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Thursday, November 6, 2014

App Review -- Inbox by Gmail

Inbox by Gmail

When Gmail announced their new gmail app, Inbox by Gmail, I wanted in. So, on November 5, 2014, during their 'Invite Happy Hour,' I was able to score one of the coveted invites.

I'm not saying that there is ANYTHING wrong with the current gmail app. I love it and I use it daily. But I wanted to try something new... maybe something that would help me to stay organized even MORE than Google Calendar, which is a god-send in itself.

I was SADLY mistaken.

^^three screenshots of the Inbox by Gmail app interface -- I'm guessing running on Android 5.0 - Lollipop^^
Credit to the Google Play Store app page

The app itself looks... well, different. I guess the BEST way to describe it is the 'card' element of Google Now with the tabbed design of Hangouts or Google+. It's snappy in responsiveness and it boasts the 'Material' design that Google is touting across the Android platform.

And that's where the positives end.

As I said, after receiving my Invite, I installed to try it out. However, I didn't realize that marking things as 'done' moves them from the inbox to 'All Mail.' You need to keep the messages 'Pinned' to keep them in your actual inbox. I thought it would just mark them as 'read,' but that the messages would stay in the Inbox. I'm not sure if the 'Snooze' feature would accomplish what I wanted.

It took me a good 20 minutes, between the regular Gmail app and the desktop version in the Chrome browser on my phone, to restore all my important messages back to the inbox, so I can go through them at my leisure.

Most Google-branded apps are self-explanatory, and very simple to use. This is what I love and have come to expect from the Google-branded apps. There doesn't seem to be much in the line of Help with this app, Just a three-panel 'tutorial' that doesn't explain a lot.

Disabled people are going to have a hard time working this app. The check marks to do ANYTHING with a message is VERY tiny and hard to pinpoint when tapping. The stars in the normal Gmail app are easier to tap on than the check marks

Inbox by Gmail is in beta right now and is on an invite-only basis. I am NOT sure if I have any invites, but you can request your own invite by emailing inbox@google.com and downloading your respective platform's app, through Google Play Store or through iTunes.

Unless the rumors are correct and this app is being 'planned' to take over as the default gmail app on mobile devices, I don't see myself installing this app again.
WOULD RECOMMEND: Unless you have a spotless and empty Gmail inbox to begin with, I'm going to have to say no.

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