TL;DR: Inbox is beautiful but it doesn’t quite fit into my lifestyle and encourages my bad habits.
I am moving back to regular GMail.
Yes, four months after being on Inbox by Google, I am moving back to Gmail. It’s been a very interesting experiment, and I stuck on it longer than I thought I would have otherwise, but Inbox just doesn’t fit into the way I work.
Inbox by Google is basically Google’s attempt to rethink email. It categorises your email into different “bundles,” that fit different purposes. You can create your own or rely on the default ones; I relied on the default ones and found them wonderful on the phone for pulling out my flight and accommodation details.
Additionally, you can also “swipe” them away to ignore them or to deal with them later. This makes it easy to decide when to deal with the email and so you can focus on what’s important, as this video shows:
Which isn’t so bad, except it leads me to the reason why I am giving up on Inbox.
Inbox is meant for those who ARCHIVE emails, not for those who delete them.
Let me explain.
My style of email is that if it’s something interesting or something I want to look at later, I simply leave it as mark as unread. Otherwise, I’ll read it, and THEN mark it as unread to come back to it later. Once I’m done, I either leave it as read in the Inbox or delete it.
In Inbox, I tended to leave such emails as unread, filed as conveniently as they were under different bundles. This lead to an exploding inbox and one that did not encourage me to clear my emails. Rather, it encouraged me to procrastinate. A lot.
And this is coming from someone who was very good with reaching Inbox Zero. Ironically, Inbox by Google encouraged me to let such emails accumulate, rather than dealing with them immediately when I did visit the page. This stayed, regardless of whether I was using mobile or PC.
After 4 months, it was time for me to say goodbye. I love Inbox, but it’s not something I can use on the PC.
Here’s the thing though. I hate the normal GMail app on mobile. It’s confusing and hard to take information in at a glance. On mobile, however, Inbox shines. Beautifully and functionally. It brings up the stuff I need at a glance, and in an easy way.
So on PC, which is where I spend about 65% of my waking time, I will stick to using regular old Gmail. On mobile, Inbox has its place. And that is pretty much how I like it.