back to article Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email

Email has been around for better than 40 years – but Google thinks you just can't handle its fiendish complexity. And lo, the web king has developed an application dubbed Inbox to make an easy job easier. Google Inbox Inbox from Google, for when plain email just isn't enough "We get more email now than ever, important …

  1. Oldfogey

    Sorts messages according to the first line

    Which would be really helpful if most I get didn't start with "Hi Fred".

    Or if the link posted were not usually some afterthought joke unrelated to the main point.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sorts messages according to the first line

      So does Google also have it forward everything to the NSA to save time? Can I get a copy of that email I deleted back from the NSA via Inbox?

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Reminds me of the time long ago

      when someone complained that I never labelled the discs I sent them. Of course the discs they sent me were all labelled "disc for Francis" which was much better.

  2. heyrick Silver badge

    Bloody hell!

    36 megabytes for an "inbox"? Entire functional operating systems run to less than that.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bloody hell!

      Entirely functional operating system...without data collection.

      Don't forget modern technology! An operating system's only purpose is to learn about you so someone else can help you, not help yourself.

      1. BeachBum68

        Re: Bloody hell!

        Honestly, why don't you luddites go back to using Pine (or Elm)... maybe setup UUCP via dialup while your at it. Sheesh...

        I've just started using Inbox this morning and it's a fantastic app because of it's simplicity & ease of use.

        Also, being inundated with email was getting tedious and in short order, inbox tamed, well, my inbox.

        It's an excellent app. I have an Xperia Z so Inbox's storage/memory footprint isn't a concern.

        1. Tom 38 Silver badge

          Re: Bloody hell!

          In order to go back to using pine, I'd have had to have stopped using at some point..

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Ruli Manurung

        Re: Bloody hell!

        Mark, might I suggest you read the article again?

        1. Frankee Llonnygog

          Re: Bloody hell!

          @Ruli Manurung - why not send it to Mark as an attachment - and stand back!

        2. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: Bloody hell!

          Yep.. I just did. Teach me to read and respond late after a bit of wine. I'll go stand in the corner and write "I will not post after drinking wine" 100 times.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bloody hell!

            Blimey, if you've drunk wine a hundred times, no wonder you are having issues...

    3. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: Bloody hell!

      So, they'll be adding this function to systemd?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inbox, remind me next life.

    Read the article and watched the video, so what is new about this? It looks like a scheduler to me, but again, I'm not sure if it's any different. With the video you get to see the options for the timers, which are not very reasonable (to me at least). Remind me in a hour, tomorrow, next week? Well those are only helpful if you seem to fit into a very linear lifestyle...very.

    BTW, I assume that ~30MB of the 36MB total are only for research purposes, because that's huge for something like this, or am I thinking too 90's here?

    1. mythicalduck

      Re: Inbox, remind me next life.

      "BTW, I assume that ~30MB of the 36MB total are only for research purposes, because that's huge for something like this, or am I thinking too 90's here?"

      Well, don't forget, you'll need probably 10MB for the Flappy Bird "Easter Egg" too

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Opens the email and displays the first line...

    Isn't this what created numerous headaches for users and opportunity for miscreants in the not so distant past with a certain MS email offering?

    I guess Google ignores the axiom: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    1. Wensleydale Cheese

      Re: Opens the email and displays the first line...

      Or URL.

      Spammer's delight.

  5. borkbork

    Holy whitepace, Batman!

    It seems the more pixels we get on our devices, the harder the UI designers work to waste them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Holy whitepace, Batman!

      I think they like to call it "fresh".

    2. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      Re: Holy whitepace, Batman!

      "It seems the more pixels we get on our devices, the harder the UI designers work to waste them."

      On the other hand, a nice, usable interface might be a little more useful than a 240*135 character text screen that has a a 6 inch diagonal, assuming your device 1920*1080.

  6. Roadkill

    Invitation-only, for now...

    Once they determine how best to remove every function of GMail you hold dear and how to sort your mail in confusing and useless ways, they will promptly make this the mandatory new GMail UI.

    Every new Google UI that has come out in the past 3+ years has broken something or taken away basic functionality.

    1. Martin-73 Silver badge

      Re: Invitation-only, for now...

      Use gmail in a mail client maybe? if you make it IMAP, you can still look at your email on the web when you HAVE to

      1. Cliff

        Re: Invitation-only, for now...

        On the other hand, they're trying new things as opposed to sitting on their zillions. Buzz, Wave etc may have failed, but GMail is hugely successful and was a whole paradigm shift at the time (no folders? Searching the archive? Madness!). Their Priority Mailbox interface (optional) is just awesome, the most useful UI addition in years, makes my email about three times more efficient.

        So, let them play and try new stuff - they sometimes come up with something actually progressive, or take the gimmicks and keep the best bits.

