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Show HN: I Built Darwin Mail as a Google Inbox Replacement (darwinmail.app)
218 points by DarwinMailApp on Apr 20, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 221 comments

Maybe it's obvious to others but I didn't really know what you were selling until the first FAQ. Maybe you need a strapline something like "a new way to work with your Google Mail". I thought it was perhaps an independent MUA app (and assumed it was going to be Mac only, because of the name).

When I first arrived on the page I clicked your first call to action button, which takes one to a Google login, but backed out because I hadn't a clue at that point what it was.

Looks like "a front-end to gmail using Google's API", I guess you need to put that in non-tech speak.

No no anything that's not completely obvious to everyone who visits needs to be changed. Thank you for your feedback.

I've thought about what you said (albeit very quickly) and made changes to the homepage https://www.darwinmail.app/index.php

The homepage subtitle: "Your Google Inbox replacement: reach new levels of productivity."

And a below the hero image: "An evolutionary way to work with your emails." - I think I can expand on this one.. any ideas?

It still reads like it’s a Google/Gmail replacement, and not an add-on/enhancement.

I’m not sure what the right words are, but it definitely needs to be clearer that it enhances Gmail, not replaces it.

“Your Google Inbox replacement: Enhancing Gmail to reach new levels of productivity.” or something like that?

I love this idea. Thank you. Words do fail us sometimes. However, I do like what you're saying. The subtitle should be clearer. I will think about it, to try and come up with the best description I can - I'm open to more suggestions though! Thank you again for yours.

Enhance Gmail to get your Google Inbox features back. Productivity awaits!

Now that is really really good :)

I'm not going to forget this description.

It's so catchy!

I've updated the homepage! https://www.darwinmail.app

Thank you, sir!

Something like:

Darwin Mail: Gmail Evolved

Darwin Mail is a better interface to the gmail account you already have:

- Restores Google Inbox features

- ....

Aside, do you need to add any trademark notices?

I like it! How about: "Enhance Gmail to get your Google Inbox features back. Productivity awaits!". This was suggested by another user :)

Do you mean trademark notices with Google?

Yeah, wasn't sure if Gmail is trademarked and if it is, whether you need a notice.

I really don't think so!

It was Google themselves who reviewed DarwinMail :)

They took their time too, let me tell you!

Beautiful interface. Seriously. This type of design opens me up to Material as Ive been pretty adverse to it until now. Material with rounded edges and transparency. Looks clean.

What tech did you use on the frontend? Im on ipad so I cant inspect your dom ️

Thank you so much for the positive vibes! I'm so happy to hear that :)

It's vanilla JS! Enhanced with libraries such as jQuery, Materialize, XSS, bootstrap, moment, less etc :)

Does she look well on the iPad? ;)

She does!

Amazing!!! If you would like to check out our public Trello board that will give you an idea of our tech stack! https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

Off topic but I've never heard of "hero image" until now and looked it up. Has boilerplate web design become so normalized that everything has a name?

It's a term from traditional publishing. The Wikipedia page on it is pretty misleading in that respect.

And, by analogy, theatre according to this, https://foxxr.com/the-epic-story-of-the-hero-image/amp/.

That's quite an old term.

... yes, so?

It's fascinating. So much creative breadth enabled by modern web and we've converted quite well one the one format for selling a new product or idea.

Not necessarily bad. I'm excited to see how this diverges again.

It's easy to talk to people about something if you name it. Same as header and footer, no?

Hello HN I’m Joey, the maker of Darwin Mail.

Darwin Mail aims to help you be your most productive when dealing with emails & todos.

Problem Inbox by Google was one of the best products they ever made. And then they shut it down.

Solution Introducing Darwin Mail, which aims to replace and become better than Google Inbox ever was.

Features - Snoozing, Reminders, Dark Mode, Undo Send, Custom Backgrounds, Templates, & much more according to your requests! https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php https://twitter.com/joeytawadrous

Darwin Mail will evolve to become great over time, thanks to its users, and thanks to you.

You're welcome to join me on this journey ️

This is great—as an Inbox user I see a lot of potential here. Quick thoughts:

- Any support you can give to existing plugins that support Google would be great. Much as I like the fact that templates are built into this, I really love the plugin Gorgias Templates, for example (partly due to the fact those plugins can be used anywhere), and having it available would be awesome.

- I'd love it to be possible that there was no background at all, or at least something flat.

- Would like to be able to set a different default font in the compose menu. Sans-serif is fine, I just want it to be able to decide on Helvetica or Courier New.

- Any ability to change the keyboard shortcuts would be great. The fact that they're not the same as Inbox/Gmail makes it hard to immediately jump in and use.

I'm sure I'll have more, but I just wanted to tell you this really makes me happy to see!

First off thank you soo so much for your amazing feedback! Secondly, WOW. Supporting plugins is such a spectacular idea! It would open up a world of possibilities! Would they be Chrome plugins or plugins for things like Salesforce, Teamwork, GitHub, Slack etc?

I will add in something to remove the background entirely and also allow selection of a flat/gradient/colour asap.

Custom fonts/keyboard shortcuts are such fantastic ideas too man!

My God you are a treasure trove. Godspeed!

PS: If you add your suggestions to our feature requests board it will ensure they are created quickly as others will be able to upvote on ideas! https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

Hey, glad you liked my ideas! I'm thinking Chrome/Firefox plugins in particular. I think you have some built-in functionality that covers some of the use cases but I think that one of the great things about Inbox was that it was largely compatible with existing Gmail plugins.

Anyway, best of luck! I'll be keeping an eye on this.


I will Roger that :) Chrome and Firefox plugins open up such a world of possibilities :)

Thank you for the suggestion!

Feel free to follow me to keep up to date! https://twitter.com/joeytawadrous

First of all congratulations. It looks like a nice app and productivity booster for GMail.

I just wanted to point that e-mail undo is present is in standard GMail. The feature started as a lab feature and added into standard muster of features sometimes later.

This makes selling e-mail undo in the professional plan a bit of a contradiction IMHO.

