For the past week, I relied on a new app from Google to handle nearly all of my personal email. It's called Inbox, and it works on Android, iOS and in the Web browser on your desktop. It's so new that you can only get access to it if you receive an invitation (write to email@example.com to get one), and it doesn't yet work on business accounts.
Inbox solves a lot of common email issues. It also throws in some cool extra features that are so useful that you'll wonder how you survived email without them.
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Below, I've outlined the ways that Inbox cured my email ailments, or as I call them, emailments.
Emailment: I mark an email as "unread" with plans to reply to it later, then forget all about it.
Inbox Medicine: Swipe right to left on a message or click the clock icon to snooze emails until you can respond. These messages will reappear in your inbox whenever you tell them to — like later that same day, the next day or another week.
You can even set emails to show up again when you're in another place. Inbox can know, for example, that you don't want to see an email again until you're at home, where you can actually measure the size of the coffee table that you want to replace, or talk to the spouse who has to okay a suggested dinner party. When you get to your house, Inbox will automatically display that email in your notifications, which show up on the phone's lock screen. These geolocation smarts also work with more vague locations, like grocery stores. If you got an email with recipe ingredients, you could snooze it to appear again when you arrive at the grocery store. Google Maps ties in with Inbox to know more about your location and what's nearby.
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Emailment: Email is too slow — especially on smartphones. I often need to manually refresh my inbox, waiting too long to get messages.
Inbox Medicine: I was seriously impressed by the speed of Inbox. I received messages using Inbox much faster than email messages I got in Apple Mail. It was even slightly faster than using the Gmail app. I only wished that Inbox could work for my work email, too.
Emailment: Too much of my email isn't sorted in ways that make sense. I don't have the time or inclination to work on it manually, so I keep wading through messages that don't matter to get to the messages that do matter.
Inbox Medicine: Inbox automatically creates "Bundles" of emails for messages that are similar, like Finance, Purchases and Travel. This makes email feel more manageable and less cluttered. Bundles also give you a fast way of dealing with a bunch of email at once.
While I'm on the topic of going clutter-free, I should point out how Inbox uses images to represent various types of emails, like a cartoon of a dining table to represent a reservation, and photos of cities where you'll arrive on flights, to represent plane tickets.
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