Gmail's trying something new, something that is a rather fundamental change to the Gmail experience, and it's called 'Inbox'. The new app for iOS introduces a number of new features that aim to make it easier to manage the every-increasing flow of email we see every day, including bundling similar emails, highlighting important info, and making it easier to add reminders from your inbox.
So a bit more on those new features. Bundles takes the categories Gmail introduced last year and expands that by grouping together similar emails, be it combining things like purchase receipts or bank statements. And Inbox is said to learn and adapt to your grouping preferences.
Highlights pull together key information from important emails, and even pulls in information from outside of your emails, like flight status and shipment tracking. Of course, if you're a desktop Gmail user these features will sound mighty familiar. This brings that feature to mobile.
Reminders lets you, well, add reminders from your emails. What makes this more than just a basic reminders list, however, is a feature called Assists. This brings in more outside information — Gmails' example is of writing a reminder to call a hardware shop and Assist providing the phone number and store hours, or adding a map to a restaurant reservation confirmation email.
Lastly there is snoozing. With Inbox you can snooze both emails and reminders, setting them to either remind you at a specific time or when you get to a specific location (say, home or work). This last feature is somewhat reminiscent of the Mailbox app by Dropbox.
Inbox is currently in invite only mode, so while you can download it from the App Store, you might not be able to use it. But you can request an invitation by sending a message to email@example.com. Since that one little thing is holding a bunch of us back, it's hard to give any impressions on actualy using Inbox, but it's something we're looking forward to, and we expect it'll see integration with the standard Gmail app soon enough. So check out the video above and let us know what you think — is Inbox the solution to dealing with email overload?
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Derek Kessler is Special Projects Manager for Mobile Nations. He's been writing about tech since 2009, has far more phones than is considered humane, still carries a torch for Palm, and got a Tesla because it was the biggest gadget he could find. You can follow him on Twitter at @derekakessler.