These things in particular made Inbox stand out:
* UI - simple, uncluttered mobile and desktop experience with uncomplicated keyboard shortcuts. It even had the little things like a satisfying sun animation when your inbox was empty! Desktop Gmail has a surfeit of widgets and add-on icons that perplex, distract, and confuse.
* Bundles - especially for trips: all the relevant emails I needed, in one place—unbelievably useful while traveling. All tickets and information aggregated automatically (and if not, easily added manually).
* Reminders / Compose access - fast interface for creating small notes and mailing frequently contacted people. No reminders equivalent in Gmail (Tasks are available on Desktop but not mobile) and the mobile compose on Gmail is a blank email.
* Pinning - sticky a reminder or email for easy access and reference later. I guess gmail's equivalent is marking as important or moving to inbox?
In any event, if any of the Inbox team are reading this: big THANK YOU for creating a revolutionary product that was a joy to use. I already submitted feedback through the app wishing it would continue but if there is anything further I can do please share how!
That being said, I'm on Android and do use it to manage all my trip data. Prior to that, I was using various versions of Worldmate.
I do love the service. Their website design feels aged and worn, but the functionality is great. I love trying out confirmation emails from new travel services to see if they can parse them. And they usually do a good job.
They get given a key to act on your behalf they would never get your actual login details.
Click Analyze to see that I've flown 297 flights to 83 unique airports for a total of 539365 miles, which is 2.258x to the moon.
In all honesty, feel free to use something like Tripit — see my response to the parent.
It's not that I can't organize things myself, it's that it is nice when Inbox does it for me.
If anyone has a good alternative please share
The ios gmail app does not have any good answer to this, though. You have to select each email one by one and then delete/archive.
This is what kills me about the iOS GMail app compared to Inbox. This feature needs to be ported to GMail before Inbox is gone.
The one thing I miss from Inbox is being able to see my Done/Archived emails in the order archived. (So I can see recently archived emails, even if they're old emails.)
Swipe to snooze would also be nice.
Is it possible they are just incorporating these features into Gmail? That it was like a safe sandbox for working this stuff out before making at least some of it standard?
I'm quite relieved to hear that; do you have a source? It doesn't seem that you work at Google.
"Thank you to everyone who made Inbox a part of your life. We're taking everything we've learned and rolling it into Gmail."
Just, my, luck.
Maybe it felt mundane to you but I found it extremely handy when landing in a new place, trying to rent a car, and get to my hotel. Just referencing the same little spot in the app was super helpful.
Do it now, or when am I most likely to be able to do it?
Cognitive load is a real problem, why would anyone want to see an email that they can do nothing about, above one they can deal with now - and if you just put it in a folder... you have to check that yourself. That's ridiculous. It should remind you - say I'm waiting on package tomorrow before I reply - I shouldn't see the email, or think about it until after the package comes tomorrow. I certainly shoudn't need to remember to look through a custom list, in order to see it.
Google literally revolutionised email, and are now deprecating it - when half the problem was that they rolled it out in a separate and confusing way... Please bring snoozing to Gmail ASAP or I will be so sad.
I don't get why people want to be able to see everything all the time - or have to check in different places. Showing the notes as items in google inbox was fantastic, as was hiding them when they are snoozed.
- Classic Calendar tasks
- Reminders (Calendar, Inbox, Assistant)
- Tasks (Sidebar in Gmail, Calendar, and Docs)
Correct me if I'm wrong? They merge and create new task databases all the time it seems, so it's hard to keep straight.
The third tasks interface is in keep ;)
Just for this one in particular, you could try basic HTML mode for GMail: https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/h/1pq68r75kzvdr/?v%3Dlui
But then of course you get even less features.
Even adapting my workflow to the new tools, everything is nested - like you want a note in keep, or a task in tasks (and deciding between the two is not always obvious) - that requires you to go into a sub-menu / sidebar... the UX is so complex, it's really a struggle to be efficient so far.
I use Boomerang for all kinds of reminders. For me it works better than Inbox did and it was the reason why I went back to Gmail after trying Inbox for about a month.
