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Google Inbox (googleblog.blogspot.com)
1069 points by jmdenis on Oct 22, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 451 comments

Congrats to Google on shipping!

Side question: am I the only person fully satisfied by my email workflow? I practice inbox 0- if an email is in my inbox, it means something needs to be done about it (whether it's replying, filing a bug report, writing a patch, etc). Once it's done, it gets archived. I star the stuff that I'll need to refer to later, like tickets for a flight or concert. I then have a few server side rules to do things like mark certain classes of emails as read (eg build logs, mailing lists), so as to not flood my phone with notifications. And... that's it.

(edit: oh and yes, I am also very diligent about unsubscribing from the stuff I know will never be relevant, rather than just archiving it and forgetting about it until another email from the same source comes up a week later. After a few weeks of consistently practicing this, your inbox gets much better)

I get probably a few hundred emails a day at most (work+personal), and this system works great for me. I know people like Paul Graham think email is utterly broken, but when you're at their level I'm not sure ~any~ tool will be satisfying - they're absolutely outliers.

So HNers, do you really have a problem with your email workflow, or is everyone just repeating "email is broken" because some smart people with an ungodly amount of email said so?

Nope you are not alone. IMAP (despite being a technical mess behind the scenes) is my favorite computer technology of all time and has benefitted my life immensely. I would rather have today's email and no modern web than the reverse.

I don't do inbox zero, I do inbox 50k. I just let mail pile up--why not? It only stresses you out if you let it (I don't). Even with a million messages, it's instantly searchable with any decent mail client--and since it is standard IMAP you can use a bunch of different clients just like you use 3-4 different web browsers at the same time.

I have automated filters for stuff like Amazon that's key to my daily life but that I don't usually want to actually see, and the only manual organization I do is annual: I have folders like 2013, 2012, etc back to 1994 (containing all mail in and out). This started because in the old days clients bogged down with more than 20,000 or so messages in one folder. That's mostly not the case these days, but I like the yearly organization, and organizing my correspondence once a year isn't really too annoying, so I continue to do it this way.

I have routed all my faxes and voicemail to my email for 15+ years, too.

And it works on every device I own. For years and years and years.

I think email is about as perfect as computer tech ever gets. Usually instant (but tolerant of a multi-day outage), completely standard and future-proof data, that works on virtually every device and platform currently in use.

Email needs to be disrupted about as much as the hammer needs to be disrupted.

Best post on the page. Email just works. It has worked for years and years and it will continue to work for years and years.

Some people use their inbox as a to-do list. Why they do this is beyond me. It's like making an alarm and flashing light inside your office and then putting the switch in a preschool.

SV is starting to look like 40 thousand really smart millenials sitting around looking for something useful to do.

Having said that, I'm sure Inbox is awesome. Google puts out good stuff. I'm just not so sure it's revolutionary or even significant. But that's for the market to decide, not a bunch of schmucks on the net.

I agree and am mostly the same.

The only thing I also do is intentionally leave e-mails I still need to respond to, as unread, and keep my inbox sorted with unread e-mails at the top.

It works great. The only thing that annoys me is that most (?) e-mail clients automatically mark an e-mail as read as soon as it's opened. I'm constantly pressing "Cmd+U" in Gmail to go back to the inbox, while leaving the item as unread.

I generally only archive the previous year's worth of email at the end of the next year. So I always have between 12 and 24 months of email in my inbox. But otherwise, much the same.

You read your email once a year? Did I miss something?

Indeed, you did.

I read my email whenever I want. I spend time manually moving/filing/archiving my email about once a year.

"Select all last-year mail, archive. Done."


I wouldn't say I have a problem with email as it is today, but I am the exact opposite of you; I never archive or organize any of my email (besides rules for labeling email lists and groups so they directly bypass my inbox). I appear to have 11,600+ emails in my Gmail inbox.

If I need something, I just search for it. As the Gmail search is really, really, good, I can pretty much instantly bring up any thread. I therefore don't see any value in spending even a second of time in trying to organize a piece of email. I also really like the "Social" and "Promotions" tabs Gmail added, it's like a smart filter for "unimportant stuff" that I don't even need to bother looking at but can search for if needed. I look forward to Inbox automating and highlighting actionable items even more (check in for flight etc, should just be a button press without even opening the email).

I would rather apply a label, or mark a message as unread (this is what I typically do), if it is something I need to return to later. Most emails can either be directly acted upon, or don't require a followup at a later time, so optimizing the common case down to "do nothing" makes sense for me.

I think you have to really consciously process your email though, in order for your system to work. I have gotten really bad at email lately and it's because of this: I leave my emails in my inbox like you. Except I archive something that I'm really, truly done with (never wanna see it again, not even for reference; archive = trash). But now my inbox is a mix of things I haven't yet read, I've read but haven't acted on, things I've read and keep in my inbox for reference, and things that I'm done with but I'm ignoring them so hard that they never actually get archived like they should. "Mark as unread" is used at a whim, usually when I read something on my phone and think "I should read this on my computer" so I flag it unread to make sure it stands out. Nothing is starred, except I have colored stars and mark a bill with a green star before I archive it (this is a remnant of a system I tried in the past but didn't fully stick).

As a result, I end up missing or not doing things, and re-reading emails I've already done, and my inbox is just a big chronologically-ordered mess.

This is my personal email anyway. My work email I'm a little more careful with, but it also piles up over time and rarely something will slip through the cracks. Outlook's flag/reminder system is decent at least, so it's manageable, but it still at times feels disorganized and just not quite how I want it to be.

I think you're still trying to do too many things at once and mixing concepts. Simplify: If an email requires a followup, label it with "todo". Don't archive email (except as an alternative to delete), don't try mark read things as unread, etc. Then, in order to check your current list of actions, have a view of only the emails labeled with "todo". I try to review this list twice a day or so. As you work off the list, remove the label from email when done! This workflow is almost identical to the Outlook flag system which I also like. In this way, the goal is only to get your todo list to zero, which is a very small subset of all items that are arriving in your inbox.

I think the key is to use one system consistently, and to have a concise view of your current open items with minimal manual effort.

I agree with the don't archive email... Who cares if all my mail is in my inbox? That's what search and labels are for, but... Why bother with a "todo" label? Emails I need to act on are simply "starred".

Yeah, I have a 10 year old GMail account with hundreds of thousands of messages. I'm simply not organized enough to stay on top of sorting things into folders on the off chance I might need to search for it one day. Search is the easiest way to find anything anyway; but people developed sorting techniques because e-mail search is awful on local clients.

email search WAS awful on local clients, years ago.

It still is if your mailbox is over 10GB.

I do exactly this as well. Some things need the user to spend time organizing them because search can't operate on it well (i.e. photos), but email is not one of those things. 99.99% of the time email search gets me what I'm looking for in a mater of seconds. Spending time organizing emails is going to be a complete waste of time for the vast majority of people.

This is also the reason I've never been able to use any 3rd party email clients and rely solely on gmail in the browser. Search is so much faster/better when done directly in gmail.

I'm curious to try Inbox and see if it provides a useful added layer of aggregation of messages above and beyond the current "conversations."

> "because search can't operate on it well (i.e. photos), "

People are working on that.

Yeah I don't get the point of inbox zero either. I don't see any functional improvement so really it's just wasting time so you can pat yourself on the back.

Actually, I see inbox zero (or near zero - I try to keep it under 10) as a time saver. It means I can instantly look at my inbox and see what items I need to work on.

If you just keep everything in your inbox, it means you need to click on a button to sort by starred emails. Also you need to star any emails you need to work on. Most of my emails take a while to respond to - I like to think about them for a while before responding. With your method I wouldn't be able to do that - I have to either respond to all my emails after reading them, or else star all my emails as 'needing work' until I have time to respond.

Keeping only a few items in my inbox that I need to work on is the most efficient way of working, at least for me.

I dumped the Social and Promotions tabs because they're always there to bother me. I have a "subscriptions" tag that any vaguely noisy mailing lists go into and I rarely bother to look at it, but it's there if I want to. Rarely = once a month, maybe.

I do the same thing, only in Thunderbird over IMAP with around 27,000 messages. TB search is fast and accurate, and I keep track of emails that need immediate action by starring them and then un-starring them after the action is taken. Pretty straightforward.

