Google invites selected Gmail users to trial its ‘Inbox’ app designed to ‘reinvent’ the entire email experience
Google is offering a number of Gmail users the chance to try out its new ‘Inbox’ email application, which promises a more interactive email experience by adding more real world information to traditional email and incorporating elements of Google Now.
“Email started simply as a way to send digital notes around the office,” wrote Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps in a blog post. “But fast-forward 30 years and with just the phone in your pocket, you can use email to contact virtually anyone in the world.”
Pichai pointed out that this accessibility means that often nowadays users can be overwhelmed with too many emails, and often important information can be buried and important tasks overlooked. Inbox has been designed to remedy this, as it aims to automatically help users better organise their lives.
Indeed, users can teach Inbox to adapt to the way they work, and certain elements of Inbox mimic the intelligence personal assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Now, or Apple’s Siri. For example, emails regarding purchase receipts or bank statements are grouped together, so the user can quickly review them and swipe them away.
It also highlights the “key information from important messages, such as flight itineraries, event information, and photos and documents emailed to you by friends and family”. Inbox also apparently will display useful information from the web, that wasn’t included in the original email, such as such as the real-time status of a flight or package delivery.
Users can add their own reminders, from picking up a gift, calling parents, or even walking the dog. Google has also added what it is calling “assists”.
Assists are essentially provided information that is needed to complete a task or job. For example, if an Inbox user creates a reminder to call a dry cleaning shop, Inbox will also provide the shop telephone number and inform the user when it is open.
Another example of an “assist” is if the user makes a restaurant reservation online. Inbox will then add a map to the confirmation email. Alternative, book a flight online, and Inbox gives a link to the online check-in.
Emails can be “snoozed”, a feature that is often found on alarm clocks for example. This allows the users to deal with emails or reminders at more convenient time or indeed location. The user can specific a time for the emails or reminders to come back. And the user can even tell the Inbox for the messages and reminders to come back when they reach a specific location, such as the office.
Google has invited a selected number of Gmail users to try out Inbox, but if you are not one of the lucky few, don’t fret, as users can email email@example.com to get an invitation as soon as more become available.
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