I use a multiple inbox pane "is:starred" for pinning emails.
I never really "got" bundles. It was more of an annoyance to me and I prefer manual labeling.
The UI: yeah, it's still Gmail...
I thought it was complete crap.
Just adopt the new services, and if they disappear, use something else.
What do we exist to persist these days and how long for?
Google have broken that trust on countless occasions, and as a consequence for half a decade they have been deprived of the opportunity to waste any more of my time. You should consider doing the same
If only I could easily use something like notmuch/isync on my phone...
Gmail doesn't have the automated bundling features that Inbox does, and like you, losing Inbox will be a pretty significant blow to my ability to manage email.
I've been slowly migrating away from Google's services for a long time now because they keep pulling stunts like this - it's like they're completely unable to keep their engineers focused on maintaining any kind of product consistency or long-term support.
Android Pie's awful UI/UX changes and discontinuing Inbox are very nearly the last straw for me. I can't avoid Gmail entirely as I'm too attached to the address, but worst case I can always just forward to a new one.
I don't think it's intentional, but it's a side-effect of Google's bonus structure. There's more money to be made (by employees) if their team successfully launches a new product. Maintaining existing products isn't as profitable, in fact, launching and deprecating popular products as frequently as possible is the optimal scenario for maximizing bonuses.
1. From the information I've encountered. I'm not a Googler.
Off the top of my head, I've observed:
- Resume Driven Development: wherein enterprise contractors and developers inject as many fad frameworks, architectures, and uncalled for features unnecessarily.
- Vendor Driven Development: wherein the application architecture is tie to a cloud solutions billing model as much as possible.
- Search Engine Driven Development: wherein the code is just a bunch of copy/pasted code that isn't really understood, and doesn't really work together coherently.
- Ignorance Driven Development: wherein a perfectly serviceable solution which is better in every way was not used, simply because the developer saw a problem and immediately went to code, without looking at how everyone else in the world solves the problem.
- Delusion Driven Development: wherein a completely useless application is beautifully crafted based on the obvious delusions of a manager or founder, which have successfully spread to the development team without any critical push-back or data to back the deluded assertions of the authority that has deemed the software necessary.
Google is an R&D company really, not a consumer one.
Gmail takes a traditional approach to email management. Messages come in, you read them, maybe organize them with labels, then archive them, delete them, or just leave them in your inbox forever. It doesn't really make any assumptions about your workflow, it just gives you a bunch of fairly standard email client features and leaves it up to you how you use them.
Inbox on the other hand is very opinionated. It was designed around the idea that your inbox is a to-do list, and everything from the UI to features like pinning, snooze, and reminders is built around that assumption. Emails come in and get sorted into categories, then you go through that list triage them, marking emails that require no action as done, pinning the ones you want to deal with soon, and snoozing the ones you want to come back to later. You can even attach reminders to emails so you don't forget what task they represent. When you're done you hit the sweep button and everything that isn't pinned or snoozed gets wiped clean.
As a result of this workflow, emails you've already dealt with are hidden away in the "done" folder, leaving only emails in your inbox which represent reminders or tasks you have yet to complete. You can even add custom reminders to Inbox which aren't tied to any specific email. Basically it turns your inbox into a to-do list.
I'm saddened to see Inbox go. Gmail doesn't really capture this workflow with quite the same level of elegance Inbox does; it just wasn't designed to work that way. I suspect that long after Inbox is gone I'll still find myself using the workflow it taught me; treating my inbox like a to-do list even when the client I use is no longer built around that workflow.
Yeah this is a massive gut punch for that reason. Inbox is how I organize my life right now. I reply to myself, snooze emails for a specific day, track bills, all through Inbox. Say what you will about becoming too dependent on technology, but Inbox was really the first tool I had where I felt I had TODOs figured out, so that I wouldn't miss doing important tasks. This scares me a lot. Hopefully gmail is configurable to pick up a lot of the slack.
