right side that can shows your calendar, keep, todo.
- There is a main menu bar which allows you to hide/make the left side bar to make it more compact and expands as you hover over it.
- I have also read about the ability to have expiration period on emails but I wasn’t able to see it( not sure if I have to toggle some switch for it) or if it is only available for certain accounts(like enterprise)
The new look still hasn’t perculated to the enterprise users I believe as I still don’t see the option to switch on my work email.
Since I am using the new gmail look on my personal account I don’t quite find the right quick sidebar to the calendar useful. I like the Todo but since I am a commandline junkie I have my own little workflow for tasks and don’t quite know if I want to move to Gmail’s todo yet.
Minimizing the main menu as good as it sounds interms of more real estate on the screen for reading more of the email subject+content, it seems sluggish when you hover over it to reveal the various options. So I let it be the way it used to be.
End of Inbox?
When I heard about the features that made its way into Gmail the first thought that came to my mind was does this mean that Inbox will soon come to an end?
The features that were exclusive to Inbox are now available to Gmail. I for one never really found any of the features that were introduced in Inbox too useful beccause for personal use there are very few emails that I want to come back to and for those I usually have enough brain space/ memory to remember it. Archiving emails is something that I never really practiced so no go on that front too.
I am pretty sure that a company like Google would do their due deligence and have data for why they introduced Inbox features into Gmail. Which leads my thought train into 2 different directions: 1. Features of Inbox are well received generally by people(except me) in which case why bring it to Gmail? 2. Having 2 different versions of gmail isn’t paying off for them, in other words their usage data for people using Inbox doesn’t justify having that service running.
I believe it is the latter that new features made its way into Gmail. And that is why I think sometime in the near future Inbox might get discontinued.