"So HNers, do you really have a problem with your email workflow, or is everyone just repeating "email is broken" because some smart people with an ungodly amount of email said so?"

I did :) I found my personal email a mess. I have a lot of mailing lists i need to "semi" pay attention to, and get about 1000+ emails a day all told.

This was pretty messy to manage, even with foldering/labeling/etc and such.

Inbox is pretty nice for my workflow (i'm sure there are some it is good for, and some it is bad for). I have it figure out the importance of various mailing list messages, and then show them to me once a day per mailing list. I mark the ones i care about with pins or reminders, and it takes care of reminding me.

On the work side, i get even more email, and i don't have a great workflow there. But i'm completely an outlier. I essentially have two distinct jobs I do for the company.

Practicing inbox zero in either case is unlikely to work for various reasons (among other things, most of my job is not predicated on making quick decisions but on thoughtful ones I could just move everything to task lists, but it would just create another place with the same info and often a worse interface)

I too practice "inbox 0," and making sure I am very diligent about unsubscribing from mailing lists and creating the occasional filter. I am completely content with email, and I feel like this is more for people who never hit the "archive" button. This is why I use stock gmail over Dropbox's Mailbox. And I am afraid that if I start using Google's Inbox, my inbox will just get cluttered and I won't be able to go back.

can you explain to me the advantage of archiving a message over just letting it rest in a read state in your inbox? I've never been able to see an added value to it.

I have two groups of emails: "professional" and "online" ones. I'll "inbox 0" my "professional" emails, archiving, deleting, and snoozing emails. For my "online" emails, I don't do any management, it's just a giant inbox of every email I've received.

The advantage I find to archiving messages is just a slight psychological boost. When the inbox is empty, I know I have nothing to do. If I have <20 emails (I always try to keep these inboxes under 20), I can see everything I have to do. As I work my way through the list, it's obvious visual feedback that I'm making progress. Just little things that I feel slightly improve my experience.

Although this only works because I have my other massive "online" inbox :D

What do you do about long-duration TODO items, like "Fix XYZ bug", which are a lower priority than your current tasks? I tend to Star those in Gmail, and leave them read but not-archived.

Some of these threads (for me) are good explanations/resources about a particular problem, but which I can't act on yet as $OtherTask is higher priority. I have Jira tickets for most of these, but even so the inbox helps remind me (roughly monthly) that things are still Not Fixed, whereas a TODO label would end up being unread.

Maybe it's just that I've been depending on that and have NOT been using a TODO or similar label for things, and thus am not in the habit of checking for New Things in my filtered labels. I'll have to think about this more. Thanks in advance for your insight. :)

You've elucidated the reason I just bought OmniFocus. I need a system outside of all other systems to keep track of it all. I have 4 separate email systems to keep track of. Google's tool won't help me with 2 of them (or a ticketing system, or whatever). I used a web-based TODO manager for years, but I finally spent the money to get a native application. The integration of highlighting something -- in any app, or an email, or a web page -- and then hitting a keystroke to capture it, and give it a to-do, has proven pretty effective to me. THAT'S my inbox, and THAT'S the one place I check when I need to find something to do.

It's completely mental (not as in crazy, as in it's a mental issue). I like to keep things tidy, if something is in my inbox then it's something that needs to be dealt with.

Read state shouldn't be overloaded with "still to ToDo", otherwise you don't really know how many ToDo items you have vs those you haven't triaged yet.

The value can be small (or nonexistent), but I like to know that everything in my inbox needs to be acted on/processed, rather than having to determine whether I've already done it or not. You can do this while leaving everything in the inbox by toggling the read/unread tags, but I'd rather not.

Similarly, I've never seen the advantage of leaving old emails in my inbox rather than just archiving everything without labeling it.

ah, my approach has been anything in my inbox that is unread is either requiring of action on it, or unread.

The problem I have when I've used that strategy is that then I need to skim all of the emails and recall the state of each one. I find it to be both distracting and stressful—I'm reminded of every task I need to accomplish (or, at least, the most recent 20) whenever I check my email.

For my work email, I try to practice inbox-0. Every message either gets an immediate action, or it's filed away as a task on my todo list (including the URL for the message in Gmail), and then archived.

It's just a third state. I use unread for "not started", read-but-in-inbox for "in progress" and archived for "done". If you don't need that distinction between not started and in progress then sure, just leave it all read in your inbox.

Same goes for "starring for to-do" vs "unread as to-do". The latter does mix in requires-action with yet-to-read, but maybe a lot of us class a yet-to-read email as requiring an action anyway?

I'm curious why you think Inbox would result in your inbox getting cluttered. From how you describe your workflow, Inbox would work well for you.

Well you're right. I've been using Inbox for over a week, and I like it. No email clutter, and it matches my flow pretty well.

I too consider email to be a perfectly working system and I have achieved "inbox 0" since I started using email in 1994. IBM drilled it into me that my inbox wasn't meant to be a 'pending' queue, and as such I should action items or clear them out.

That and some general common sense has added up to me being bewildered when people discuss how difficult email is.

I really hope that doesn't come off as snarky, because it's not meant to be! :-)

I have tried all kinds of intelligent note taking apps, GMail workflows, and so on. At the moment I think that the Unix philosophy works here as well: I use simple but working tools and I build my workflow on/with them instead of using a complex, big app/infrastructure that tries to find out what I'm interested in. So I'm stuck with an email provider that follows standards, and I feel good about being able to move to another provider, etc. in case I want to do so.

In most cases, I know what I want, and I am OK with opening the app that can do the job for me. However, I want that app work properly and always. That's why I don't find Google Now too appealing: I don't want a personal assistant who tries to figure out what I want. I want a personal assistant that can do what I want when I ask for it. I don't need an app that scrapes my email for airline tickets -- I need an app that makes me easy to look up delays and departure times. I don't want an app that sets an alarm clock automatically when I have a meeting because there are two cases: 1) I need an alarm, but then I need to be 100% sure that it's set (and I don't want to double check whether magical AI figured it out properly) 2) I don't need an alarm (so I don't want my personal assistant to set up one). I cannot risk missing somethink: if it's not important, I'll try to unsubscribe.

But that's only my use case.

Ah, and +1: I don't want to keep emails. If I don't want to retain some information, then I just delete it -- there's no search algorithm in sight thats accuracy is independent of the search space. More emails, items -> less effective search.

Have you considered using Mailbox[0]?

I also do the Inbox Zero thing, and absolutely love the overview it gives me of what I need to do. With Mailbox, you'll "snooze" mails and it'll be like they get delivered to you at the later specified time.

I recently sat my parents down, installed mailbox on their devices, and instructed them how to use the app. Amazingly enough, they now constantly use it, and aim for the zero inbox (they are people that would have to write down what ctrl-c does, and didn't know about ctrl-z...).

[0] http://www.mailboxapp.com

EDIT: If it wasn't clear; I'm also very satisfied my with mail flow :)

I liked Mailbox but Dropbox own it and I'm more and more concerned about how they handle my privacy. Add to that that for Mailbox to work your emails have to be stored on their servers (AFAIK, please tell me if I'm wrong) I switched away.

Only the snoozed mails are stored until they are redelivered, as far as I can tell, but I can see your point. I personally don't care that much about privacy, if the convenience gains are high enough :)

"Mailbox stores a subset of your emails temporarily in order to redeliver snoozed emails, provide fast delivery and provide push notifications. We encrypt all communication to and from the Mailbox app, and all information cached on our servers is stored in an encrypted format." [0]

[0] http://www.mailboxapp.com/help/#/search?query=mailbox%20stor...

How much less trustworthy is Dropbox than Google?

Dropbox directly lied to users about privacy and stated they could not access your data. When this was pointed out, they made up excuses for lying and acted rather snotty about it (on HN). They also had that little "don't check passwords" incident, which night indicate more serious problems. I'd trust Google engineering over Dropbox, but Google is also evilly anti privacy so it's not much of a win.

Google already has my emails (Gmail). If I use Mailbox I'm throwing another party into the mix. Google continues to get them and now Dropbox gets some of them too. It would be best to use the service of the company that gets them either way (Google). Why give your email to two companies when you can give them to one and get the same features?

To those who think inbox-0 is a waste of time, because you can just search for email, so why spend even a second organizing it: what causes you to remember to reply to an email sent to you 3 days ago, which is now the 119th email in your inbox?

I subscribe to inbox-0 because emails in my inbox need attention of some kind. I'm not advocating spending an inordinate amount of time organizing every email with labels and filters. Just "inbox == needs attention, not-inbox == I can safely forget about it".

Honestly, the workaround I always used for this is starring the e-mail or Boomerang it if it's really important. Also, mailing lists and social coupons get filtered immediately.

Boomerang is pretty similar to some features of Inbox.

I receive hundreds of useless mails everyday (not filterable spam, just thing I don't care about or have no valuable information), so dealing with each of them to empty the inbox is a waste of time.

Most mail that matters come from specific people (close family, project members, current client...) so it's easy to search, the unexpected important mails and things that needs to be done later just need to be starred.

I feel it's really efficient when the signal/noise ratio is very low.

It sounds like you're doing an adaptation of Inbox Zero anyway. It's Inbox-Starred rather than Inbox Zero, which to me sounds like what someone would do if their email didn't have an archive option. Or for people that generally don't like archival.

Personally, I didn't like archival at first, but now I'm quite addicted to it

Full Disclosure: I'm a Inbox Zero-er.

inbox-0 or not, it is still very helpful to use the multiple inbox feature in gmail [0], I've separated mine into "inbox", "follow up", "upcoming events", "to read". this way the screen is utilized better and i can actually see agenda.. also archive them after moving so that inbox only has items that still need attention.. Most people probably don't realize the cognitive effort they waste on re-parsing the same messages in inbox over and over and over again.

I also tried to engineer a sort of self-destruction messages. The kind that are relevant for a day or few but don't need to be kept. I added the rules to mark those as "disposable" and once in a while i just nuke them from my inbox. This is still a manual step so it would be nice if something like a self destructive message label was invented in case el Goog is watching this

[0] http://klinger.io/post/71640845938/dont-drown-in-email-how-t...

I love Multiple Inbox for work emails, although for home I don't. My work email tends to get a bit cluttered during a project, but I try to get back to Inbox 0 when I get a moment to go through things.

My Multiple Inboxes are: Unread Inbox, Starred, Action/WaitingOn labels, Drafts and Unread (non-inbox). I had to add the last one as I was missing emails I hadn't read but had setup filters for. This deprioritizes them, but I still see them, and I can easily just mark them as read as they generally don't require much attention.

The other tip I'd say is learning the basics of keyboard shortcuts - I can open, assess and archive/delete an email very quickly because I use e/# (archive/delete respectively). I can burn through the unimportant emails very quickly that way.

I'm also an inbox-zero practitioner and am fully satisfied with my current email workflow with one caveat -- for "waiting on" or "not relevant now" emails, I need a way to bring them back to my inbox at some estimated time in the future to be revisited.

I found Boomerang (http://www.boomeranggmail.com/) a year ago, and it's been amazing for keeping inbox-zero (and my sanity). I average about 300 emails a day and most of them aren't immediately relevant. I then label them with their context(s) and boomerang them when I think they'll be actionable.

It's an amazing workflow, and I honestly think Google could just offer some type of "resend me this email later" (maybe even with a small note to myself) and would solve 90% of people's workflow problems.

Fully agree with this. Boomerang has really been the only way my inbox has remained exclusively actionable items that are not blocked by waiting for people to reply.

I haven't seen Inbox yet, but it sounds like the "snooze" feature might solve this problem for many people.

I'm an inbox-zero-er (and Googler) and I love using Inbox for that exact reason - it makes it even easier for me to deal quickly with emails I don't want to touch (e.g. promotional), and snooze emails I can't act on immediately so they'll come back next week or whenever I need to follow up on them.

That means I can have an even more focused inbox that just contains things I need to think about / respond to right now.

In comparison, I still use regular gmail for my work email and I have maybe a dozen emails sitting in there that I don't need to do anything about right now but need to follow up on soon.

IMHO, Inbox basically takes the stuff that inbox-zero folks had to learn to do manually, and makes a lot of it automated. It's particularly great on mobile.

> IMHO, Inbox basically takes the stuff that inbox-zero folks had to learn to do manually, and makes a lot of it automated. It's particularly great on mobile.

But the manual intervention is precisely what makes my zero-inbox so effective. It's also agnostic to the device/application. If I leave something unread on a device it's unread somewhere else and vice versa. If one calls it "save for later", I don't know if that also means "unread".

Why does manual intervention (per se) make your zero-inbox so effective? This isn't somehow magically processing emails for you, it's just automating how those emails are handled after you decide what to do with them.

IIRC inbox-zero says you should file all of those to a "next week" or "next month" category and then once a week go through that inbox. This effectively removes the need to do that chore, because you can just say "put this back in front of me a week/month from now."

I don't see why this is any less "device agnostic" than any other method. You can use Inbox on mobile or desktop and they stay in sync; in fact, you can use Inbox on mobile and traditional Gmail on desktop (or vice-versa) and they'll stay in sync as well. (And you do in fact konw if the email is unread or not, since that's a separate bit of status info. You can snooze an email without reading it.)

I set aside time every Monday for getting to "inbox zero." That's when I go through every email in my inbox -- including those I've let linger for the past week -- and do one of the following:

- If it requires a task and I can do it within 2 minutes, then I just do it. - If it requires a task that'll take more than 2 minutes, I schedule the task on my calendar and archive the email. - If it's just for future reference (eg, flight confirmation), I add an appropriate label ("Travel") and archive it. - If it's none of the above, then it either gets archived or just deleted.

So I don't have the problem that Inbox is trying to solve. What I'm wondering is will this eventually be forced onto all users, whether we need it or not?

The video on the blog post says that it is separate from Gmail and that you are welcome to use both. I assume they plan on keeping it that way.

Emails have several issues:

Large % of emails are newsletters, notifications, offers and promotions. This is not spam (I think we have got that under control). These are the things you intentionally subscribed to and "nice to know" but not important or urgent. Email clients are utterly oblivious to identifieng and ranking them (Gmail's Priority Inbox is rather dumb baby steps).

Replying to threads and quoting previous replies is a pain. Threads become too long with several different colored highlights all over.

There is no easy way to control your membership in email conversation. It's hard to get out and hard to get in. Creating groups is high friction. Sharing previous conversations with someone or a group is non-practical.

Most email clients rank emails using date time. You can say that 70% of the human generated content uses perhaps most naive ranking algorithm. It is mind boggling that we still don't use signals like age of conversation, length, participants, topic, embedded action items etc. Even in 2014, most email clients will happily push email sent at 9AM for your house on fire after the benign Groupon promotion sent on 10 AM.

Emails are free form and there are poorly defined standards standards to add structured data such as reminders and action items for recipients, auto-expiration, callback number etc.

You can't share your "like" or upvote/downvotes for emails sent to a group. This severally limits how much social expression can be attached to emails flowing within a group.

This doesn't really make it not spam. After a while, I do have to wonder why quite a few of my emails aren't just items in an RSS feed.

You're definitely not the only one. I think these 'email is broken' changes are aimed at people who use smartphones and tablets that didn't use PCs before, trying to make it more chat client like. I think this might be a market force, but it definitely tramples traditional email, which is long form, non-instant, textual (not visual) communication medium.

You're not satisfied with email itself, you're satisfied with your filtering software, plus your rigorous discipline, plus email. I don't think email is necessarily broken, so much as woefully incomplete for the kinds of tasks it's typically used for.

I also do inbox 0 the exact same way you do but sometimes it's not enough. For example, if an online retailer sends me promotions I don't care about, I'd like them to be auto-archived for when I actually feel like buying something, but I don't want to miss my purchase confirmations.

Google's new categories help and Inbox sounds promising but I feel like there's too much assumption going on in parsing the emails.

Really, I'd like email addresses to be on the domain level. For example, mail@cool_username.gmail.com and flights@cool_username.gmail.com. Then, give me granular control over how "mail" or "flights" get categorized and give me nested categories.

I've been wanting something similar, but in the form of automated expiration after a certain amount of time (able to set "expiration" to either "Archive" or "Trash" in said rule).

For example, I'd love to be able to add a rule so that certain "deal" emails (those to which I'm purposely subscribed) to expire after say 1 day or 1 week - whatever the standard time for the sender's deals to typically last.

Then on the occasion that I end up in the woods, whether literally or figuratively, and unable to maintain my email for a couple days, I don't end up with an overwhelming and generally self-perpetuating inbox debt

I filter all messages with the word "unsubscribe" in the body into a "Bulk Mail" folder that I check once a week, works beautifully.

As for the per-category addressing, you can add "+flights" to your username when subscribing to flight notifications and then filter on that however you like...

Check out plus addressing! Not part of any standard, but supported by Gmail and many other email providers.


I've tried plus addressing. Some websites annoyingly don't accept them :(

The plus sign has been a valid character in email addresses since 1982 (RFC 822). See page 8: http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc822.html

I don't find email broken (I use gmail). I typically have multiple emails in the inbox ready to be 'worked on' if they're unread. If they're read, I've done something with them (and it stops my phone flashing at me constantly). Then, at the end of every month I fetch all mail via POP3 and delete all emails from my inbox. The same goes for my phone (I use SMSBackup+ on Android).

But I still have my "offline" archive of data on my laptop, which I then backup once a month too. (Thanks TimeMachine).

I'm with you, we use gmail on our work email now and I just use the google app sync so I can keep using outlook. I think regular old email from the 90's works fantastic.

I'm with you. currently i have 3 emails in my inbox. the rest are archived. Like 85% of the population, my inbox is a todo list not a social engagement.

I also use inbox zero, but it took me 15 years to get to that point. That's quite a learning curve, and not built into email at all--it's something you have to discover outside of Gmail or any other email client. Combine that with the fact that the most recent generation is using email less and less, and products built around email are bound to evolve in order to remain relevant.

I'm with you. Inbox never should have more than 15 items. Everything else is unlikely to be looked at again and gets thrown into an archive folder (Business/Orders/Correspondence). If I get mail I don't want, then I unsubscribe.

I'm also on the lighter side of email load/work, but I don't see how a simple/efficient/clean workflow like this could be improved.

I seem to be the only person in the world whose email is only broken since forced to use GMail on a work account (and Thunderbird totally fails at using the IMAP thing).

I mean, searching for "vpn" doesn't give me the mail that contains "openvpn"? Or it's that incompatible to my workflow that not even RTFM works...

Search is hilariously bad in all email clients, including gmail. Google managed to solve searching on the web by just throwing enough information in it until you kinda always got what you wanted to know. But that doesn't work for email, because there just isn't more info to throw at it than what's in your mailbox. You need to actually have decent search algorithms. And those are apparently too difficult to write, since not a single mail client out there does it right. Grep does a better job.

Not all email clients.


Thanks for mentioning that. I use notmuch and the emacs mode for my email. It's absolutely the best email experience I've ever had.

I bet I could find plenty of people that would consider search to be broken if searching for vpn did return openvpn results. (Or the slightly less loaded example, if searching for 'man' returned results with 'almanac'.)


I had an inbox zero policy before that was a thing. It's the only sane way to deal with email.

Count today: ~100 work emails. Most take less than a second of time. Some, require <1 minute to reply. The outliers are the ones that require me to do actual work beyond email but those are luckily usually communicated otherwise.

same here. there was a while ago article about usefulness of these manual organizer interfaces. they just don't work. what works is a system that can infer what you need to do from what you have done before give you maximum shortcut value. Example was presented - in facebook if you enter school you've been to you can post messages to these people - to field gets macro selector for your friends that have attended same school you did.

usually if I can't remember something - i usually don't really need to do that. I will definetly won't engage in this pseudo work.

Also how does this pass 20/80 test?

Well good on google. this sort of reminds me buzz they had. but I haven't played with this yet.

I practice inbox 0

Yeah. And with a few (well, 119) filters, it's actually pretty rare that an e-mail hits my inbox. Rare enough to have notifications on my phone enabled.

The fact that you had to configure and maintain 119 filters is the indication that email is broken IMO.

>> "The fact that you had to configure and maintain 119 filters is the indication that email is broken IMO."

Maybe it's not broken, maybe it's just being used by people in a way it wasn't meant to be. I bet a lot of people's email 'conversations' would work better in a chat app (i.e. they don't need an easily searchable record and they aren't typing long messages).

With the right software (Opera Mail) filters learn from what you drag into them and out of them. So there's no maintenance necessary to speak of.

I have 63 filters right now for my personal mail, somewhat less (17) for my work email where I am a bit more diligent about sorting (and where filters can be more complex).

119 is completely sane.

Of course its sane. I also have over a hundred. But if your system requires that I manually build and maintain hundreds of filters I still think something is broken. Its just an awful user experience.

I accumulated them over the years.

Only a few hundred emails a day? How do you get any work done?! I get a few dozen and it's a huge distraction.

I can provide a personal example, I work at a place where we have one and only one ticketing / bug tracking system, but it can't be used for ticketing / bug tracking because its only to be used in hyper procedural, formalized manner solely to generate numerical metrics. All actual ticket tracking / bug tracking work is organized manually by each individual in email.

Not entirely unlike how most corporations use Excel as their corporate standard database, although excel isn't technically a database. So email is not a ticketing system, but for us, it is.

A few hundred emails is not terribly unusual per day.

Filtering strategies are vital. Topic drift away from the subject line is strongly discouraged.

This is at one of the largest companies in the world.

I don't have a problem with my e-mail workflow, it took a while and much effort to get to that point though.

Exact same flow here.

I've been using Inbox at El Goog for a while now, and I am happy to answer questions (in between dealing with a newborn...)

FWIW, I really like it, and use it exclusively for my work and personal accounts. Inbox functions very much more like a ToDo list than it does an email client. Here are the workflows I have:


I filter all mailing lists into different clusters that I have appear at 7AM every morning. I then scrub through the subject lists to see what happened yesterday, pinning things that require my attention, and then sweeping the rest. At this point, everything pinned in my Inbox is now "something I need to look at". I then read the email, and decide if it has an action item or not. If it's actionable and I intend to do it today, I'll leave it pinned. If it's not something I'm going to do today, I'll Snooze it until I think I'll have time to do it, or at least evaluate another Snooze time.

To make sure I don't miss important emails, I have a cluster that I put all email that has myself explicitly in the To: line, and have that appear whenever anything arrives. I do occasionally miss things that didn't have me in the To: and went to my 7AM clusters, but this is few and far between, and I hazard happens less than my Gmail inbox where I had far more cognitive load on managing the emails there.


The defaults are tuned well for home, and I use the clusters (like Travel, Purchases etc) like I do for work, having them appear at 7AM each day. Most things get swept immediately, and again I pin things that require my attention and are maybe ToDo items.

Inbox is really opinionated about its workflow: if you struggle against it, you'll have a bad time, and you'll prefer Gmail's flexibility. However, if you are Inbox Zero or GTD minded, I think you'll love Inbox. Inbox is my ToDo list, and replaces Wunderlist/Things/Evernote/Google Tasks for me. I set reminders to myself for work items that don't have an email attached.

I encourage everyone to give it a week to see if it suits them, but I'm afraid I'm all out of invites for now :(

I wrote a review of the Inbox on facebook (that was my deal with the person that invited me). Cross-posting here if it interests you.

My review of Google's new Inbox, based on two hours of use (thanks [redacted] for the invite).

First the good parts: 1. I really like bundles. The idea that I can "Sweep" all the promotional emails I get in one click fills me with glee (and marketers with anxiety, I imagine). It's also nice to have all the travel related emails in one place. Never again am I going to be confused whether I should be going to SFO or SJC.

2. I like the new compose. My emails are too long (both those I write and those you do), and I'm praying that showing just one line to write a response will make emails briefer.

3. Snooze/procrastinate: How I like the idea of "someday". Combined with my own future discounting, I'm not going to feel guilty about not responding anymore.

The not-so-good parts:

1. Boy is this opinionated software! There is an inexorable push to empty your inbox. I guess I'll like it if I get with the program.

2. It's too pretty. No, seriously. The title-bar is too bright, there are too many people's faces, too many colors and font styles. I like my email drab so I can focus on what people are saying and not get distracted by the colors.