Other than that, everything looks good, congrats again. :)

You are completely right! I should have thought of that! I will move the undo sending of emails to the free plan :)

Thank you so much for the positive vibes :)

My girlfriend (who works at Google!) really misses Inbox and specifically the "stacks" feature (whatever that was -- I was not a user myself). She'd easily pay for premium for that specific feature. Apparently it's a common complaint in her group. I didn't see this on your list: is it planned?

That's perfect feedback! Straight from the heart of Google :D ha ha. I think you are referring to bundles? That is most certainly a must as so many people have requested it today.

Thank you for your comment. It made me smile! :)

Bundles are now available with DarwinMail!


Looks nice but currently does no more than I can already achieve with a new skin on Gmail. (I'm using http://flowapps.co/inboxtheme/ )

I know it's been mentioned elsewhere but Inbox Bundles are pretty much the main reason Inbox was a superior client.

Since being forced back to Gmail it's the only thing I've missed and I've had to revert back to old email discipline (daily clearouts and ruthless unsubscribing) to get over it's loss.

BUNDLES are LIVE on DarwinMail You asked for it and you got it! Some have called bundles 'The next evolution of email'. With DarwinMail, now you can use them too. https://www.darwinmail.app

1. I understand that the product can only become great if each & every suggestion is listened to, so thank you!

2. DarwinMail has a public roadmap, public changelog, and open lines of communication.

3. The primary focus of Darwin Mail is to help you be productive. Each and every change is made for that sole reason.

They're 3 reasons why I believe DarwinMail is worth the try!

Also, bundles are definitely on the todo list.

I also genuinely want to know how DarwinMail can help with "daily clearouts and ruthless unsubscribing"?

> I understand that the product can only become great if each & every suggestion is listened to

I've actually heard strong arguments for the opposite. Your vision is what counts. People often don't know what they want until you show them.

That's a fair point. I thought of that too when posting.

I believe you need to consider both angles: - How to build a product people love based on what they want - How to build a product that is sustainable & interesting based on what you think should be built

It's a difficult thing to get right. I'm definitely going to try.

I tried to test it, but I literally don't feel comfortable giving somebody full access to my email. I don't know your practices, security protocols, etc.

I'd feel way more comfortable if this would be an app or a browser add-on that would handle everything locally, without sharing the access token with your servers.

Part 1: I understand your worry. It's perfectly within the realm of reason. Please allow me to help alleviate your worries. The following are a list of the permissions DarwinMail requests of you.

PS: WE NEVER store any email data that belongs to you. Google has verified our compliance via a lengthy audit!

Manage mailbox labels — this allows DarwinMail to add and remove labels (inbox, snoozed, spam, etc) to your emails.

Manage your sensitive mail settings — this allows DarwinMail to update settings such as your forwarding address and aliases.

Manage you basic mail settings — this allows DarwinMail to update settings such as your signature and out of office reply.

View and modify but not delete your email — this allows DarwinMail to create your email (when you use the compose functionality), modify you email, and send your email (when you click the send button). This also allows you to update and save drafts.

Please feel free to check out the following official documentation from Google for further reading.


Thanks for the pointers. I understand well how the OAuth scopes work. What I don't understand is - if the server doesn't handle my email, why does this need to be hosted on a server? Package it as a browser extension and this way I can be sure that my email is not leaked.

Wow. This is an eye-opening comment.

I like your point. It's fascinating.

Right now, I need to look into the implications of running DarwinMail as a browser extension would be. To be sure your security would be maintained, the core functionality is not lost and DarwinMail remains usable (landing page with about, features, testimonials, pricing etc).

Thank you for your suggestion!

So the actual problem is that it seems to you you that one can't SELL a product as a browser extension. However Grammarly is a beautiful showcase of an actual product as an extension, with payment and everything you need (landing, testimonials, upsells, etc).

But browser extensions can't be used on mobile?

perhaps not on mobile chrome (it's been a while since I've tried) but certainly on mobile firefox and mobile samsung (which is chrome rebadged).

I'd not say - go and build this as an extension on mobile; but if you have the code built to run as an extension, it should be fairly quick to repackage it as a standalone mobile app, i.e. get a dedicated instance of the browser that runs your app).

Another successful example of this model is LastPass - they deliver the functionality via browser extensions and mobile apps, but they handle all the payment and marketing and CRM via their own product site.

That is a very good point!

Thank you for the feedback!

Part 3: How does DarwimMail actually work? So what happens exactly is:

The user logs into DarwinMail.app, DarwinMail makes a login request to Google's servers, Google logs the user in, DarwinMail asks for the users emails at which point this data is rendered in the user's browser. None of this email data is stored on DarwinMail's servers. There is no need! Think of all the space it would take up and the time that would be spent retrieving the data.

Google's API & servers do the heavy lifting. DarwinMail allows you to view your emails just like Inbox, and hopefully provides (or will soon provide) the same kind of functionality :)

Is your product open source? Because for this kind of thing it's really hard to trust unless it's open and self-hostable.

Even if you say you don't need to store emails, there is still a chance of leaks via logging systems or simply programmer errors, or some caching layer. It's likely your security protocols aren't as robust as Google's. (You mention "https" as the primary reason this is secure. Much wow.)

Given the importance of email there is no way I could trust another closed system with my email. I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, I also want to see alternative email frontends because gmail isn't cutting it.

It's not open source at the moment no.

You make a very good point, and I see where you are coming from.

I personally have a hard time trusting other products with my data too. That's why I'm trying to be as transparent as possible with DarwinMail.

If I were to make the product open source, would you consider using it then?

Yes, if you make it Open Source and possible to self-host it goes from DOA to definitely possible. Would have to explore more, like how it's written, the community around it, etc... before I really commit.

Hopefully you can still make a living. I suspect "open source + commercially hosted" is a good model for something like this?

You are asking him to do a ton of work and commit to never charging you for anything on the off chance that you might condescend to use his software. It seems like it would be easier for you to just not evaluate new mail clients.

