Released over the last couple weeks is a new service from Google called Google Inbox. It’s designed to give you a brand new look at how you can use email, and with its invite only business model, the hype has been high. Perhaps the mystery surrounding the Inbox craze, is Is It Worth It?.
What is Google Inbox
Though a random lottery, I was given access to Google Inbox a few days ago, and have been making my rounds with the system and familiarizing myself with it while finding a place for it within my business. Essentially, Google Inbox, takes your email account, and turns it into a task list. Not only are you able to send out emails, and answer them, but you can also mark them as Done or even schedule them to pop up again later on the top of your email list. It turns your email into one massive, organized To Do list and for me, that’s perfect.
Like others, I’m getting emails relating to photography work at all hours of the day. When I’m at my office, this is perfect. But more often than not, I’m out of the office and checking my email from my phone or tablet. The downside to this is that if I get multiple emails while out of the office, I come back to them later unsure of what I’ve answered, what I haven’t, and what isn’t important all together. The simple redesign into a task list makes it easy for me to keep my important emails on top of my email, and able to bury the unimportant ones with a simple swipe of the screen to the left or right.
However, Google Inbox comes with some massive shortfalls. For one, there is no customization or features tied into the system. Even the most basic features, such as adding a signature to your email just simply aren’t available yet. Pairing that with little instruction on how to use the system, (as well as the annoying alerts to try Inbox when you log into your Gmail account) makes it very difficult to be a full convert to the system.
But perhaps the greatest shortfall is that I’m not sure why I like it. I think it’s the exclusivity of it all, being one of the only people I know who has access to the hyped up beta. While the task tools are nice, it could be just as easily done if I marked things unread or archive on my mobile device (a system I reluctantly haven’t adopted). Much like Ello, I fear the Google Inbox has a short lifespan, and will quickly fizzle into obscurity the moment the public has access to it. It’s simply not innovative, but rather a weld job of two things that Google already does great on their own (Google Tasks & Gmail) and not the cleanest weld job either.
That said, Inbox is pretty, and certainly has some sparkle to it’s design. With the use of it’s bold colors, and simple linear build, it’s a fresh take on email, and is just really nice to look at. It’s a breath of fresh air to a system we’ve been bored with for years. While it doesn’t make getting emails exciting again (was that ever the case?), it certainly newer, with the ditching of the previous monochromatic format. That said, aesthetics is never a reason to use one system over another, especially when the former has such shortcomings.
So Is It Worth It?
In short no. Google Inbox does not live up to the hype. That said, who knows what the case will be when Google gets in there and adds some features that are needed for a basic email program. Signatures are important to my branding and marketing campaign, and other features like auto responders, auto forwarders, and filters are features I’ve grown accustomed to using on Gmail, and simply can’t live without.
That said, I still plan on using Google Inbox as my solution for mobile emailing. With the simplicity of the system, it feels really well designed for the person who is constantly on the move, while preventing me from allowing autocorrect to destroy an important business email. Rather than a game changer out the box, Google Inbox feels more like an infant. Sure one day it could be something great…but for now, it’s bound to a crib, building excitement for all your friends and family to meet it.
If you want to give Google Inbox a try for yourself, you can request an invite by emailing [email protected] With some hope, Google will grant you access, and you’ll find more charm in the system than I have so far.