That's all I see with two hours of use. Oh, also, I don't know how to invite people yet. If someone tells me, I'm happy to invite y'all.

edit: formatting.

My review of Inbox, based on about 4 hours of use:

#. I hate Bundles. I rarely if ever have more than 5 emails in my inbox. Hiding things from me is counterproductive.

#. WAY too bright and big. Regular gmail fits 3x as much information in the same space, and I was already unhappy with how bright and big regular gmail is.

#. Love snooze. I've been using boomerang for ages.

#. No idea where the compose-suggestions are coming from; they're for people I haven't communicated with since before gmail even came out.

#. In general, just feels very clunky compared to Gmail.

Why are you concerned with the amount of information it can hold if you only ever have 5 emails in your inbox?

I can't edit this original post, but it seems I can't invite people yet; will update when I do.

TO what extent does it use ML for all the clustering? Does it work all of the times?

I can not imagine what'd happen if it doesn't work all of the times?

I like the colors aspect though and and would love to try it out.

If you still have some invites left send out one to a.tom.mindan@gmail.com

I think the clustering either has been trained very well, or uses a very conservative rule-based system. It seems to work great!

I'm not sure if you have any invites left, but if you do, here is a link to the support page that has directions on sharing an invite:


Once you get Inbox, you'll have invites to send to your friends. Here's how to send an invite:

1. Open Inbox. 2. In the bottom right, go to the Create button . 3. Choose Invite to Inbox .

If you could do that for me, I would be grateful! (banderon1 "at" gmail "dot" com)

> Oh, also, I don't know how to invite people yet.

Its from the create (+) button, but I don't think you necessarily start with invites right away, and I don't think it shows the Invite option after you hit the create button unless you have invites.

At least, I'm assuming that's why I've never seen the invite button in my Inbox (app or web) even though I've seen the instructions on the support page.

On the plus side, it only took me a few hours to get an invite from Google just by emailing inbox@google.com.

This sounds interesting - I've been waiting for a while for Google to use more ML on the client side in g-mail.

I would really appreciate an invite at inglor at gmail dot com?

If you still have an invite, I'd really like one:

bertrand dot chardon at gmail dot com

Thank you very much.

Interesting review. It almost sounds odd that someone likes the new "Compose" in a Google product...

If you can spare an invite, I'd be glad to try it out: ozhozh at gmail dot com -- thanks in any case.

Would love one if anyone has it. click0230@gmail.com . Also, I would share mine. thanks in advance. Cheers

code_ Will you please have an invite for google Inbox to share, please? alex@allwrite.tk


if you have an invite send me thx: juliengenoud@gmail.com

if any invites are going out I'd be happy to take one juice.is.good@gmail.com

Any invites for google inbox, pretty please?

If you still have an invite, I would appreciate it. bkrishnan at gmail dot com

I'd appreciate an invite as well. gary.x.lu@gmail.com

If you happen to have intives and you are able to send, could you send me one too? Thank you. My e-mail: batuhanicoz@gmail.com

Hi, would appreciate an invite..... postjockey@gmail.com thanks!

If you have an invite for google inbox, will you please share it with me, please? alex@allwrite.tk

Thanks, Alex

Does it work across accounts? For instance, I have a personal email and a university email that is gmail-based. I believe they are already linked account-wise, but having to manually swap between both inboxes in gmail is a constant annoyance.

Edit: "Across" in the sense that everything comes in one workflow, and isn't two separate workflows. I dislike having to back out and select a new account to see each set of emails.

It doesn't integrate multiple accounts into a single inbox, if that's what you mean. It works the same as Gmail in that respect.

That's a massive shame.

Weird that Mailbox/Dropbox manages to do it with Gmail, but Google doesn't.

I believe it's intentional (for privacy/usability reasons), so that it's always clear which account's emails you are reading and which you are replying to. I don't think it's a technical issue.

I've certainly been caught out in that regard before.

But a 'advanced options' ability with a stern warning would be useful to many.

In general Google tends to keep accounts siloed, if for no other reason than that different accounts is the solution recommended to people who want to silo things.

Why don't you just have your emails forwarded from one account to another?

That defeats the point of separate emails...

Not really, given that you can quite easily filter emails that you receive from your other address. I use exactly this workflow and it's much more useful than having them in separate inboxes (i.e. doesn't "defeat the purpose").

I tried it and found I constantly was sending email from the wrong account. While that's on me, it was evident I was never going to get it right either, so I went back to separate accounts.

To do the trick, you have to add the account as "not an alias" (you will have to add the gmail smpt and so) and later, select the reply "Reply from the same address to which the message was sent".

I did that. It was remembering to switch the account when composing new messages. I ended up sending work emails from my personal account on a few occasions.

I meant going to Accounts and choosing the "Reply from... radio". That way it will always choose the "destination email" as reply.

Right. That works great. The problem is when I was composing a new email.

Just in case you didn't see it, and weren't just talking about composing new emails, there is an option in the settings to send replies from the account that received the email.

Thanks. That was a very handy feature. Alas, it was when composing new emails. I'm sure with more diligence it'll come as second nature. But when rapid firing through emails I'd sometimes send from the wrong account and end up in confusing and embarrassing situations.

I bet his university's Gmail has auto-lookup for contacts.

Mailbox is an all-in-one email client. Gmail is a webmail client for your (singular) Gmail account.

Gmail on mobile (both Android and iOS) both handle multiple Gmail accounts gracefully (personal, google apps, etc). To merge them seamlessly in the interface would be trivial.

In this case I was talking about Inbox, which in my mind should be a all-in-one gmail inbox.

To my understanding, the future of "enterprise support" for Android is that you'll be able to install multiple copies of the same app and one will be personal and the other work.

This is how BlackBerry 10 devices handle the difference between personal and work applications. Al though, it's just one application running two instances with app data in two different locations.

You'll still have to go in and out accounts as you do now, but Gmails "Send As" feature came over, so that might help?

OK, I'll have to look into that feature. Thanks for answering!

but be aware, "send as" isn't disguising the base email.account in the free gmail-non-business-version: e.g. outlook shows which smtp-server was used.

MS Outlook (since v2003) provides the same (?) useful feature out of the box.

ToDo's based on emails, chat, sms, (or any other msg obj) and metadata based filters are very useful.

I created dozends of advanced filters in GMail in 2006, as my first account grew to 5 GB (thanks to about 20 of mailing list) in 2009 my GMail account got unbearable slow. I had to create a new account (the advanced filters are still there, but there is no intuitive UI anymore, you have to type in their syntax). I occacionally login to my old account and it is still dog slow - so I have my doubts that advanced filter scale in GMail/Inbox.

First: Why do you think they created a completely new app rather than integrating features into the gmail app one by one? I understand it has a good integration of Google Now in it, but Google Now itself works very nice for me (Like showing important stuff from my gmail). Thanks!

Every time they add features to gmail, people on forums like this one scream "OH MY GOD GOOGLE LITERALLY KILLED MY SISTER". It's a lot less irritating to make major changes in a new product.

I'm not a PM so I can't speak to the decision itself, but I don't think grafting on the Inbox workflow to the Gmail interface would have worked out. It would have made both of them very muddled, and given the impression Inbox has more flexibility that it really wants to give.

Two apps using the same backend data (you can switch between Gmail and Inbox if you like) seems a better fit.

> Why do you think they created a completely new app rather than integrating features into the gmail app one by one?

As I see it, it lets people wanting to try the new thing do so, but has zero effect on people happy with what Gmail does now who don't want to be distracted either by more option clutter or the features themselves.

Further, it lets people wanting to use the new workflow do so without clutter from the regular Gmail interface (and being a more focussed interface is the key "interesting feature".)

It's too different from Gmail to be integrated into it. It coexists with Gmail so that you can choose to use Inbox and its "opinionated" workflow, or not. Users who like their personal Gmail workflow probably wouldn't appreciate having that flexibility taken away if it's not aligned with how Inbox wants you to work.

Because for many people that would be the final straw to push them out from Gmail, leading to them leaving Google completely, since once Gmail is gone, there's hardly a reason to keep Google account anymore.

