Google introduces 'Inbox': a new and contextual way to look at your email

Google has introduced the new Google Inbox platform: built on your existing Gmail account, Inbox contextually analyzes the emails you receive (whether it's a receipt, a coupon, a flight manifest, or an invite to a friend's party) and groups it together. The more important emails are given much higher visibility, and things like newsletters are given less prominence. That is of course based on your own usage: if Google Inbox notices that you typically do read those newsletters, then they will be given more prominence and so on.

Google Inbox itself is separate from Gmail. While in the future they might be merged, as it stands Gmail only screens for spam. If you've opted for the newer Gmail inbox introduced last year, then it would be sorting your email into Primary, Social and Promotional columns, but that's it: there is no machine learning to check on the individual users' habits and "smart" sort the different types of mail-- Google Inbox will be filling this void.

There are three key elements to Inbox:

  • The first is called Bundles, which expands on the categories introduced in Gmail mentioned above. All of a certain type of email will be grouped together, so if you want to look at your purchase receipts or bank statements, you can see them all instantly.
  • The second element is called Highlights, where more important emails are brought to your attention. This includes things like parties, flight data or appointments-- Inbox goes one step further and tries to pull information from the web which wasn't included in the original email-- this could be real time status of a flight, or the status of a package delivery. 
  • The last element is grouped as Reminders, Assists, and Snooze which combines your calendar and email into one group. It allows you to set reminders for anything, including day-to-day events. If you make a reminder to go to the hardware store, Assist will come in and provide details like a phone number and map to the store. Snooze continues off the other two, where you can 'snooze' away a reminder-- very similar to how you press snooze on an alarm. 

Although this may scare some people as being intrusive, for those of us who already have sold or don't mind selling our soul to Google then it's a pretty great way of keeping track of everything. Contextual devices and apps are becoming more and more prominent, and things like this are a natural evolution of how we organize our day-to-day living. 

At the moment, Inbox is in beta and is invite only. If you'd like to request an invite, send an email to inbox@google.com. The Inbox website can be accessed here.

Check out the Google Inbox video below:

Source: Gmail Blog

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