I'm just suggesting that a service that touches email would benefit from being easier to trust. I never said he should commit to never making money or anything close to that. Like you literally invented that.

In fact I suggested he look into the open source + hosted business model. Ghost seems to be doing alright with it:


> It seems like it would be easier for you to just not evaluate new mail clients.

There are plenty of OSS mail clients. I was just looking at RoundCube the other day. It's actually pretty slick as far as traditional email clients go.


You said “Yes, if you make it Open Source and possible to self-host it goes from DOA to definitely possible.[...] Hopefully you can still make a living. I suspect "open source + commercially hosted" is a good model for something like this?”

That means that you would not consider using by it unless you could use it for free, presuming you wouldn’t qualify for a commercial license. I only summarized what you said.

It can be difficult to make a living from your projects as an indie developer.

Thank you for understanding :)

You have certainly given me plenty to think about.

I thank you :) I love receiving new 'outside of the box' ideas that will increase DarwinMail's appeal :)

It is so kind of you to defend my position.

Thank you so much. I'm so happy that you understand as it can be difficult for a creator to explain such things :)

I really appreciate it!

I see the merits of open sourcing DarwinMail. It would open up the platform to develop on it from people all over the world. They would fix bugs for themselves and others and perhaps write mini-features. However, if I open source this code, I may never be able to make any profit on this tool I have spent so much time building :( How will I be able to pay my bills?

> How will I be able to pay my bills?

That's why I mentioned the OSS + hosted version. It would allow to be more open while still making money on the hosted version. Those who are very concerned about privacy can self-host, and those who think self-hosting is too hard (that's many people) can pay to use your hosted version.

See Ghost as a success story that works that way:


Thank you for the follow-up.

That's quite an interesting concept! It would alleviate users concerns :)

I like it!

Ghost has done very well in recent years. I will read up on this.

That was my biggest concern as well. I am sure you do not do that, it it would have been so easy to funnel my data (or metadata) to your servers.

Open-sourcing and authenticating the client code would resolve this issue for me.

That is an interesting point and I very much appreciate your opinion.

I will think about it :)

Saying that none of the "email data" is stored on your servers is a common way mail clients deflect from the real truth that people are interested in. Our email data traverses through your servers and is stored in memory is it not?

Additionally you have our access tokens correct? With those you have effective access to all of our email data. They are effectively a password. Worse actually since they bypass 2FA. If you leak those on accident or decide to use one from your home PC, you have access to all of our email data.

The statement "None of this email data is stored on DarwinMail's servers" remains technically true, but does not address the real scope security issue most users are worried about.

DarwinMail looks amazing and I'd love to use it, but until these questions above are answered or obviated via open-sourcing it, I don't think many users will be comfortable. My company admin policy explicitly denies your app for these reasons by the way:

"Error: admin_policy_enforced

Access to your account data is restricted by policies within your organization. Please contact administrator for more information."

Hello, and thank you for your comment and for explaining how you feel.

What you have said is true but I'm not sure you fully understand how DarwinMail works.

I hope to alleviate your concerns somewhat by explaining.

DarwinMail does request and use your individual access tokens from Googles API servers in order to retrieve your emails.

All the displaying is done on your browser. Any action you take for your emails is done on your browser. Any email you type and send it handled in your browser.

Sure, DarwinMail is hosted on a server (Linode) but that's just to store the DarwinMail website on the internet so you can visit it.

Even without open sourcing the code, you can still see all of the code that does the above managing of your emails in your own browser! Just right click -> Inspect -> Open up the sources tab and you can see it all! It's not hidden!

In fact, search for Sarge's posts on this thread... that gentleman was looking through the code, reporting bugs to me and telling me how to fix them!

Furthermore, Linode does not take security lightly and are trusted by many many companies and individuals. See for yourself: https://www.linode.com/security

I think there is at least one variant of the OAuth2 flow that doesn't require the use of servers to complete the authorization. I know Implicit Grant is broken in some ways, but Google supports it: https://developers.google.com/identity/protocols/OAuth2UserA...

You also say this has been audited by Google. Mind if I ask under which program, and how did you get Google to audit it?

Thank you very much for your input here. You are 100% correct. It is the same implementation that DarwinMail uses.


This document explains how to implement OAuth 2.0 authorization to access Google APIs from a JavaScript web application. OAuth 2.0 allows users to share specific data with an application while keeping their usernames, passwords, and other information private. For example, an application can use OAuth 2.0 to obtain permission from users to store files in their Google Drives.

This OAuth 2.0 flow is called the implicit grant flow. It is designed for applications that access APIs only while the user is present at the application. These applications are not able to store confidential information.

In this flow, your app opens a Google URL that uses query parameters to identify your app and the type of API access that the app requires. You can open the URL in the current browser window or a popup. The user can authenticate with Google and grant the requested permissions. Google then redirects the user back to your app. The redirect includes an access token, which your app verifies and then uses to make API requests.


DarwinMail basically sits on top of Google's servers and displays the data in the same manner (and in time using the exact same features + more) as Inbox did.

Darwin does not store any of your email data whatsoever. In fact, if it did, Google would have asked me to audit the tool - but they instead granted me Google verification. It took them almost a month to break down DarwinMail and make sure it did not store any user email data.

Further reading: https://developers.google.com/gmail/api/auth/about-auth https://support.google.com/cloud/answer/9110914

Part 2: DarwinMail is verified by Google!

What does that mean?

DarwinMail basically sits on top of Google's servers and displays the data in the same manner (and in time using the exact same features + more) as Inbox did.

Darwin does not store any of your email data whatsoever. In fact, if it did, Google would have asked me to audit the tool - but they instead granted me Google verification. It took them almost a month to break down DarwinMail and make sure it did not store any user email data.

If you have any questions on the verification process, please ask me! Or look here at the official Google documentation.

https://twitter.com/joeytawadrous https://support.google.com/cloud/answer/9110914

How many emails clients do you know that don’t need access to your mail?

The better question here is: how many websites (with their own servers!) did you give full access to your email inbox?