From ethnographic research, this is a good move by Google. People enjoy a blank slate or 'fresh start'. By starting from Inbox 0, people can enjoy that feeling. Contrast this with integrating into Gmail where people have thousands of emails in their inbox.

That was a good guess except for being totally incorrect. Inbox starts with whatever is already in your Gmail.

I assume they wanted a fresh start.

"Inbox functions very much more like a ToDo list than it does an email client."

That's exciting to hear, since I've recently started turning Mailbox into a combination email client/to-do list/evernote replacement. I've found that having all those concerns in different apps meant that I never wound up using any of them often enough.

The shared concern seems to be the triaging of things that hit an "inbox" of sorts. Email hits the literal inbox, to do's hit my "stuff I need to do" buffer, and notes hit my "categorize these notes later" buffer (I compulsively note things down for later). Ultimately triaging things as their hit the Mailbox inbox is most effective for me, so I've turned it into my single source of triaging.

I'll definitely give this a shot if/when I ever get an invite ...

What are the hurdles to allowing Inbox for Google Apps users?

They can't be big, as I know Google employees can use it for Apps accounts already. No idea why they haven't enabled it for us mere mortals.

It is not yet possible. :(

Got the invite for my google apps account, tried to sign in and was denied - because it was a google apps account.

Only people who receive an invitation can use Inbox by Gmail, and they can only access Inbox through their personal Gmail account, not through their Google Apps accounts. People who receive an invite to their Google Apps account can forward it and use it on their personal account if they want to. https://support.google.com/a/answer/6082718

"Inbox functions very much more like a ToDo list than it does an email client."

This is very important. I've started using Evernote, and thought, "I really want to keep track of what gets done and who is doing what via email, without adding any complexity or forcing others into a system." I hope Inbox does this for me.

It won't. It's not a shared task system (Trello/GQueues/etc).

You have your work and personal email in the same account? How do you separate it? Standard Filters?

I'm sure Lewisham has two different accounts. Google employees have had access to Inbox for both work and personal use for a while now.

Yes, this. I have my @google.com address, and my @gmail.com address.

One feature that's unclear to me, if you don't mind: when you sweep a bundle, does it sweep only the items displayed on the screen, or everything in that category? For example, if I have 500 emails in my Forums bundle and sweep what I can see, will it sweep just those 25 or all 500? I don't want to make a mistake by testing this myself. :)

I think it will "sweep" all unpinned emails, but even after the emails have been marked as Done, you can still easily access them by clicking on the bundle (e.g. "Travel").

I've been using Mailbox for a while on mobile and more recently on desktop and I'm wondering how it compares to that app? Also, are the new Inbox features in the app available on the web as well? I ask because desktop management of email is a great feature that Mailbox's beta desktop app provides.

Are changes that you make in Inbox reflected in Gmail? For instance, if you archive (sweep?) something in Inbox is it also archived in Gmail? Are clusters related to tags?

Yes. Things marked as done in Inbox (including marking many things as Done by sweeping) are shown as archived in Gmail (and vice versa).

What OS does this run on? From the screens I would say both Android and iOS, can you confirm that?

There's an app for iOS, Android, and a web app for desktop (and I think mobile web, though I've never used it).

inbox.google.com mentions iOS

I am excited. I really want to an invite. Please invite me at karabacakcengiz at gmail. dot com

Agreed, this is really exciting. Please give @cengizkrbck an invite!

Will anybody, please get me an invite for google Inbox, please? alex@allwrite.tk

"only works in Chrome". Sorry, not interested.

Does it have ads?

Not currently, to my knowledge.

I would also appreciate an invite! Thanks (daniel.spronk@gmail.com)

me too :)

my username is my gmail

I'm not sure what this 'inbox' does, but from judging from the video it's about a bunch of twenty-something hipsters from California high-fiving each other.

You could sum up the post dot-com startup craze with "a bunch of twenty-something hipsters from California high-fiving each other". Nothing more than an unparalleled amount of resources thrown at solving first world problems that millenials have.

Your absolutely right. The last 14 years of iPhones, Google Search, Gmail, Maps, Facebook, Social Networking, the very site you are using right now... can all be summed up by "a bunch of twenty-something hipsters from California high-fiving each other."

Yes because as we all know email is exclusively the domain of the young, idle Bourgeoisie

Well, that's who Inbox is targeted to with the given video, at least.

That's who you target first, to spread it toward people who aren't so technically inclined. iPhone wasn't for moms at first, and now many don't know what they'd do without it

Serious question: Did you read the article, or did you just watch the video? Reading the article along with watching the video made it perfectly clear to me what this product is doing, despite the fluff in the video.

I read the original link, and watched the video on that page, and had pretty much the same reaction as the parent commenter. If this service is perfectly clear to you, then please elaborate for the rest of us.

It appears to be sorting and arranging various bits of data. The examples shown include messages, and a flight reservation. What all kinds of data bits DO integrate? Does this read my email (or replace it)? Does this read (or replace) the news feeds of my social networking accounts? Where did it get that flight itinerary? Why is everyone in this video talking a selfie every two seconds, is Inbox sharing or managing photos for you?

I think this supposed to be an improved version of Google Keep, perhaps with some hooks into Gmail and your phone's camera. But all I have to go by is a few paragraph of fluff, and a 60-second video of young people staring down at their phones. Feel free to fill in the blanks, if you picked up some more solid information that we're missing.

Why, it's almost like the launch of any app, ever. Plenty of sites have more detail:


The landing page for inbox.google.com, if you scroll down slowly as you read it, seemed to explain it very well, and showcased example workflows. The video didn't convert me, but the website did.

Are you kidding, or are you seeing a different page than me? Literally all the page has for me is an "Inbox by Gmail" logo on top and some text below for "Already have an invitation?" and "Need an invitation?". No information whatsoever.

I believe they typed the wrong URL; probably meant this page: http://www.google.com/inbox/

I think we just witnessed the first corporate pseudo-cool advertisement from Google. You know, when BigCorp tries to cater to the young and hip, thats the kind of video they produce. Crank it up a notch, and you're in the uncanny Samsung Valley.

I, for one, am looking forward to the Poochie rap!

Same here. It seems that GMail wants now to "friendfeed" my mailbox.

I don't know what that whole "overwhelmed by email" issue is all about. If you are getting 100+ emails a day and believe these are all relevant for you, you either work as some sort of a customers service rep or there is something wrong with your life/priorities.

Relevant doesn't necessarily mean requires actions. I average around 100-150 relevant work emails on a typical day (can also be 20), and plenty of them are ones that I only need to glance at for 5 seconds - some that I don't even need to read but need in my inbox for potentially looking up later.

I work in marketing for PC hardware, so very different sort of workflow to coding.

This is exactly what they want to do. Ads embedded in streams/feeds have proven to be the most profitable monetization strategy on mobile, and Google's missing the party on that one. It's an attempt to take one of their powerful, existing products and turn it into a mobile feed.

Gosh! You're so right. The first thing I thought of when I saw the video was the same thing. Show me what the app does Google!

They make it "cloudy" on purpose since that's what it's all about according to them, the cloud.

Lovely description. Now I know what Inbox is. Can wait to get my hands on it!

With vocal fry dressing.

I've been using this for the last 4 hours or so. I closed the old gmail in my browser and swapped default apps on my phone.

My quick thoughts on the iPhone app:

Good overall. It's just as good as most of the new line of productivity focused apps that have been released (and acquired) over the last year.

My quick thoughts on the web interface (inbox.google.com):

This is where it's really shining for me. Finally email doesn't feel like a spreadsheet with buttons anymore. It feels like Gmail should feel in 2014. Now that I've started using this, it would feel painful to go back to normal Gmail. You just kind of have to start using it to understand, but I really like it.

All of the new features (reminders, pinning emails, bundles, and one-button archiving of bundles like promotions and forums) are great . I've used almost every new feature already and they all feel like a natural part of a flow.

The only nitpick I have at the moment is the integrated chat in the web interface. It's defaulted to the Hangouts style chat, which I'm not a huge fan of. In old Gmail you have a choice of using the normal version of chat or Hangouts chat, and I've always turned off Hangouts chat. I really wish you could do that here, but I'm not seeing an option for it and my guess is there will never be one.

Overall however I'm really happy with this new version of Gmail and will continue to use it everyday.

Oh god, the video? Amazing models doing fun recreational stuff. At the end of the video I didn't feel I knew anymore more about Inbox than I did before.

I mean I get it... but it still feels stupid to do something like that, worse to sit through it and realize you're not watching to be informed by substance, you're watching to be convinced by style.

Here's what I got in response to my invite request:

  Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:


  Technical details of permanent failure:  
  Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the relay gmr-smtp-in.l.google.com by gmr-smtp-in.l.google.com. [2607:f8b0:400e:c04::e].

  We recommend contacting the other email provider at postmaster@gmr-smtp-in.l.google.com for further information about the cause of this error.

  The error that the other server returned was:
  550-5.2.1 The user you are trying to contact is receiving mail at a rate that 
  550-5.2.1 prevents additional messages from being delivered. For more 
  550-5.2.1 information, please visit 
  550 5.2.1 http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?answer=6592 j1si1502294pdb.1 - gsmtp
Nice one, Google.

I received the same error; I tried again a few minutes later and it worked.

Same here. Got the error, emailed a second time, it worked.

Aw give 'em some credit, they basically just got too popular and hit a rate limit. Nice indeed.

I like the irony of using a conventional email message to request beta access to the next generation of email too.

Aside from the fact that Inbox is still email, this is called "bootstrapping".

No doubt, was just funny in this context.

When I got the demo on Monday, I was struck most by how Google Now technology was integrated. That's why I called my piece (on Medium/Backchannel) "Inbox, the app child of Gmail and Google Now." Now that I have the app, I'm enjoying it. Very clean.

Chrome only, it seems. Disappointing. https://twitter.com/brianleroux/status/524987137892954112

It doesn't use any Chrome specific features and it will work on FF, but it needs to be optimized to get buttery smooth 60fps animations. As you know, the logic for when the various browsers do layout, create layers, upload them to the GPU, etc is different, and that causes divergence rendering performance. It was hard enough to do this on Chrome, it just takes time.

We also ran into a recent difference in the way sparse JS arrays as handled. We use sparse JS arrays for some data structures, but array.splice(0) on Chrome runs much faster than FF when using this to clone a sparse array.

There's no intent to exclude Firefox, engineers are staying late in the office working on it.

What an incredibly disingenuous reply. Chrome is truly this decade's IE, and watching Google try to play this kind of crap off would be disappointing if it wasn't so insulting.

"There's no intent to exclude Firefox", it just turns out you've done that for like 2 major product releases in a row along with a giant flashing button suggesting that the user downloads Chrome. I'm not stupid, you don't have to lie to my face.

I take offense to someone calling me a liar.

Try typing this into a JS Console: var xx = []; xx[30000000]=42; var yy = xx.slice(0);

It took almost a week to track down this problem where FF was taking 13 seconds to startup. We've spent a lot of time working on this and it is always in the cards to support this on all the other browsers. We've fixed tons of bugs and have gotten closer to it working the way it should, and people have spent countless hours staying very late at the office to try and finish a polished FF release before the deadline, and we just didn't make it in time. I spent the past 5 years of my time working on open web stuff.

Any insinuation that this is an attempt to sell Chrome over Firefox is just flat out wrong. This was a "mobile first" designed app, it's not designed to promote browsers of any stripe, it's designed to promote an experience for gmail users. If we really wanted to shit over a platform, why bother with iOS? Firefox has such a large user base, it can't be ignored, just like iOS can't.

Unfortunately, V8 implements slice() fast at the expense of correctness. A basic edge-case testcase like https://bug1087963.bugzilla.mozilla.org/attachment.cgi?id=85... fails.

That said, it's clearly possible to do this fast _and_ correctly (e.g. IE manages this).

But as a note, some V8 folks would like to remove the buggy-but-fast thing completely. See https://code.google.com/p/v8/issues/detail?id=3612#c2

Thanks Mozilla for the quick reaction. We were not really blocked on this as a for-in/Object.getOwnPropertyNames loop is an easy workaround, it's more that finding the cause of an unexplained slow down took a bit of time (the usage comes from another engineer's rpc-serialization library)

Is there a point of contact for rendering/paint performance issues? We've had problems in Chrome where we had to work around excessive invalidation/paints, but those were diagnosed by using Chrome's layer/paint debugging tools and talking to Blink engineers, things may go quicker if when we encounter problems, there's someone we can email for help or a fix.

(SpiderMonkey engineer here)

What VerGreeneyes says is true for our JS engine, too: you can always file bugs in our bugzilla (in the "Core/ JavaScript Engine" component). We react to such bugs very promptly (as you can see in bug 1087963[0] which was fixed six hours after being filed) and, in many cases, can uplift patches from Nightly to Aurora and maybe Beta, so they'll reach release builds more quickly.

If for some reason you're not comfortable with filing a publicly visible bug, you can also abuse the flag for filing security-sensitive bugs. That way, we may be better able to help with issues affecting unannounced products.

For asking questions or getting our attention even more quickly, you can either join us in the #jsapi channel on irc.mozilla.org, send mail to dev.tech.js-engine[1], or send mail to one of the SpiderMonkey engineers directly. A list of these engineers is available at [2], or you can just email me at [my nick]@mozilla.com.

[0] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1087963 [1] https://lists.mozilla.org/listinfo/dev-tech-js-engine [2] https://wiki.mozilla.org/index.php?title=Modules/Core#JavaSc...

Thanks for the info.

I'll make sure we file bugs as repro-case-able issues come up, but if we get stuck on a deeper mystery, we may need some more direct help. We've made a lot of progress, and from a logic and speed issue, a lot has been resolved and mostly working, but animations are janky, and from "subjective" speed point of view, it unfairly makes FF look bad. Based on previous experience with Chrome, hitting the sweet spot of 60fps is usually where the JS developers need help from the rendering engine folks.

That makes a lot of sense, yes. We can profile cases like that and get info/help from people working on the relevant components. It happens fairly frequently that we move perf bugs from the JS component into GFX or DOM bindings or something else entirely. So really, just file a bug in one of these components, maybe CC a person you already interacted with or send an email, and we'll do the triage.

If you just file a bug on Bugzilla (https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/) in the Core: Graphics component with a reproducible testcase that will probably get people looking at it pretty quickly. For more one-on-one contact I'd suggest the #gfx channel on the Mozilla IRC, although that tends to work best if you know who to reach out to specifically. The gfx newsgroup (https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/mozilla.dev.tech.gfx) might also work to call attention to a particular issue. You can probably setup an e-mail contact through one of those channels if that's what you prefer.

This is a real Firefox bug, but consider the reverse situation: if Firefox's slice() was fast and Chrome's was slow, would Google ship Inbox with a message that says "Inbox only works in Mozilla Firefox. More browsers coming soon. Download Mozilla Firefox."? Probably not. The Inbox team would probably pull in the V8 team. Apparently, the Inbox team didn't contact Mozilla's SpiderMonkey team because they fixed their bug within a couple hours:


Even more odd is they still have their message about FF not being supported for Inbox up for Nightly. I just switched my User Agent to Chrome and Inbox works fine in FF.

I can sympathize with you because cross-browser development can be frustrating at times. However, when you ship a product and only support one browser (which happens to be the browser your company makes) you're making a statement (even if it's only implicit) that you don't really care about the open web. You personally may care about the open web, and I'm glad the issue is fixed internally, but releasing a major web application with support for only one web browser is a big "fuck you" to the web.

This returns in in 3ms on IE11. Just for fun, I tested on IE6; it's just as fast. http://imgur.com/CFRSNoq

Try it yourself: http://canhaz.azurewebsites.net/ http://www.browserstack.com/start#os=Windows&os_version=XP&b...

Have you got the Bugzilla id for this issue? I’d be interested to track it.

That was quick: a patch was checked in earlier!

> Try typing this into a JS Console: var xx = []; xx[30000000]=42; var yy = xx.slice(0);

What specific problems does this create that prevents you from shipping with a degraded experience?

Or feature detect this problem and serve some type of notice.

If bleeding-edge Chrome is the only browser good enough for this site then it's a problem with the site's architecture.

> Any insinuation that this is an attempt to sell Chrome over Firefox is just flat out wrong.

