Google unveils Inbox, a new app to fix email

Story highlights

  • Google unveils new Inbox app for Gmail users
  • Inbox groups conversations and lets you snooze emails
  • The app is invite-only for now
How do you solve a problem like email?
Google's Gmail team thinks it knows how: with a new app called Inbox.
Inbox, which launched Wednesday, offers a different way of handling the daily avalanche of email. Specifically created with mobile users in mind, it sorts and turns emails into reminders, highlights the important bits and adds outside information it thinks is helpful.
Even as people are turning to other tools to quickly communicate from their phones -- messaging apps, social networks, text -- email remains an invaluable if sometimes infuriating way of communicating from mobile devices. You can filter out spam, something Gmail excels at, but there's still a huge volume of legitimate email to deal with.
A lot of companies have taken a stab at improving the email experience. Gmail recently started categorizing emails automatically and putting them in different tabs in your inbox, like social, promotions and updates.
The popular third-party app Mailbox used folders and gestures to make sorting through emails easy. That company was snapped up by Dropbox. Inbox seems to be heavily influenced by Mailbox's time-saving, reminder-centric approach (not to mention its name). It also borrows some neat features from Google Now.
Inbox works by grouping similar messages together, like bills, in what Google calls "Bundles." You can schedule a bundle to only show up at specific intervals, say once a week. There's no need to read all the words in an email just to get to the juicy bits. Inbox will highlight what it thinks are the key parts of an email, like contact information, confirmation numbers or photos.
It's also tapping Google for related information to save you a trip to the search engine. For example, if you've set a reminder to call the dog groomer, the business's contact information will show up automatically.
Messages can be turned into reminders, reminders can be snoozed, and important emails "pinned" while the rest are whisked away.
Inbox is currently only invite only. It is available as and iOS and Android app, as well as a desktop view (for Chrome browser users only).