It’s time for spring cleaning over at the Googleplex as the company prepares to close several products. Google+ is going away in the coming weeks, which won’t cause many to shed a tear, and Allo closed last week to the disappointment of no one. However, the impending shutdown of Inbox has resulted in wailing and gnashing of teeth in all corners of the internet. Still, Google is going ahead with the shutdown, which is now scheduled for April 2, the same as Google+.
Google launched Inbox in 2014 as an invite-only beta. Gmail managed to change the way we thought about email with conversations, and Inbox tried to do it again with “bundles.” For those who haven’t used Inbox, a bundle is basically an automated Gmail label with some extra features. Emails for hotel reservations, car rentals, and airline tickets would automatically appear in the “Travel” bundle, for example. You could also manually bundle emails to teach Inbox how you wanted your email organized.
Inbox never got the same level of support as Gmail, which is the default way to manage emails in many offices around the world thanks to G Suite. Businesses and consumers could switch to Inbox, but relatively few did. However, fans of Inbox were adamant that it was a better way to manage email.
It didn’t come as a massive surprise when Google announced the end of Inbox in 2018. The company has been slowly adding some of Inbox’s most popular features to Gmail including, snoozed emails, nudges, and Smart Reply. However, bundles never came to Gmail. Although, bundles are a radical departure in the way we manage email. It’s unlikely Google would add that feature to everyone’s email.
If you try to launch Inbox today, the app shows a full-screen notice that it’s shutting down. Unlike past notifications, this one has a precise timeline. Yesterday it said 15 days, and today it’s down to 14. That puts the shutdown on April 2. The app offers to launch Gmail, where it reminds you Gmail has some of the same features. You can choose to skip the warning and continue using Inbox like nothing is wrong for the next two weeks. However, that’s all you get. When Google shuts it down, the app and website will stop working.
Google would obviously prefer you use the Gmail app. However, there are various alternatives that can plug into your Gmail account like Edison and Newton, both of which have added features in an attempt to lure former Inbox users.
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