I didn't give it out to anybody else that Google. Google I trust implicitly because they host the server, so the email is already read by them before reaching the interface. Thunderbird stores email locally doesn't need to push it out. I wouldn't give Facebook ever access to my email account.

Why should I give Darwin access AS A WEBSITE when it's not clear to me that they NEED to run their SERVER? If the interaction is done through JS entirely and the whole thing runs in the browser between me and Google, they can easily pack it as an extension.

Because there's no other way to properly implement instant push notifications for one thing. All modern email clients (like Spark, etc.) do that.

Does that matter? Why would you give, instead of just Google, two companies access to your emails?

Well, 2+N companies depending on what servers the people you correspond with use. That's the nature of a federated protocol.

Ha ha. Very clever spin, and it's the truth!

However ... the larger N, the weaker the argument.

Because each of the participants has only a fraction of your e-mails.

That is a fair point, amelius!

However, I won't be giving any third parties access to DarwinMail ;)

Feedback: your pricing section was a bit confusing. It says "Pro Lite" and "Pro Plus", and both list the same long list of features.

In reality it's just "Pro Monthly" and "Pro Yearly" where the only difference is you save 30%.

The "Lite" and "Plus" part makes it seem like there are three plans and the Plus one has the most features/benefits...

You are so right about the pricing. It's too confusing. I will change that asap as they are the same plan, it's just that the yearly plan works out cheaper :)

Huh, I missed that it was yearly, just saw a way bigger number and assumed it was basically a donation tear.

Well, that is some feedback I will have to incorporate into the design of a new pricing table :L

Pro Monthly and Pro Annually might make more sense or Pro Yearly or whatever.

Ahh yes, of course! Thanks

Show the annual pricing underneath or something, instead of next to it like a separate tier:

    << £0.8x paid annually >>

Not a bad idea at all :)

Thank you very much for your suggestion.

No problem, sometimes the best way to market something is to be explicit about meaning instead of trying to sound fancy and cool. Great web page and product otherwise btw! I hope you can gain enough traction to invest in more than just gmail.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid

One of my favourite's :D

I'll keep that in mind when editing the copy in future!

Thank you so much for the positive vibes! I really appreciate it :)

In the near future I hope to support Outlook, and after then, who knows!

I'm glad someone is filling this gap. As a huge Inbox fan I'm intrigued. But when Google warns DarwinMail will be able to "View and modify but not delete your email", I don't know if I can take the plunge.

For me, what I really want is reminders integrated into my mail routine (the killer feature of Inbox IMO), and I think that can be done in a way that maintains privacy better.

Hey there!

I really wish Google would be clearer about what this means. This allows DarwinMail to create your email (when you use the compose functionality), modify your email, and send your email (when you click the send button). This also allows you to update and save drafts.


I hope that helps alleviate your worries somewhat :)

We have reminder functionality available! It is part of my everyday routine too!

Could you suggest a way to allow people to use DarwinMail while 'maintaining privacy'? I am learning exactly what you would like here :)

You can read the emails I am composing, but not read the emails I receive? That is better, and I could always compose sensitive emails in gmail. So possibly I'd give this a shot with my personal email.

I'd also like to use this at work, but Boomerang[0] was deemed not allowed, so I would imagine Darwin would also not be allowed.

I'm guessing Darwin stores the reminder data on its own servers? That doesn't bother me, most reminders are quite benign.

For reminders that maintain privacy, I would imagine one would need to write a browser extension that threads reminders into gmail. Which doesn't sound like much fun, but also a pretty primitive integration would probably be good enough.


DarwinMail packages your email before it's sent into a raw format (that's not comprehensible text, but a mix of letters and numbers - like IBASDBAA2982NFIUEXJWI02FDIEWD) - but a lot longer!

When the mail is received on another client (Outlook, IMAP, etc) the client knows how to parse the email - to show it to you. I can't speak for other email clients, but I can tell you with all certainty, that DarwinMail does not store any of this email data. DarwinMail just displays it to you on your device.

The code is all available for you to look at. On DarwinMail just right click -> inspect and you can see everything.

Reminders are stored in your browser. They do not touch DarwinMail's servers :)

Will it support categorising trips like Inbox did?

Categorising trips is one of the features I miss the most for sure!

Bundling that's been requested a few times today and I will be working on it asap.


Thank you so much for your feedback :)

BUNDLES are LIVE on DarwinMail. You asked for it and you got it! Some have called bundles 'The next evolution of email'. With DarwinMail, now you can use them too. https://www.darwinmail.app

Does this include trips? i don't see any mention of that on your site.

Darwin Mail seems to struggle with nested labels - https://imgur.com/a/w7PzoY3

To be productive on GMail, I have tons of filters, labels, and use the inbox as my "todo" pile. Once something is done, its filed into is respective label. However, since I have nested labels to divide organizations, platforms, and classes by semester, Darwin doesn't organize them well. Here is a side by side comparison to GMail - https://imgur.com/a/W6IqUrW

Please check out our public roadmap to track progress on this! https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

Nested Labels is a fantastic idea!

Thank you so so much for your feedback. It's really not a difficult feature at all. Thank you for suggesting it.

I can completely see your use case also, it is a must.

I have added nested labels to the backlog and will work on it asap :)

Started playing around with Darwin this week. It has great potential as an Inbox by GMail replacement. Looking forward to seeing a mobile version hopefully in the near future.

Biggest thing missing rightn now is Reminders integration with Google Calendar and Home/Assistant. For some reason Gmail is using Google Tasks instead and that is useless without complete integration with the Google Ecosystem, so Reminders is the right way to go.

Hey Scott! :)

Thank you. I too use Google calendar quite a lot. To add the reminders I create in DarwinMail to Google calendar would be an amazing lift in productivity.

I personally want this feature and will work on it sooner rather than later.

Thank you for your suggestion.

Oh man this looks great, thanks Joey! I just made a couple of feature requests, Bundles and Mass Archive. But the whole thing looks and feels great, I'm super excited about it. Let me know when you support multiple accounts and I'll happily drop you some cash (for silly reasons I have a few accounts, and i'm not eager to juggle multiple clients).

