November 05, 2014

Hands On With Google Inbox

So Google have launched an app for mobiles and desktop called “Google Inbox” – their latest attempt to evolve the email experience. Yesterday we managed to get access to the app while it’s still being rolled out via invite. Here are some thoughts:

  • It seems like Google is trying to turn your email feed into your Facebook feed, almost. Things are more dynamic, images are displayed where they can be drawn from attachments which adds to the feeling that you’re going to get bombarded with holiday photos!
  • Gmail tabs are great for users that want to separate their personal emails from brand emails, but they’ve certainly had an impact from a marketing perspective. Inbox brings promotional emails back into the main stream of emails, but groups them into a bundle called “promos” – that preview the sender name of the last few brands to send you promotional emails.
  • Emails that matter are easier to spot: using “bundles” anything that I’ve ordered goes into a “purchases” bundle, anything related to money or banking goes into a “finances” bundle and my billing from Transport for London goes into a bundle called “travel” – which is optimistically flanked by an icon of a plane. As a result, this means email that is personally sent to me takes more prominence.
  • Swiping left (reminder) or right (dismiss) means you can easily manage your emails and “work through them” and eventually clear your inbox. This certainly feels alien for now, but in theory it’s a great feature that means you can use things as more of a “to do” list.

It’s too early to tell what Google have here with Google Inbox. It doesn’t leap off the page as something that is a revolution, but it feels like they’ve made some progressive steps with this. It won’t be for everyone, for sure, but the functionality certainly lends itself to a type of audience that will love some of its features.

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