        1. Doctor_Wibble

          Re: Invitation-only, for now...

          > but GMail is hugely successful and was a whole paradigm shift at the time (no folders? Searching the archive? Madness!)

          Seriously? The appeal of gmail was first and foremost the absurdly huge storage capacity with the lightweight UI taking second (while still significant) place.

          Things like moving all your emails into one folder (ooh that's a difficult innovation) and searching them (could we not do that already?) never got mentioned by anyone because they really didn't care.

          Other webmails had tiny mailbox capacity, this one was vast. No 'paradigm shift' bollocks required.

          1. Cliff

            Re: Invitation-only, for now...

            Yep, the big mailbox ('never delete an email again' as they said at the time) was a come-on, but part of that was to *not* get in the habit of having to delete emails from your 50MB email account in order to receive another one. That's a shift of habit. The number of times a mail might fit in 2+ folders, but can be easily labelled 2++ ways made a difference to not having to be heirarchically organised. Made no difference to you I assume, did to me and clearly many others.

            'Priority Mailbox' - again, nobody else trialled stuff like this, and they did. And it's excellent. Maybe it's a bit complex for joe punter, so this looks like a simplified version with some additional features more suited to casual users. The folder tabs for social/adverts/personal was another idea they tried - it sucks and I got rid of it (because you can get rid of things you don't like if you prefer a big bucket of email). I don't love everything they do, but at least they're trying new stuff. is not a huge leap from hotmail, which didn't evolve massively from day 1 (yep I had a 4-character ID back in the day).

            If things don't change, they don't get better. Some change is good, some is bad. Some people like to work with a copy of outlook express/similar on a 100MB POP3 box, using folders, deleting mails, being tied to a single machine, losing their mail history periodically. Personally I'm fond of trying new things and using the ones that work for me.

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              Re: Invitation-only, for now...

              Priority inbox? How does this differ from a mailer that highlights messages from people in your address book, coupled with a function that people you reply to are added automatically to your address book? Mail software has been doing that sort of thing for decades.

              One of the things that bugs me with GMail is that they have taken the basic email interface, removed half the functionality, and renamed what was left. Instead of mailboxes or folders or something, we have "labels". It's the same thing, only with a confusingly different name.

              Why, when I send a message, does my sent message not appear in the thread until some (random?) later time? That bugs me too.

        2. Fungus Bob

          Re: Invitation-only, for now...

          "GMail is hugely successful"

          GMail *was* hugely successful, then they bodged a bunch of useless crap onto it and keep making it harder to handle email in any way not all full of Googly Goodness. The only reason many people have a GMail account now is to use the Google Play Store (Maybe they'll make it a Real Store someday).

    2. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Invitation-only, for now...

      The only function of GMail I hold dear is it's ability to forward the stuff I want to my real email account

    3. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: Invitation-only, for now...

      ...they will promptly make this the mandatory new GMail UI

      They are still trying to figure out how to add a Like button to this without getting sued by FB. Still, they are getting close.

    4. Roadkill
  7. Eddy Ito

    So it's a facebook ad feed mixed with a few emails. I'll pass.

  8. Daniel Bower

    But but but

    it will email you reminders. Like a calendar then but much less useful like the rest of the offering.

  9. Kepler

    "To reminder you"???????

    "One very useful feature is the ability to quickly set up emails to reminder you about meetings, dinner dates and other stuff that's about to happen."

    "Reminder you"? Really? Is this just the result of a mischievous spell-checker, or has yet another noun been turned into an utterly unnecessary and redundant verb?

    (The reverse phenomenon is just as stupid, and just as "epic"* a "fail".)


    * In a TV commercial for Pizza Hut a year or so ago, a pizza box was described as "epic". A pizza box! Not even the pizza itself; just the friggin' box!

    Clearly the word "epic" has lost all meaning in general, popular use.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "To reminder you"???????

      If you continue on this way, you will be remindered to Guantanamo Bay.

      Clearly the word "epic" has lost all meaning in general, popular use.

      NO U!

    2. VinceH

      Re: "To reminder you"???????

      "Clearly the word "epic" has lost all meaning in general, popular use."

      It sits neatly alongside 'beautiful'.

    3. et tu, brute?

      Re: "To reminder you"???????

      Another mistake that slipped by the editor, but wouldn't have been caught by the spell checker:

      "We're spent the morning, here in San Francisco, playing around with Inbox..."

      We are spent the morning?????

      1. Midnight

        Re: "To reminder you"???????

        "We are spent the morning?????"

        People called Romanes they go the house?

    4. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

      Re: "To reminder you"???????

      Don't verb nouns. It weirds the language.

    5. Only me!

      Re: "To reminder you"???????

      Awesome post sir!

    6. Kepler

      Re: "To reminder you"???????