You are an absolute legend! Thank you!

I've reviewed them.. and let me just say... YES!

YES, I will add mass archive functionality. YES, I will work on bundles for Darwin Mail. YES, multiple accounts are on the horizon.

I'm so happy you like DarwinMail. I completely understand your use case, I can relate to you, my man.

I'm open to any and all suggestions for features/improvements! https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

Bundles are now available with DarwinMail!


So far we've signed up and tested Darwin mail's free version using Brave browser. The layout looks very familiar to the now defunct Inbox by Google. Great job with the design and familiarity. In talking through the service, we've found that it is slow on mobile at this stage in the development. At one point the menu under your Google photo (the one with settings in it) got stuck on the screen even when opening the side menu with drafts, sent, etc. was open. Another thing we noticed and would like changed is that if you click drafts our sent mail or another category, you have to click again to close the side menu to see your chosen category. These are all things I think will be fixed soon if development persists. The one thing that's going to be interesting to see how it turns out it's the bundling. Hopefully he'll get it right!

Thank you so much for your feedback!

I have added it all to our public Trello Board :) https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

Bundles are now available with DarwinMail!


I personally replaced Google Inbox with an app called Spike that turns your existing email into a chat like conversation. It has a unified inbox so you can manage all of your accounts simultaneously.

It sits on top of your existing email (Gmail, Office365 (e.g Outlook), Exchange, iCloud, Yahoo and any IMAP account and is available on all platforms (web, Mac, Windows, iOS and Android).

It has a lot of unique features like: encryption, snooze, Amazing search capabilities, voice and video calls, unified inbox with all of your accounts, and it organises my emails automatically into the ones that are important and the ones that are not (like newsletters and various unknown senders).

I also love that it is “conversation” like mail so the layout is really easy to read and follow.

I probably would have been all for this a few weeks ago. but since trying the Gmail app, all I miss is bundles and the sleek mobile app. this has neither of those.

also, is it me, or are you selling the same thing for $3 and for $25?

Yeah, I was so busy developing at that stage I really didn't want to release until DarwinMail had more features.

Bundles are on the todo list

You are so right about the pricing though. It's too confusing. I will change that asap as they are the same plan, it's just that the yearly plan works out cheaper.

Please add any feedback you have here! https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

3$/month or 25$/year. But yes, it's the same plan.

Thanks for replying to that!

ty missed that

I'm already planning a simpler UI for the pricing!

Thank you for your feedback :)

Quick bug report for you. If you have a category name with a '/' in it, jquery errors out due to $('#sideBar #' + prettyLabelName) having a / in it, which makes it think it's a selector. If you change all instances of $('#sideBar #' + prettyLabelName) to $('#sideBar #' + $.escapeSelector(prettyLabelName)), it should rectify that. As it stands now, if you have a category with a / in it the site is unusable; and the same would probably be true if you had a category starting with a . or #.

Thank you so so much for your suggestion!

I also love that you were straight in with the exact fix! Thanks, Sarge!

PS: I've made that change and it's live on https://www.darwinmail.app (threadAPI & labelsAPI) ;)

If you have any more, let me know!

Sure thing.

Here's some more:

You can open any number of the menu options and the previous ones don't close. https://i.imgur.com/NxKVk6W.png

Additionally, there doesn't appear to be an exit icon on any of them, though escape works.


Accessing my spam folder freezes the app and results in the following stack trace: https://i.imgur.com/HkNbH67.png

The message in the thread in question doesn't have a from attribute.


Finally, using ctrl+c (to copy) in an email you're composing will open a new composition window. Might be best to disable that in an active text input or if text is selected.

Edit: Also, a 'mark all as done' button like Inbox had would be greatly appreciated.

Wow wow WOWW!

This is the kind of feedback I really really love.

You took your time writing this. You went into perfect detail. You are really really helping, Sarge, thank you a million times over.

This is amazing. Thank you.

I have noted everything you said and will work on those in the coming days.

Thank you so so much.

No problemo. I'll go into a deeper dive tomorrow; would it be better to send an email to report any further bugs I find?

Hell yes! I really really appreciate what you're doing! :)

It's joeytawadrous at gmail dot com

My email is always open to you! :D Thanks again for all your help!

Opening an email with a calendar event in it downloads a file with some meta data. I think this is a bug. I opened a mail from meetup dot com and it downloaded a file multiple times.

That is definitely a bug! Can you tell me more? Perhaps show me your console output? (Right click -> inspect -> click the console tab)

I had excellent experience with Sentry (https://sentry.io/welcome/) to capture errors that happen on the client side in production. You need to be careful with the sensitive data that gets sent to Sentry, but it's a good tool.

Not being affiliated with them in any way, just a tool I find helpful.

Thank you so much for the suggestion :)

I love Sentry, but I don't think I should use it here.

We are dealing with users emails, and I want to be as transparent as possible.

I really should not add another product to the mix until I have earned enough trust and proven that DarwinMail is in no way malicious.

I simply want DarwinMail to be a no-strings-attached upgrade for us.

Sorry I'm in mobile now

That's ok :)

Please let me know when you can and I will look into fixing that right away :)

I was excited to try darwinmail when I saw that keyboard shortcuts were front-and-center on the UI, anticipating a dev-centric tool for people who understand the efficiency of not having to use the mouse.

But then I used the app, and found that all the keyboard shortcuts were different :(

There was discussion on HN regarding the ability to customize them, but I think even more important is an option to "Use defailt GMail keyboard shortcuts"

Using the existing Gmail shortcuts is exactly what I want.

You are so right. Please bear with me as I make the necessary adjustments over the coming days.

Thank you :)

Nice effort. I really miss Inbox. It was a key app in my daily workflow. Now that it’s gone Im looking for a solid replacement. Will give it a try!

Thank you so much for your interest!

