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An open email to Google Inbox

Mike Elgan | Nov. 3, 2014
I really wanted to hate Inbox; then I tried it.

But not you -- you're the opposite. Your to-do list and email integration is a joy. Your Material Design is so easy to look at. Not only are reminders integrated into the email system, the email system itself is treated like to-do items. When you're done with either an email or a reminder, it doesn't feel like you're deleting email. It feels like you're checking off a to-do item or filling something away for later.

And speaking of reminders -- that autocomplete when you set up a reminder is amazing. I just type in buy and it offers a grocery list. Any reminder shows a list of possible completed items, which -- if correct -- I can just choose.

And how do you manage to do that voodoo that you do while retaining my old Gmail filters and folders? And you let me set up new filters without making it seem like that's what I'm doing. It really just feels like I'm filing things into the right categories, then I can tell each category what I want it to do.

Your whole bundling thing is really nice -- way more appealing than regular filters or tabs. Categories like "Finance," "Purchases" and "Low-Priority" let me deal with types of incoming information as groups, either seeing them each just once a week, or snoozing or dismissing the lot with a single click or tap. I can even choose to have items in each bundle category show up on the phone's notifications or not. And, of course, I can create my own new categories.

I also like the way you use colors and icons and bolding and thumbnails in the inbox to give me an intuitive grasp of what's in the messages or the bundles -- and even extending some of that design approach to search results, making that more appealing and intuitive.

And that big, red plus button for starting a new email or reminder is really nice, especially the way my most frequently used contacts or actions automagically appear there for one-tap addressing. I love the way the plus spins around, landing on a pen icon when you hover over it, then the playfulness with which those frequently used options are displayed.

You've also figured out how to let me interact with stuff from the inbox without opening messages. For example, you show me thumbnails of attached pictures, which I can tap to open and even save the pictures, all without opening the email itself.

One major benefit is that I'm having to open a lot less email and burn my brain trying to grok what's in there. You're categorizing and surfacing attachments and handling a lot of stuff...so I don't have to. Thank you.

 

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