If you want to maintain your own email server as a hobby, go for it. I have different things I want to do with that time.
Setting aside the comparison you're trying to make, there are a lot of choices you can make. You can choose to rely on a web app hosted by a third party to secure all of your data and provide you with a consistent service. I think time and time again this is proven to be the most foolish choice, at least if you truly believe the service will continue to be provided. You can also choose to rely on third party services implementing common standards (i.e. POP and IMAP) and allow interchangeable third parties to provide services while your day to day interactions with your computer are managed by software that you run yourself. That software doesn't have to be open source or free. When you have purchased a license tied to a physical installation medium you are still in a better position to control how you choose to use your computer compared to being completely dependent on whatever trustusoksoftware.com is serving up today. Free software is best of all, but isn't the only alternative to web applications.
Anyways, I will come back around and address you on your own terms after all. You can draw parallels between open standards and the regulations governing all the services you claim are nothing more than time savers. You can also draw parallels between the civic duty to vote and take an active interest in the health of your society to the need to push for open standards and free software that respects user rights. Well functioning societies didn't pop up like mushrooms after rain overnight, and they don't continue to work without constant maintenance (not mere delegation of trust to third parties). Software needs to be treated as seriously as everything else you rely on. Personally you can save your time and ignore these issues entirely, but you can't just off hand compare anyone concerned with the current state of software freedom to being a model train builder and laugh it off as a waste of time.
Not that long ago, gmail was a radically new way to deal with email.
1) aggregating emails from a single conversation in your inbox - yes, on the old days, every incoming email was a line in your inbox.
2) providing archive functionality - no need to organise and file your old emails, just click archive and use the search later if you find you'll need them
The fact that gmail is now taken for granted is quite interesting though, it really was astoundingly revolutionary at the time and really built the halo image around Google.
I considered implementing the Mutt threading algorithm in a browser extension for GMail. It's one of those "If I ever have less to do, I'll give it a shot" ideas that will never get done :)
GMail was new 14 years ago. I think that's a pretty long time no matter how old you are.
Bundling (in the inbox) is THE reason for using Inbox. It's the only unique feature. It's the thing that changed how I use email.
If I use folders it's the kiss of death for any email that a rule sends to that folder. I want a single list but with some items collapsed.
Email went from unthreaded to threaded (reducing the complexity massively.
Bundles takes that one step further.
In both cases the critical thing is one ordered list but with a massively reduced number of individual items.
I don't want to go back to gmail, now it looks like a complete mess compared to Inbox.
Should I start writing a replacement client ? :///
Oh wait. That's bundles...
They pushed it for all the github emails, and I had to unbundle them, separately for each github repo, super annoyingn.
No. You didn't turn off the automatic categories. It's a single checkbox in settings.
My only bundles are the ones I've created and they work exactly how I want them.
My stress level just went up after opening gmail.com after few years since I switched to Inbox.
Being used to just swiping emails that I didn't need to attend, I didn't realize they were still in "unread" status.
Now when I opened Gmail, I see:
And.. we cannot Pin emails in Gmail the same way as in Inbox :( [I have already read the "Pin emails" section in https://support.google.com/inbox/answer/9117840, but starring/labeling/searching doesn't give the convenience that Inbox pinning did.]
I'll also miss all the rich email rendering of emails like shipping tracking, flight tickets, appointments, etc.
Update: And of course Google would discontinue Inbox. Inbox did not have ads, but Gmail has freaking ads!
Freudian slip: I accidentally wrote "the time spent in the ad" on the first try. :)
I understand that it used to be very difficult or impossible to unsubscribe from stuff, but nowaways it's easier than ever as emails are basically required to have a one or two click unsubscribe system.
I then cannot distinguish between truly unread emails and the emails that I swiped as Done in Inbox, but still left unread in Gmail.
Inbox got it right by not showing unread counts and just letting you mark emails as done when they're no longer needed.
But then it’s Google. The key people probably got bored and moved on and perhaps no one else is willing to take it up. At least they didn’t make 10 different email products like they did with IM.