Just a few points which I think are relevant: 1. We will not sell your data, abuse our power or ignore your requests... 2. Because we respect your privacy. 3. We understand that the product can only become great if each & every suggestion is listened to. 4. We have a public roadmap, public changelog, and open lines of communication. 5. The primary focus of Darwin Mail is to help you be productive. Each and every change is made for that sole reason.

You can also check out our FAQs at the bottom of https://www.darwinmail.app


Our privacy policy at https://www.darwinmail.app/privacy.php

Another requirement to make this truly an Inbox replacement and not just a skin for Gmail is auto bundling such as Trips and Purchases, as well as the ability to customize the auto bundling if necessary. In addition the need to show bundles only at specific times like in INbox would be perfect for productivity.

Wow wow wow, snoozing bundles you say? <3

Bundles have been requested a couple of times in this thread :)

You can be sure that I will be working on it very soon! However snoozing bundles is a stellar use case.

Thank you for the amazing feedback!

Bundling is at the top of the list!

You can see how far along it is and check when it will be released here: https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

I really like text-only dense interfaces such as what Sourcehut.org is doing with Git repos.

I would love to see this type of minimal interface for email - while others may like background images and such, I prefer text-only sense UI with minimal bloat for speed!

Seriously though, DarwinMail is impressive! Could you tell us if custom domains are supported?

That's quite fascinating! Thank you for the interesting perspective :)

I will mock up some minimal interface designs. Perhaps a mail distraction free mode (we currently support a distraction-free mode for typing emails). This could be very cool :D

Thank you so much! They're not (I don't think ha!). Could you tell me more about how a custom domain would work with DarwinMail?

Custom domain as in, email@mydomain.com.

Thank you for your follow up :)

I know what you mean by custom domains, I'm just not sure how they would be used with DarwinMail?

What significance do they have in this context?

Sorry I may be missing the point entirely! :)

Do you have an issue tracker/feature request a la git? This would be super useful for all to provide feedback in a cohesive manner. Also, a reddit thread would get a lot more feedback as I'm sure there are many more with a reddit account than hn...I just signed up to hn to post...

Currently, the public issues are tracked via https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

And I have a private Trello board (which I'm going to make public).

Here are two Reddit posts! https://www.reddit.com/r/inbox/comments/beaek8/how_come_nobo... https://www.reddit.com/r/inbox/comments/bfa6f3/i_built_darwi...

Personally, I think this Hacker News thread is the best thing that ever happened to DarwinMail :)

I'm desperate for a Gmail replacement that uses the Gmail API. I'll give this a try because I didn't find any other one and the canonical Gmail web client is utterly broken, too heavy, too slow.

I don't want any enhancements, just basic email threads. Does anyone have a recommendation?

That's quite fascinating! Thank you for the interesting perspective :) I will mock up some minimal interface designs. Perhaps a mail distraction free mode (we currently support a distraction-free mode for typing emails). This could be very cool :D

Looks great and I do miss the old Inbox design but like many people have said the main Inbox feature I miss is bundles.

Do you have any plans to add similar bundling functionality?

Just saw you said you do intend to support it! Let me know when this is done and you can have all of my money :D

That's amazing! I thought for a second "has he not read the rest of the comment?" ha ha. There are a lot of comments though.

People are adding requests to our feedback board! So head on down, upvote the bundles' idea & maybe even follow me on Twitter to be in the know!


Bundles are now available with DarwinMail!


I’ve looked at the website but, unless I’m missing something, I don’t see the purpose of this app.

It’s essentially a skin which sits on top of regular Gmail.

Whilst Darwin Mail may respect your privacy it still requires a Google account.

What benefit does this provide that regular Gmail doesn’t?

1. I understand that the product can only become great if each & every suggestion is listened to, so thank you! 2. DarwinMail has a public roadmap, public changelog, and open lines of communication.

3. The primary focus of Darwin Mail is to help you be productive. Each and every change is made for that sole reason.

4. We have a public roadmap, public changelog, and open lines of communication.

5. The primary focus of Darwin Mail is to help you be productive. Each and every change is made for that sole reason.

They're 5 reasons why I believe DarwinMail is worth the try!

Also, bundles are definitely on the todo list.


Very nice--I was hoping someone would build something like this!

One small thing I noticed: I always kept the menu pane open in Inbox. When I open it in Darwin and refresh, the menu pane is closed again rather than persisted.

That's a very good point. Adding it to the todo list! (soon) Check it out here: https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

Is it good enough to use for now though?

I was totally confused. It has nothing to do with Darwin, the open source components of macOS? And you refer to it as an .app which it isn't?

Even more confusing is that you haven't tested it with Safari?

Correct. Correct. Incorrect.

DarwinMail is a mobile responsive web app :)

I have tested DarwinMail with many browsers and found many differences in the way it behaves as many browsers tend to support various types of web functionalities in different ways.

For example, clicking a button in Chrome does not behave the same way as clicking a button in Firefox or Safari.

I have tested so many different behaviours on many different browsers.

I am in the process of cataloguing every specific web functionality I require in DarwinMail and making a chart of those functionalities across several browsers to ensure I know exactly what needs to be tested, what is working and what needs to be fixed.

I got really excited by the title, but as other people have mentioned, bundles are really important to me. Can I sign up for a mailing list somewhere?

Bundles are now available with DarwinMail!


You can also sign up for the mailing list on the homepage :)

My privacy is important, that's why I'm not using Gmail. Great that you take privacy serious, but building a service that only works with Gmail doesn't really help with privacy.

Thank you for your feedback!

Some of our features such as templates, dark mode, custom backgrounds are built on top of DarwinMail - and do not interact with Google or Gmails APIs whatsoever.

Most of DarwinMail works via the Gmail API, but not all :)

Edit: And the majority of the feature requests on this thread will not interact with Gmail either once they are created. So Google cannot track as much usage statistics as they would have otherwise.

Google cannot demand I give them any of this information. To be honest, I will not even have most of it. It will all happen on your browser.

You don't mention pinning, do you support that/is it on the todo list? I notice you have the switch that Inbox used for toggling pinned only, what does that do here?

