Inbox: Better Gmail
Inbox by Gmail, if you’re unfamiliar with the app, is Google’s new take on email. It’s a nifty app that attempts to completely change how you view and use email.
It lets you categorize messages into bundles, so that similar messages will always stay together. All promos are grouped into one bundle, for example, and all purchases into another. You can create as many bundles as you like.
It also introduces several features that really speed up your messaging experience, like the highlights feature that lets you read a portion of an email without you having to open it. All in all, we think Inbox is a great app you should download if you haven’t already.
When Google released Inbox by Gmail, it was still a work in progress and so lacked some basic yet necessary features. Thankfully, Google has updated the app since then and the result is clear to see – the app runs great, works well, and is fun to use.
Here are 5 new features of Inbox by Gmail that make it the ultimate email productivity app.
Have you ever been neck-deep in emails and fighting to reply to them all? If this sounds like something that has happened to you, you should find the snooze emails feature very useful. You can “snooze” any email you don’t want to reply to at that moment. That email then disappears for a set amount of time and will automatically pop up on your screen after that.
To activate snooze, you need to swipe left on an open email. You will find a clock icon (just like the snooze icon on your clock) – tap on it. A “Snooze until…” menu will open. You can use the presets (Later Today, Tomorrow and Next Week) or you can choose to type in an exact date and time.
Want to view a snoozed message? Simply navigate to your Inbox menu. You can un-snooze any messages you’ve snoozed from here.
If you’re familiar with Google Now, you should be familiar with how reminders work. Google has essentially transferred the feature over from Google Now to Google Inbox – though you can’t have reminders with date, time and location marks on them as you can in Google Now.
Reminders are notes you can stick in your Inbox (they also appear in the Pinned view) to help you quickly spot an important email. If you always keep returning to an important email your boss sent you from work, for instance, you can create a reminder and hang it in your inbox pointing to the email. The reminder can read whatever you want it to read, like “Important Work”.
To create a reminder, navigate to the Reminders tab in the app. All the reminders that you have created in the past will appear here (reminders created in Google Now appear here too). In theory, you should be able to create reminders in Google Now and have them automatically transferred to Inbox and vice versa. At the moment, though, Google doesn’t seem to have implemented that feature properly.
Bundles (we mentioned them earlier) are a primary feature in Inbox by Gmail. Bundles are similar to the Priority Inbox feature Gmail rolled out recently. Like Priority Inbox, incoming emails are automatically grouped into bundles for you. You can choose to remove emails from a bundle and place it into another bundle. Inbox will learn your preferences and sort your future emails accordingly – after asking you for confirmation, of course.
Unlike Priority Inbox, though, bundled messages appear in the same place in your inbox (sorted into bundles). You don’t have to navigate to another tab to access them. You can choose to configure the behavior of bundled messages from the settings menu.
Have several newsletters that you subscribe to and want to read them on your weekends? The bundle menu will let you activate a digest view that will cause all your newsletters grouped in their own bundle to pop up once a week. You can create your own bundles too. Just create a label (or choose an existing one, this is the bundle name) and tap the gear icon next to an email and have it placed into that bundle.
Don’t want to be bothered with those pesky emails from that forum you’ve subscribed to? You can have them moved to the low priority bundle. Low priority, like the name suggests, are all messages that you don’t have to or want to deal with immediately – or ever.
Any emails that you categorize as low priority won’t appear in the main Inbox view. To access those emails, you have to navigate to the Low Priority label in your main menu. Low priority works like the “Not Important” feature in Gmail.
You can move emails between Low Priority, Social and Promotions bundles if you want. The app will also let you create filters that will automatically sort incoming email as low priority.
If you’ve tried searching for an email in Gmail using the search feature, you know how efficient it is. Most of the times, you don’t even need to finish your search query to have the results you’re looking for appear in the drown menu below.
The search feature in Inbox by Gmail is even better than the one in Gmail. Apart from letting you search for emails, it returns answers to queries too. For example, if you want to know the dates you’re expected to arrive at that hotel you booked, just type in the query: “booking hotel”.
The details of the hotel you booked will appear in a pop up menu below the search bar. You can also try queries for flights, addresses, and phone numbers, among other things (Google will keep improving this feature in the future we’re sure).
Inbox by Gmail is a well-rounded app and one of the best email clients at the moment. Apart from the features we listed above, the app also has several other useful features, like swipe to delete, the ability to set signatures and an undo send function that we think will save your hide many times.