Maybe not you in the engineering team, but the designers / PMs who decided to stick a "install Chrome instead" banner definitely had it in mind.

> Firefox has such a large user base, it can't be ignored, just like iOS can't.

That's either a lie or incredibly naive. You wouldn't have shipped without iOS. Full-stop.

>What specific problems does this create that prevents you from shipping with a degraded experience?

It's not just a degraded experience as in 'turn off this feature', the bug in question affects the entire infrastructure of how the app works, since it is part of the message passing and serialization mechanism used. It's legal, standard, JS, that just happens to run slow.

In this case, a workaround is available, and it is already fixed, but not shipped, because we froze commits some time ago for launch.

> That's either a lie or incredibly naive. You wouldn't have shipped without iOS. Full-stop.

You mean like we didn't ship support for Android tablets? You would have thought with the big Android Lollipop and Nexus 9 launch, we would have made sure this worked there, right?

Maybe you should think about Hanlon's Razor as an explanation.

Still, people wanting to use it will likely switch to chrome. That's a tactic google already used for hangouts - only to end up with a very unconvincing "oops, that was a mistake" answer (see https://twitter.com/johnath/status/486575645338918912).

Instead, you could just notify the user that performance may not be as good on other browsers for now.

> It doesn't use any Chrome specific features and it will work on FF

Does "will work on FF" mean "FF will eventually be supported"? Because today we see: "Inbox only works in Google Chrome. More browsers coming soon. Download Google Chrome."

This looks very much like Mailbox, in particular the swipe left and right to archive/snooze a message.

It seems to take strengths from Google's email aggregation prowess + Mailbox-like functionality + Google Now integration. A smart play but yeah it's going to look very derivative in light of how awesome Mailbox already is at tackling the majority of the issues with email maintenance.

Yeah, but it's possible many folks trust Google and don't trust Dropbox (or haven't even heard of Mailbox) so it's interesting for Google to access that untapped market.

The gmail app has had the swipe to archive thing for a while now.

That's exactly what I thought. Was wondering if Google acquired Mailbox app!

Dropbox did.

That's exactly my first thought. The only differentiating feature mentioned in the video from what I could gather was an indicator of importance that the app determines.

Mailbox was acquired by Dropbox some time ago.

I don't get more than maybe 10 emails a day on my personal account. Mailbox makes it fun to take care of them. I don't see myself needing anything more complex.

This looks very much like the end of Mailbox. If execution is half-decent (and it's a big "if", I haven't tried it yet), GMail users from now on will have no use for Mailbox or MailPilot.

I get the impression that this is more the next generation of Google Now than it is the next generation of Gmail. (Google Now is all about plucking out information from larger sources of data and bringing the most important stuff to the front as it's needed.)

I suppose I could see how this would be useful if you're using your smart watch or your phone and only want the most important facts, boiled down to their essence. (But then, doesn't Google Now already do that?)

Outside of that context, it doesn't seem like you'll ordinarily have both Inbox and Gmail open at the same time, because (as far as I can see) Inbox is just a way of better organizing and presenting the underlying data, whereas Gmail is more like the raw feed.

The first video on the page is useless. Full of images of people on their computer and phones, running on the beach, etc. After watching the video, I still have no idea what Inbox really is besides "an improvement to email" (supposedly).

Snoozing emails, and turning emails into tasks, is the one feature that is important to me and gmail has been missing. I have tried some hacks like "mailbox" by dropbox, and "taskforce", etc, and they worked well, but it didn't work across all platforms.

I am looking forward to trying this out.

I've been messing around with the new email schema stuff that Google has had out for the past year or so.

I'm really looking forward to having a more intelligent layer around email. It's a great messaging protocol but up until now it's been mostly contextless.

I don't see email going away anytime soon and projects like this just confirm its usefulness.

For those who haven't seen it yet take a look at Google's email schema stuff: https://developers.google.com/gmail/actions/

Certainly ties into the discussion about google making two of everything [0]. It's not clear how this product is meant to co-exist naturally with gmail.

[0]: http://arstechnica.com/business/2014/10/googles-product-stra...

...And Google Now and Lollipop's new Smart Notifications.

This looks great. It seems like the extension of what they've been doing with Now for a while - all the information you need in easily actionable cards.

I wish Google had used a less generic name. Searching for "mail isn't showing up in my inbox" is either going to show you generic mail problems or Google Inbox problems. Apple's "Messages" app is a terrible name in the same way.

For a company that still makes the vast majority of it's money from search, Google sure generates a lot of products with absolutely horrible SEO.

The chrome browser vs chrome os search overlap is just awful as I found out this week.

Google don't make money on Search. They make money on Advertising.

I recently spent the better part of a day clearing out my work inbox because I'd heard too many people preach about inbox 0, and how the only things in their inbox were things they actively needed to work on.

This worked for all of two days for me. Now, a week later, my inbox is once again packed, with nothing being moved or deleted, just read. That's just a flow that seems to work better for me. My to-do lists that I actually need to pay attention to are in other places... I'm looking at Jira to see what needs my development attention and in what order, for example. I'm pleased with treating my email as a giant bin where everything gets thrown, but can easily be fished out again given the need.

While I imagine this is all dependent on just how much email you actually get in a day, systems like Google Inbox seem useful to me at first, until I realize I'm no longer following the system, or I'm spending too much time deciding on where an email should be filed instead of simply acting on it and moving on with my life.

You should probably work on getting less email then. I find zero inbox easy to do. It takes practice, but I also unsub from newsletters and reduced my work load. Tons of email is a symptom of either over-loading yourself with work or not managing how you communicate with people well.

After a bit of use, I think I like it.

I was curious about the relation between Inbox and Gmail. My current Gmail has a lot of filters and labels.

When looking at the labels, you have the choice of displaying them as "Clusters" in your main inbox, which is pretty convenient.

I did that to my Friends label and it is now a Friends cluster.

Note that it doesn't change anything in Gmail: the label is still here, all the filters that interact with it are still here too.

I realized that one of my friends wasn't in the cluster, so I moved it in it, and clicked on "Always do this", it prompted me : "Always move emails from Myfriend@email.com to Friends" . 2 remarks about this:

- This is a very basic way of adding some emails from bundling, in the future I except to be able to specialize more: for instance sometimes I get important emails from a co-worker, but he also sends a daily reminder that I don't care so much about, I would like to be able to move it to the bundle “Useless updates” only it comes from him AND has this specific subject. That is something we can do through the Gmail filters, but not through the “Always do this” interface yet.

- Curiously it created a filter in my old Gmail filters with as a rule : " from:Myfriend@email.com Action: " The filter has no action, so I assume that when I will be receiving an email from that friend , in Inbox it will go into the good cluster, but in Gmail the label "Friend" won't be appended to it, this means that Gmail rules/filters apply to Inbox, but Inbox rules don’t apply to Gmail.

The Inbox's "Done" is doing the same thing as the Gmail's "Archive" .

I haven't been able to experience the snoozing feature yet

Hmm. I'm not sure that this is actually an email app. For the record, I think Gmail and its steady incremental improvements embody email perfection -- I can't imagine going back to life before auto-sorted tabs -- and I'm totally willing to give Google the benefit of the doubt. Still... it's tough to see how Inbox improves on Gmail.

Instead of email, I think Inbox is an effort to finally (FINALLY) improve GTasks by marrying it into Gmail and Google Now. GTasks is woefully lacking. My recent switch to Trello has absolutely revolutionized my work flow, more than I thought possible. Inbox's autotasking looks like a big improvement on the dumb list, but it still doesn't look like a real competitor to Trello's kanban system.

(One last plug for Trello, just because using it for an hour has turned me into a wild-eyed fanatic. It's AMAZING. Try it!)

Looks interesting; is this coming to iOS and Android or just Android? Also curious if this will make an appearance in web form as the Gmail and its suite of apps are woefully outdated (Gmail, Contacts, Tasks and Calendar have had some bugs for years and are simply behind on the good UX front).

It's IOS, Android, and Web.

Do you have a source for this?

Yes. http://www.google.com/inbox/ shows it

But i'll shortcut it and just offer an existence proof, since you can find all three pieces with creative searching:





Oh damn; the link from the OP I didn't see it but it's very clear on this page. Thanks!

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