Google’s Gmail team recently brought us a new way to…check our Gmail. It’s called Inbox.
Inbox is currently in beta, and is invite-only. I was lucky enough to score an invite fairly quickly, and have been playing around with it for the past day now.
If I had to explain Inbox in 5 words or less, I would say “It’s Gmail, with fewer features”. My buddy Chip Colandreo describes it as “Gussied up, stripped down Gmail”
When I first heard about Inbox, I was under the impression that a user would be able to check non-Gmail accounts with it, like a full mail client. This is not the case. I have heard rumors that the new Gmail 5.0 app will let you check yahoo, hotmail etc like a full mail client would, but Inbox will not.
So, the app called Inbox (a general term used by every single mail client/service) will ONLY allow you to check Gmail, and Gmail (a specific, brand of email service) will allow you to check any email service you want.
Anyways, here’s a slider that shows the little introduction to Inbox when you first open the app on Android:
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The UI is…decent. I’ve heard good things about it, I’m not crazy about it. One thing Inbox talks a lot about is “Bundles”. Bundles are simply this, a label/filter combination. If you create a Bundle in Inbox, you’re basically making another tab, like the Gmail tabs Social, Promotions, Forums etc. You’re creating the Bundle, and having certain emails forwarded to that bundle.
In fact, if you create a Bundle in Inbox, it creates a Label with the same name in Gmail, and a filter sending the emails you specified to that label.
In case that was hard to follow, here’s an example.
Let’s say I want all emails that come from my mom to be “Bundled” together in Inbox. I’ll create a Bundle, and call it “Mom”. I will tell Inbox that I want all emails that come from “firstname.lastname@example.org” to be bundled together under “Mom”.
Once I’ve done this in Inbox, I hop on over to Gmail, go to settings and click on Labels, and I notice that there is a new label called “Mom”, and a new filter that sends all email from email@example.com to the label “Mom”.
Your Gmail tabs (Updates, Social, Promotions, Forums) will show up as bundles in Inbox.
Besides Bundles, there really isn’t any other major difference between Inbox and Gmail, besides Inbox’s considerable lack of features, like signatures, or custom notifications for each label. But the app is in beta, so don’t be surprised when more and more features start showing up.
Here’s a quick shot of what the app UI looks like once you get past the intro:
If you’d like to join a community of Inbox users, check out the Google+ community here.