Thanks for your feedback! You can actually already Pin in DarwinMail :) You've already seen the lever on the right of the search bar. Click that to show all your Pinned emails.

You can also hover over any mail to show its actions. The Pin is second from the left. Next to the star ;)

I will, however, add Pinning to the feature spotlights on the homepage!

your bug report / feedback form requires the creation of an account. many people who just tried the service and found a deal-breaking problem would give the feedback anonymously, but aren't going to want to create a new account just to provide feedback to a service they won't ever use again.

There are issues with anonymous forms, but consider the consequences of requiring an account/email.


Thank you very much for your feedback.

I have already decided that I am going to remove that feedback form and allow users to post anonymously, email me directly, tweet me or look at our public Trello board to see it their requests is already being considered or is in progress :)

Looks cool! Any plans for pinning and bundling/one click archiving entire bundles? Those two features are what I miss most since getting kicked off Inbox.

Thanks for your feedback!

You can actually already Pin in DarwinMail :) There's a lever on the right of the search bar (from your mail inbox). Click that to show all your Pinned emails.

You can also hover over any mail to show its actions. The Pin is second from the left. Next to the star ;)

as for bundling/and one-click archiving bundles.. that's been requested a few times today and I will be working on it asap. https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

If you have any more requests let me know or post them at the above link!

Bundles are now available with DarwinMail!


Ohh yes I also really miss pinning. Starring just doesn't cut it for me

Please see above comment as Pinning already exists for Darwin Mail users!

Should I add a feature spotlight for Pinning to the homepage though? I don't think it's clear that Darwin Mail supports Pinning as of now!

Thank you so much for your feedback :) This kind of feedback is what makes products great!

Yes I think so! It's a major Inbox feature that people miss. You should probably focus on implementing the most missed Inbox features after launch :D

I could not agree with you more! I'm so happy that lots have been suggested on our feedback board https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

However, I'm going to merge that with DarwinMail's Trello board soon and make the whole thing public :)

I will also allow upvoting, comments and user-created feedback and suggestions!

Nice, I'll definitely check this out! Am I right in thinking your paid plans are both exactly the same, just one's paid monthly and one annually?

Thank you so very much for the interest!

You are exactly right there! It's about 30% cheaper to purchase the yearly plan and it has all of the same features.


Do you think there is a need for two plan? (with one of better value like on DarwinMail)


Maybe two different tiers with different features and pricing?

What are your thoughts?

Calling the monthly and yearly pricing different tiers is confusing and not customary. I would just call it Pro and then say "$2/month (yearly, or 3$/month monthly)" or something like that. Check out some other SaaS pricing pages on how they do it :-)

If you want to simplify, you can also just offer the monthly billing option for now, as the $1 difference is not that big anyways and it's less confusing for folks (in general, the less decisions a user needs to make before purchasing the higher the conversion rate).

Good luck, I'll keep on eye on it. For me, a mobile app is a must to switch.

You are so right. Spot on in fact. Thank you for the tip.

I will change that asap. It's too confusing.

Sorry, but there should be a difference of $22 to purchase the yearly plan (which saves $11 - oh I see you meant to type $11 not $1). Yes, perhaps it's not that much of a difference, but it can add up :)

As regards the mobile app, Darwin Mail is currently mobile responsive to it looks and works great on your tablet or mobile. I know it's not the same though. May I ask, why do you prefer a native app over a responsive web app?

Sorry, I meant $1/month difference not per year.

I personally just think mobile apps run smoother and faster than mobile websites, plus in this case notifications are key for me.

For services or products that I ue at least on a weekly basis, I always prefer an app than a website. But maybe that's just me :-)

Thank you for the follow-up. Much appreciated. I can assure you it's not just you btw! I feel the same way :)

Noted. And noted. I will first stabilize the web version and then move onto the apps :)


Please check out our public roadmap to track progress on this! https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

> May I ask, why do you prefer a native app over a responsive web app?

Personally: notifications with quick actions, and face ID authentication are both benefits of a native app.

I completely get you. Thanks for the follow-up. Mobile apps are certainly on my todo list. And thanks for adding your use cases to help me understand :)

Either they're A/B testing the pricing or they've already fixed it: I see $3/month, $25/year.

You are spot on!

Thanks for helping a fellow hacker out ;)

Do you think the price point is fair?

I'm unfortunately a little hesitant to give a new and unproven player access to all my email, so I'm a bit hesitant to try it right now - sorry.

That said, I think the pricing is reasonable. I might suggest a free trial of the pro features for people who e.g. already enter their credit card details (to lower the barrier of converting to a paid account later), or who refer others.

One thing that I'd also like the landing page to clarify: where are reminders stored? Email of course is still on Google's servers, but given that reminders are not present in Gmail, that's an open question.

No problem at all. It's your Gmail account and you have the right to do with it whatever you want.

In time and after much improvements I hope to earn your trust.

A free trial is a good idea. I will set that up soon.

Also, a referral scheme has been suggested and is something I would love to work on soon too.

I am in the process of upgrading the FAQs and will add a section for where the reminders are stored. It's quite simple really, they are stored in your browsers local storage.

How does the undo send work? Does it store the email on your server for X seconds before dispatching through gmail?


It doesn't send the email until after 0 - 30 seconds, so you have a chance to undo it :)

So, if I were to close the app at second 17, the email wouldn’t get sent?

That is correct. However, would you think again if a little pop-up reminder told you just before you exited the app? To be fair though, I keep my email tab opened all day. I never close it!

I can't seem to get passed the authentication with firefox. chromium works fine.

Ohhh noes!

Can you please take a screenshot & upload to Imgur? Show me your console please as I will know exactly what to do then! (From the loading screen -> right click -> inspect -> click the console tab)

I will be able to see then and fix it for you!

I didn't really find Google Inbox that appealing, but this looks intriguing.

Wow!! Thank you so much for the lovely feedback <3

I really appreciate it! Please let me know if you want any features added!

same here! i am toying with the idea of using darwin in supplement to gmail, maybe narrow down my mail to a todo list and then use darwin to work through it... will use it a bit more and get back to you with feedback

Thank you so much buddy!

