It’s official: Google is killing Inbox, the app that promised to change the way you use email, by March 2019. The announcement has not been met with joy by many loyal users, and there’s good reason for it. After all, the app does have close to 10 million downloads on Android.
“Over the past 4 years you’ve helped us make email better. We’ve brought popular Inbox features to @Gmail helping 1B+ people get more done. Thank you. We’ll be focusing on Gmail & saying bye to Inbox at the end of March 2019. Here’s a transition guide…,” reads the tweet. This has a link to a transition page. But for loyalists, this is not good enough.
As someone who switched entirely to Inbox by Gmail, the news is devastating. Right now, I cannot think of an app that comes close enough to the Inbox experience. Whatever Google might claim, Gmail does NOT have all those features, and certainly not Inbox’s great user interface.
I’ve relied on Inbox to manage my Gmail for the last three years, and it has definitely made my life easier. What I particularly love are the bundles. Ask any Inbox user. We love bundles. Inbox just knows that those flight tickets, hotel bookings for my trip three months in the future need to go into one bundle, which is then marked as Trip to XYZ with the upcoming date showing.
The card format visualization of each upcoming trip is absolutely refreshing, and that is how email needs to be done. When I expand, say a Trip to Bangkok, it displays a visual snapshot of the city on top, and below this are emails related to the journey. The bundle reflects travel dates, and flight number as well.
Not only does it look beautiful, it works well. At least I know all my emails related to the trip are automatically going in one bundle, instead of having to search for them. And Inbox does this with other emails as well.
All my purchases are in one bundle, with a card displaying the dress I bought, when it was dispatched, delivered or even returned. The same goes for my credit card bills, finances, mobile phone bills. This user interface reflects emails in a modern design, and shows all the information the user needs to see.
Then, there are all those promotional emails and mails from social media websites, that I will never open. All of these end up in bundles called Promotions and Social respectively. I have the option of just marking these mails as done, and they will be archived or deleted in one go.
Of course, there’s a chance that sometimes I might delete something that matters, thinking I am marking it as done, but that has rarely happened to me with Inbox.
I believe Inbox made dealing with email easier. I could pin stuff that’s really important, and mark the rest as done. Or snooze a mail and then fix a time for when I want to reply. Anything in Snooze ends up in a separate tab, which is separate from the inbox.
Sadly, Google will soon take away all of this from me and other users in March 2019. And I’m not the only person who feels this way:
Will Gmail do this? Because I’m looking at Gmail right now, and it isn’t doing this.
I DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO THE STONE AGE. pic.twitter.com/BrwcLZaCPY
— Joshua Blanchard (@JTMac) September 12, 2018
I think killing @inboxbygmail is a mistake. It’s well loved. Trying to switch back to Gmail the last couple of days has just left me sad.
It’s just not nearly as good of an experience.
— Henrik Joreteg (@HenrikJoreteg) September 14, 2018
— Thomas Bouron (@eltibouron) September 14, 2018
— Nathan McQueen (@mcqueenna) September 13, 2018
now that Apple’s event is over, let’s all take a moment for Google Inbox
— dan seifert (@dcseifert) September 12, 2018
The recent reviews of the app on Android are all in praise of it, and express their sadness about it shutting down. But the shutting down of Inbox follows the long-established trend of Google killing some of its most hyped products. Remember Google Wave, Google Reader, Google Glass, Project Tango which had the smartphone world excited for some time, Project Ara, and Nexus phones? The list is long, and Inbox will soon be on it. But this one will hurt.
There’s no online petition to save Inbox yet, but do not be surprised if one turns up. And if it does, I will definitely be signing on it.