Google's new "inbox" freaks me out...
I found a way to get an invite to Inbox and quickly deployed it to all my devices. I then went through every option available. The idea is that you take an action on every item (which is now more than just email now) that comes into your inbox. You can do one of a few things:
- Mark as done (archive it)
- Snooze it so it comes back later
- Pin it so it stays in your face
This means that your inbox becomes synonymous with a your todo list… Which really makes a lot of sense for me. That sounds like a lot of work though - and it would be…
Time Savings with Bundles
Inbox puts a new feature called ‘bundles’ on to center stage. Bundles are automatic filters that emails get sorted into. Examples of bundled email types are:
When an email that is part of a bundle shows up, you see the bundle appear with a preview of the messages inside. This way you can’t ever have too much stuff in your inbox. What makes this feature really useful is that bundles can be set to only appear once a day, week or month. They can even be set to not give notifications. You will be getting email frequently but things that fit into one of these bundles won’t pollute your inbox or cause you to look at your phone.
Google obviously does a very good job at learning which emails go in which bundles and each time you move something to a different bundle, Google takes that as a learning action and improves. Keep moving something and it will become automatic. If you have bundles that generate a lot of junk, you can just hit one button to clear them all (this ignores pinned items).
Inbox also comes with a brand new web interface. Point your browser at inbox.google.com and forget about going to Gmail.com again. Hangouts works as you would expect and even has improvements. Message windows wiill now overlap when you have a bunch open. An improvement from messages that just got smaller then didn’t appear. Search is improved, the layout is improved, and the design is more consistent with the new material design concepts Google recently announced.
Real World Use?
Google Inbox kind of freaks me out. I never realized how much I would check my email every day. I was constantly checking on things I didn’t need to be interrupted for because there was just no way to filter it all accurately. With the technology behind bundles, that is no longer a problem. This means that I hardly look at my phone! I checked literally three times to make sure notifications were enabled within the app because I was paranoid I wasn’t getting my messages. I repeatedly refreshed my inbox to only find no new messages waiting for me. Unsatisifed with being not bothered, I then dug through my bundles without finding anything I really needed (or wanted) to see.
Inbox isn’t meant for people with 23,000 messages in their inbox that they never open or archive. It’s meant for someone who is willing to treat each email to a brief consideration… Either in bulk or directly. If you do actually take one of the three actions (done, snooze or pin) on each bundle or item… It really will cause you to be interrupted less and give you a more clear mind to be more naturally human. We may end up needing smart watches soon because our phone will be so far out of hand most of the time and notifications will become so much more useful.