Any suggestions for alternative email clients for iOS/Android (other than Gmail app) which works well with Gmail? The iOS client doesn’t work well with Gmail. I’m looking for something which has as many as possible features from Inbox and doesn’t mess up my inbox — i.e. no Mail Pilot.
Additionally, the mobile app is amazing at deep linking back to the right place in another app. For example it can recognize a Seamless food order receipt and deep link back into the Seamless app to view the order status.
 oh, and maps!
Docs was an acquisition
I wonder if any regulations around phone numbers is actually what it protecting Voice from getting nuked from CEO orbit.
Reader/iGoogle didn't have ads, but stopped you from visiting places that did have ads.
Inbox didn't have ads, but was directly pulling users away from gmail which does.
What exactly is a "large enough scale"?
The mentality that a project is a failure unless it achieves exponential growth and massive world-eating scale needs to die in a fire.
Even small things have value, and one of the few good things about massive corporations is they have the resources to do a lot small things well. When you have 85,000 employees, focus is overrated.
I like to think I understand the sentiment, but I think the reality is a bit more nuanced than that.
Inbox and GMail in all likeliness are in the same product area (PA) and thus at some point in the chain they report to the same person.
That being the case, if Inbox takes even 1/2 the time of this manager that GMail takes, then it's really not worth it because GMail easily has more than 10x the users.
My guess is that they will try to take all the things people liked about Inbox and bring them to GMail over time. They probably want to shut down Inbox before that happens so they can use more engineering resources to make that transition more quickly and also so that the tech stack is simpler by not having to support two different products.
probably less than half of them are engineers, and about 20% of them are capable to build complex systems. And now Google has quite long list of technologically complex products: search, ads, youtube, android. I think density of complex projects per capita may be much higher at Google than in other companies.
That's as clear a sign as you can expect that users don't want Inbox, notwithstanding a noisy minority like us.
I was also extremely hesitant because of Google's history of canning experimental apps and Inbox simply isn't integral enough to be safe from the routine culling (unlike e.g. Chrome or Maps).
I was an early adopter for Wave (which ended up going nowhere because nobody I knew wanted to give it a try and I didn't have enough invites to hand them out without knowing people would use them). I tried to get on Orkut but never got an invite (until it had already basically become the "Facebook of South America"). I strongly believed in Google+ as a potential Facebook killer and used it early on. I was also an avid user of Reader in the Web 2.0 days.
At this point, I no longer trust new Google products. Google seems to really want me to use Duo, for example, but nobody I know is eager to use it and I won't talk my friends into using it if it's not clear that it's here to stay. I'm not committing to any Google product if I don't have reason to believe they won't pull the rug whenever they please.
Not to dismiss the rest of your point which is totally valid and a well deserved criticism, but you can use Duo to call people with Android phones even if they don't have Duo, so you don't actually need to convince them to use it.
Because users know it wont be a product that gets any updates and will be shutdown in 2 years.
Personally, I suspect that they painted themselves into a bit of a corner with the tech stack they choose for Inbox. They used a unique C++ to JS compiler to run Inbox in the browser. This worked decently well in Chrome, but the experience in other browsers has been a lot choppier. It's possible the same codebase was also compiled to iOS and this is what caused the very long delay in updating for the iPhone X.
I'm sad to see it go. The UX in the official Gmail app isn't quite as good. The bundle workflow they developed for working through your inbox is something I haven't seen elsewhere.
This has to mean that the product wasn't seeing the adoption they were hoping for.
If the product isn't helping the bottom line, companies will sunset it. "Free beer" would be the most widely adopted offering a bar could have, but it's not going to be good business for the bar.
Thats not always true especially with Google. Anything that helps tighten the already tight grip they have on users directly affects the bottom line.
(BTW the same goes for the old HN hobby-horse, Reader. If it had had a billion users, it would never have gotten shut down.)
However only business logic is transpiled, the UI layer on every platform is written by hand in the native impedance matched language of the platform.
I would love to read some reasoning behind that. I'm really trying to come up with pro arguments but can't.