Be sure to let me know of any feedback you have :)


>We take your privacy seriously.

I'm sure you do, but please please please -- don't use this cliché. It's superficial and off-putting.

Better explain specifically what you do for it. And then let us decide if you take our privacy seriously or not.

You are so right! Thank you for your feedback.

Changed it to "Your privacy is important. Darwin will never record, distribute or sell your personal data to any third parties."

Question I have: do you need to actually collect this information at all?

I appreciate the no share, but if a service never collects it to begin with then it’s never an issue including if you get hacked for instance.

I’m curious not a judgement.

The app does need to know what your email address at gmail is in order to work.


Other than that there is no need to collect much other information at all.

Google Analytics is currently how I see how users found DarwinMail & where they came from.

Google Analytics also provides info such as users device and browser type.

A list of the data Google Analytics collects can be found here:


Google Analytics is the defacto standard for millions of websites across the web.

Should probably mention that next you your statement about privacy. I would consider an email service that has Google analytics on it not terribly private

It is true that using Google Analytics does sound quite overt.

The question remains, how else can I see where my users are visiting from, what browsers & mobile devices are they using so that I may better tailor DarwinMail?

I would suggest one of the alternatives listed at https://switching.social/ethical-alternatives-to-google-anal... . Fathom in particular is open source and can be self hosted

Wow! Thank you for those suggestions.

I've looked into Fathom before. I quite like what's offered. And the fact that's it's open source is the cherry on top :)

Thank you very much for the suggestion and for giving me a direct link to check out more.

I've dropped Google Analytics in favor of good old fashioned server log parsing with several off the shelf tools.

The load times of my site, the quality of my stats and the privacy of my users have all been improved.

That's quite interesting. I like the sound of that. Thank you for your feedback.

Thank you for your questions :)

What information are you referring to?

I would prefer to understand your question better so I can give you honest and hopefully succinct feedback :)

> Question I have: do you need to actually collect this information at all?

In the very comment you're responding to, he says "never record". In this context, this means the same as "never collect".

Hey there, thank you very much for helping out :)

how can we take your word for it? not sure who you are. there is no about page.

Hello, that's another great suggestion! Thank you.

Will add it soon. Hopefully, it will help :)

Related to this question: Does Darwin block remote images from loading automatically? I find this is increasingly hard to find (Geary Mail comes to mind) and it's surprising to me.

Thank you for your question :)

We block any and all code scripts/styles from executing outside of emails.

We don't block images though - if we did then the emails you could usually receive with images will feel plain.. won't it? If I understand you correctly?

Allowing remote images to load allows for a tracking signal to be sent from the email client. Blocking images allows the user to choose whether that signal is sent.

Ohh I see. Like a Facebook Pixels tracking image. No, I don't think that's blocked. Then again, it's not blocked in most email clients, perhaps it's difficult to accomplish.

Nonetheless, I've added it to the list of upcoming features as I believe it's worth a shot!

Thank you so much for your feedback :)

There is an option to block it in Gmail/Inbox.

That is excellent news.

I will look into that. It does not sound like it will be too tricky to implement so expect a quick turn around time :)

I believe there are a couple of approaches to this with varying amount of data storage, You can download all images immediately as the email is received (thus preventing image tracking as every image would then be clicked immediately) or have the ability to block all images and selectively turn them on when necessary (unless the image is inline etc).

Thank you so much for your suggestion. This is gold.

I really like your approach to solving the problem.

I have taken note of your suggestions and will look into this further asap :)

Cool - not saying you have to do it like them, but the most popular option there is to block all images globally but allow the person to click a button to unblock images for that specific email, which then enables a dialogue to "always unblock images from this sender."

I like that workflow; may be something to consider. I block all images but allow images from known senders, like my parents or co-workers.

Thank you so much for your feedback.

This is a great approach to achieving our goal.

I have taken note of your suggestions and will look into this asap :)

Thunderbird has the feature. I almost never need to look at in image in an email, unless it's a photo from a friend.

Fantastic, I have an example to learn from :D

Thank you for the tip!

I haven’t seen an email with images in years because I always use clients which allow disabling auto-loading.

If I get an email with images it’s usually an email I didn’t want and I block the sender shortly thereafter. Real people don’t tend to send emails with images that are important for understanding the textual content.

I love your breakdown of emails here.

It's truly eye-opening. I hope that others feel the same?

In any case, I have taken note of your points and will look into this asap!

How are reminders implemented? Do they use google reminders behind the scenes?

They don't! The reminders exist on your browser -> however I have added a task to convert them to Google's reminders so that you can also add them to your calendar.

You can track the progress of this on our roadmap :) https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

Can I select all?

A very simple request!

Select all emails I'm guessing?

Funnily enough, you can't - not yet!

But I've added that to my todo list.

Yes -- it's a simple and useful feature that's been missing from Inbox and Gmail Mobile for years. Thank you!

Please check the roadmap for progress reports on the select all features :)


If you have third-party cookies disabled it just crashes. I understand they are necessary to make this work but an error message should be shown.

Ohhh no! That is not good enough, I'm sorry :(

I will find the root cause asap and fix this issue!

If you wish, you can report the issue here: https://www.darwinmail.app/feedback.php

Sorry, I am not opening a trello account to report bugs. I am debugging your app for free, just asking not to have so sign yet another one-sided term of service doc. I also have problems with content security policy, see below:

Content Security Policy: Ignoring “http:” within script-src: ‘strict-dynamic’ specified Content Security Policy: The page’s settings observed the loading of a resource at inline (“script-src”). A CSP report is being sent. Source: try{(function overrideDefaultMethods(r, g, b, a, scriptId, storedObjectPrefix) { var scriptNode = document.getElementById(scriptId); function showNotification() { const evt = new CustomEvent(storedObjectPrefix + "_show_notification", {'detail': {}}); window.dispatchEvent(evt); }

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