Thursday, May 19, 2022

Why did Google kill the Inbox app? Which was a game-changer

Why Did Google Kill The Inbox App? Which Was A Game-Changer
Why Did Google Kill The Inbox App? Which Was A Game-Changer

Google Inbox app when working was a new way to manage email, and it was used as a productivity tool, however, four years after it launched it was discontinued by Google.

Inbox app by Gmail was announced on a limited invitation-only basis on October 22, 2014. This was available on the web and through the Android and iOS mobile operating systems. Inbox was officially released to the public on May 28, 2015. Inbox by Gmail managed to receive generally positive reviews. Inbox was called “minimalist and lovely, full of layers and easy to navigate” at its launch.

Google Inbox was launched in 2014 as a new way to manage emails, however, sadly, just four years later, Google had abandoned the application. It instead devoted its time to improving Gmail. While Google incorporated some of Inbox’s features as updates for Gmail, many popular features are in the grave with Inbox. So, what moved Google to choose Gmail over Inbox?

Inbox had offered a fresh way to use the email inbox as a productivity tool. It took content from emails, then gave users a compressed version of the vital information, in some cases, this was done without even having to open the email at all. For example, in emails of online order confirmations, Inbox would usually provide a photo of the item that was purchased. Then it would let the users know if the item had shipped without them even requiring to open the email. It used to group emails, both from the same newsletters and content. Inbox used to automatically create different bundles that served as different categories into which emails were sorted, for example, social and trips.

It would group emails regarding a specific event automatically, then connected directly with Google Calendar. Inbox also allowed users to save links or other information that they emailed themselves in a separate category. It even created a way for users to snooze emails as well as to create reminders at the top of their inboxes.

Gmail, though it’s a great email platform, it is very traditional in many of the ways the setup, as well as the inbox itself, works. Inbox was a completely different experience for email management. While organization in Gmail involves creating new pages for new categories, Inbox allowed all the categories to be seen from one page in collapsible sections. Additionally, much of Gmail’s organization has to be programmed manually, while Inbox is used to organize the emails automatically. Google had noticed in March 2016 that 10% of all replies on mobile had originated from Inbox’s Smart Reply feature.

In April 2018, Google released a complete redesign of Gmail, this new design incorporated nearly all of the key features of Inbox: snoozing, connected tasks lists (albeit in a sidebar), among many more.

Whilst, when Inbox was abandoned, the company did try to move over some of the best features onto Gmail. Few of these features, including nudging, snoozing emails, as well as smart replies, have been successfully adapted into Gmail’s Smart Compose functionality.

Why Was the Inbox app Shutdown?

Google’s thinking might’ve been that: 

  • Having one email system is better than running two. 
  • More people are using Gmail than they are using Inbox. 
  • Gmail is close enough now to Inbox in interface as well as features.

The reason isn’t totally clear as to why Google got rid of Inbox, as it was largely popular by those who opted to use it. When Inbox was first introduced, many thought it would eventually replace Gmail, however, Gmail has long been one of the most popular email platforms. Many users did not switch over to Inbox during its release. Gmail managed to retain a much larger user-based, ultimately, Google opted to focus on Gmail, as it was efficient, rather than maintaining two different email platforms.

Inbox managed to provide a good way for Google to test out different email features, it also made more users make their way to Gmail. Indeed, it may be that Inbox itself was intended to just be a testing ground for Google rather than the new default, though the possibility of that seems unlikely. Having said that, Gmail is more customizable, it also does have different strengths to Inbox.

From the perspective of many users, Inbox was the better and more innovative email platform.  Perhaps it was ultimately too innovative for most of Gmail’s user base. Though Gmail lacks the creativity of Inbox, it still serves as a very popular as well as a well-used email service. It is also more innovative than many of the competitors.

Why killing Inbox was a mistake?

If Google had the ability to measure the passion of users, it would have almost certainly realized that far more passionate users were using Inbox. This is not to say that passionate Google users don’t use Gmail, they do. Many power users love using Gmail because it provides more user control.

Still, many of the users stuck to Gmail because they didn’t care that much. They’re used to it and didn’t feel the need of changing anything.

Inbox app users-base was made up of users who were looking for the newest thing, the users who had the ability to quickly adapt to a new way of doing things. The users were those who jumped on all of Google’s newly launched innovations because they trust Google.

The most simple and basic summary that could be provided is that Google had Gmail and everybody was happy. Then Google created a more innovative alternative, the company’s most active and engaged users loved the alternative. 

Well, the shutting down of Inbox follows the long-established trend of the company killing some of its most hyped products. By mismanaging Google+, killing Reader, and then eventually killing Inbox on April 2nd, 2019, Google has been making passionate users less passionate. 

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