(I was a heavy inbox user, and i am happy with the stuff that made it's way into gmail).
Outside of some of the bundling features, i'm curious what actual difference people are complaining about here.
We didn't just want "most [Inbox] features into gmail". We wanted Inbox's UI and basic approach further developed.
Similar effects can be seen in the OTT market. Roku gets new features from Sling, Netflix and the other OTT players first, with Chromecast and Fire TV lagging by months or years, and these 2nd tier players are missing Amazon Prime Video (Chromecast) or YouTube (Fire TV) respectively. It seems much like the music sales market IMO...
It's a general statement on the world that people hate all change :)
People have always argued literally every change has no value add for them (and i'm sure for large enough things, there are always people for which that is true).
So that part doesn't bug me.
But that's not what most of the comments seem to be.
Because honestly, if the only complaint people have is "i had to open a different app", that's actually really good for any transition.
- causes uncertainty (will this still work?);
- often comes at an inconvenient time;
- requires the user to re-learn the software;
- might cause incompatibilities with existing tools.
No wonder people mostly don't like updates, especially if they are forced upon them, and if the advantages are not clear.
Imho, to address the above points, software should let the user decide when they perform the update, and the user should always be allowed to switch back. Note that this might require data to be migrated back and forth, but of course that's the vendor's problem.
Snooze was a big one too, but that got crippled in Inbox a while ago as well.
The central idea of Inbox is that your goal is INBOX ZERO, and that after dealing with any email, you swipe it to the side (or mark it as Done with the checkmark in the web UI) and _do not see it again_. (Like 'Archive' in Gmail.)
The second idea is that your emails are Bundled by category. This is similar to a tag or a filter, but you can choose to have them still show (as a bundle) in the inbox, rather than being filtered to not-seen oblivion. For example, I had one bundle for Pull Requests, another for Jira notifications. The app auto-categorizers things for Finances, Promos, etc, so many of the spam-like newsletters you get will end up bundled together. (Bundles default to only showing things that are not Done, unless you click a bundle's category on the left navigation bar.)
That doesn't sound very useful. What makes it useful is that you can archive/Done an entire category. All of those emails from TeeFury, Newegg, Amazon, Steam, Github, etc that you would normally consider usually-clutter suddenly are SUPER easy to deal with. It basically makes archiving those no longer annoying, as you can do it all at once. Best of all, you see them first, so it's harder to have something get filtered without being noticed.
Pinning prevents you from archiving an item (unless you explicitly click it). This means that you can ping something in a bundle, archive the bundle, and it will archive all the other things, and leave the bundle with that one item visible.
I am profoundly saddened that Inbox is going away. As others have said, it _changed my life_ in terms of how I dealt with overwhelming email volumes at work.
Gmail’s horribly cluttered interface compared to Inbox, both on web and mobile.
I think the important point for me is not like "This is a nice to have" or "I don't like extra clicking" it's "This affects my actual health." Literally, it's my health. Not doing this makes people who have mental illnesses like anxiety more unwell.
Bundling is the main development that Inbox brought to the table.
Three things are highlighted:
Extraction of info from items and display (now in gmail)
Bundles (some made it into gmail)
Reminders, assists, and Snooze (now mostly in gmail)
So i'm not sure i'd agree with you here, but i definitely would agree that of the big three, bundling made it in the least :)
Where? “Categories” were in Gmail before Inbox, but there still doesn't seem to be any way to get them bundled in the inbox the way Inbox’s primary display does, though you can set them as separate inboxes.
Edit: and the gmail version of bundles has fewer categories than Inbox does
I have all "low priority" emails show up at 5pm when I'm winding down my workday to deal with them.
That's the kind of thing I'm going to miss the most.
Gmail has `Tasks`, but I'm not aware of it showing up in the same stream as emails.
You also seem to believe that more features are always better, but part of Inbox's charm was that it wasn't bloated like Gmail.
Using pinning to effect a simple TODO list.
(Unless you have moved, in which case I'm sorry)