      My deepest gratitude to all who have replied. I only just now discovered all your comments.*

      It's nice to know I am not the only vox clamantis in deserto!

      (And to see a Monty Python reference! My thanks to Midnight for the lovely "remind"!)


      * It would be nice if El Reg were to add a comment-reply notification feature. I believe that's on the list.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Hep yep

    "which may be a boon to anyone stumped by the concept of reading and sorting messages"

    The Teen and The Boss generations will rejoice.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Google re-invent the wheel for the nth time

    They won't be happy until they've split e-mail into two and made sure that you need to use their new mail API (i.e. not IMAP) to access Inbox.

  12. TheBoyMid

    Polishing a turd?

    This sounds very similar to automatically sorting things into folders using rules and categories - which many email clients and mail servers already do. Sure, the look and feel will be slightly different and it should require a bit less user input - but I don't think that calling it 'new' is entirely justified...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Polishing a turd?

      Hey, let a turd age long enough and it becomes coprolite.

  13. Graham Marsden


    ... you mean it does what the Message Filters I already have set up in Thunderbird do which allow me to file messages into sub-folders of my inbox?

    1. Fatman

      Re: Oh...

      ... you mean it does what the Message Filters I already have set up in Thunderbird do which allow me to file messages into sub-folders of my inbox?



      You figured that one out too?

      And here I thought I was the only one who used message filter rules!!!!


  14. Zog_but_not_the_first


    "...important information is buried inside messages".

    Er, so you have to r...e...a...d it. How tiresome.

  15. Stretch


    Here they simply rip off

  16. b166er

    How about Google pushes the industry to standardise the HTML and CSS allowed (or not) in an email?

    Then EVERYONE sending an email can make sure it's formatted to convey the message on whatever device displays it.

    If email really still is relevant (and I think it is), then why the fuck this hasn't been done long ago, I just can't fathom.

    Browsers are now, by and large, accurate and consistent, why not the same for email renderers?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Because OUTLOOK

      1. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Because OUTLOOK

        Fun though that idea is, you really don't want auto rendering of HTML in email, even though most clients will do it. MS reused explorer in Skype and forgot to disable JS. Oops.

        Text (especially ascii) is easier, safer and more efficient to store index and search. Procmail with HTML? No thanks.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Because OUTLOOK

          "Text (especially ascii) is easier, safer and more efficient to store index and search. Procmail with HTML? No thanks."

          But what if the thing you need to convey is beyond words, like a picture (a thousand words, etc.)? Or if it needs to be in a specific format, like a table? At least an HTML table can accommodate for flow for, example, in a narrow display. I've yet to see a text-only table (which has to be hard-formatted) that can reflow itself easily and arbitrarily. HTML by itself isn't the problem, it's the interactive elements added to later versions. If e-mail were forced to not accept HTML tags from versions higher than, say, 2.0 (or basically the highest version without an interactive element), then all you have to do is warn against the basic hyperlinks that are left.

          As for the whole concept, I happen to know people who get lost with this technology (their idea of high-tech is a typewriter) yet still want to learn how to use these new devices. catering to the technologically-illiterate at least is not all bad, unless you're the type who think the wired world is a Wild West where only the bold should enter, and if you're not up to it just die somewhere...

    2. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Er, the industry don't need pushing, we've already standardized:

      It's not an "official" standard, just what works in what clients, and is plenty sufficient to develop HTML emails. The problem comes when someone tests their emails in web browsers and get surprised when things like <style> tags don't work; check the chart before you start designing.

    3. Pookietoo

      re: standardise the HTML and CSS allowed in an email

      Simple solution: don't put any HTML in email - it's a letter, not a colour brochure. If you want to send me something else then you can attach other media to the letter, which I can view on a PC or tablet, but don't make it hard to quickly view the message on a low-spec phone.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: re: standardise the HTML and CSS allowed in an email

        Except attachments are a bug-a-boo now, thanks to malware e-mails, some of which HAVE been able to disguise themselves as innocuous files. No, I want them up-front in a sanitized environment (which attachments can't provide), thank you.

  17. KroSha

    I already have Purchases, Updates and Forums tabs on my iOS Gmail app. Other than re-jigging the display of Starred emails, does this actually serve a purpose? Thought not.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    « If this all sounds familiar, then Inbox is for you. »

    Excellent! Because none of that sounds familiar to me. :-)

  19. Anonymoist Cowyard

    Liking it so far

    my invite arrived this morning, and there is alot to like so far. It just offers an easy way to maintain a clean inbox. That's enough for me to like it.

  20. David 164

    I bet the real purpose of this apps is to allow google to experiment with new or enhance features which will eventually be rolled into Gmail.

  21. theOtherJT

    So... a mail client.

    Pretty sure I already have one of those.

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