In which I review the new Inbox by Gmail...
Currently Inbox is invite only. You can apply for an invite at www.google.com/inbox or get a friend to invite you.
Since Google released Gmail to the masses (over 10 years ago) they have been constantly upgrading one of the oldest services on the internet: email. Now they are looking to change the way everyone uses email with the introduction of Inbox.
The concept is that you rarely look up old emails* so can mark them as Done when you no longer need them. Important emails can be Pinned as a constant reminder until you've dealt with them and emails you haven't got time to worry about right now can be Snoozed.
Bundles are similar to the different Gmail inboxes (Social, Promotions etc) but now you have more control over which emails get sent to each respective bundle. You can also create your own Bundles by setting a rule for which emails should be sent there. Initially Inbox will import your Gmail labels and if they have an incoming mail rule you can turn them into a Bundle. This is a great way of keeping track of a particular hobby or group of contacts allowing you to see all the emails from them when a new one appears at the click of button.
Reminders are the same as in Google Now and are pinned to the top of your Inbox. Essentially Inbox turns your email into a to-do list.
It offers a clean experience and so far I haven't wanted to go back to the Gmail app for anything except deleting large swathes of emails.† I will update this page with further thoughts over the coming days.
*Old messages can still be searched and seen under the done tag. They are like Archived emails in Gmail (more details below!).
†Currently I can't seem to find a select all button inside a bundle.
Inbox looks so happy when you have no messages:
Tips & Tricks
This section is a work in progress and will be updated as and when I find new neat tricks.
Archive Old Mail to Done
If like myself you've been with Gmail since near the beginning (or just use it as your main account) you will likely have a lot of old emails. When you load up Inbox for the first time you won't be faced with the clean image I posted above but with all of your old emails in the Inbox. This, sadly, defeats the point of Inbox as when you swipe away incoming emails to Done your older emails move to the top. Also Inbox loads emails in groups of roughly 25 so going through your thousands of emails will take forever.
There is a nice easy solution though. Go to mail.google.com and Archive all your old emails. Archiving merely removes the Inbox label from the selected emails without deleting them. This is also exactly what the Done functionality in Inbox seems to do to your emails. If you haven't been archiving emails regularly an easy way to do this is:
- When a notice saying "Select all conversations that match this search" appears. Click to select all the emails.
- Click the Archive icon at the top of the page.
WARNING: When I did this two things happened: 1) I was locked out of my Google account for about 5 minutes as it processed the request. 2) For some reason this method means the list in Done won't be in chronological order (except new emails), I don't know why. You have been warned.
Once you have done this your Gmail will resemble the sparse list in Inbox:
You will still be able to view your old emails in All Mail in Gmail: