Gmail is one of Google’s biggest and most beloved products, but that didn’t stop the company from trying something new back in 2014 with the launch of Inbox. I will admit to never getting hooked on Inbox, but a lot of former Gmail users fully embraced Google’s email experiment. They’re going to be bummed now. Google has announced the Inbox is going away in March of next year.
When Gmail launched, it made us think about email in new ways by creating threaded conversations. This has become the standard for all email clients today. Inbox made a similarly radical change to the way users managed email with “bundles.” Inbox would categorize your emails into bundles with the same label. You could just use the pre-loaded labels like updates, purchases, trips, and so on, but Inbox supported custom labels as well. People who got comfortable with bundles swear by the Inbox experience, but it was a big adjustment.
Inbox included features beyond bundles including snoozed emails, to-do integration, and reply reminders. The death of Inbox is not entirely out of the blue — many of the features that made it unique have become part of Gmail over the years. Some of them showed up in the most recent major Gmail upgrade, in fact. With fewer unique features, Inbox doesn’t have much reason to exist.
Google seemingly makes the case that Inbox fans shouldn’t be upset because Gmail has already absorbed enough of what made Inbox special. There’s a transition guide that includes a list of Inbox features that have arrived in Gmail, as well as alternative features that offer similar functionality. Although, some of these are a stretch. Custom inbox tabs are not the same as bundles, Google.
Over the past 4 years you’ve helped us make email better. We’ve brought popular Inbox features to @Gmail helping 1B+ people get more done. Thank you.
We’ll be focusing on Gmail saying bye to Inbox at the end of March 2019. Here’s a transition guide → https://t.co/6dOxgExpbm
— Inbox by Gmail (@inboxbygmail) September 12, 2018
Google says Inbox will go offline at the end of March 2019. At that time, any Gmail addresses that were tied to Inbox will revert to the standard Gmail experience, and the mobile app will stop working. Having about six months of warning will give Inbox fans a chance to get their personal workflow going in Gmail, but it’ll probably never be the same.
With Gmail’s importance to Google’s consumer and business wings, it was always going to be tough for a new email client to gain traction at the company. Maybe Inbox was doomed from the start, but erase the frustration of Inbox users on this sad day.
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