Google is Killing Inbox

Posted on September 12, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud with 26 Comments

In a disappointing move, Google announced today that it will kill Inbox, the simpler interface for Gmail, at the end of March 2019.

“Four years after launching Inbox, we’ve learned a lot about how to make email better, and we’ve taken popular Inbox experiences and added them into Gmail to help more than a billion people get more done with their emails everyday,” Google product manager Matthew Izatt writes. “As we look to the future, we want to take a more focused approach that will help us bring the best email experience to everyone. As a result, we’re planning to focus solely on Gmail and say goodbye to Inbox.”

Ah boy.

As you may know, I use and recommend Google Inbox on both mobile and the web, and I find it to be exactly the right user experience, and one that nicely balances functionality with simplicity. Gmail, by comparison, is very busy, even the new version. Not Microsoft Outlook busy. But in that ballpark.

So this is disappointing. I’ll take a look at Google’s transition guide. And I have six months to mull this over. But. Not good.

 

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Comments (26)

26 responses to “Google is Killing Inbox”

  1. dcdevito

    I am bummed, Inbox is so great.

  2. jcalamita

    Scroogled again!!!!

  3. truerock2

    I have tried a number of different email products that attempt to pre-sort my email into some order other than date-time-order.


    None of them helped me. They made reading my email more complex and time consumming.


    I use Microsoft Outlook. I will occasionally sort and or search through my various email folders and/or email accounts on the odd occasion it is helpful in researching the history of various email threads. There is no way Google, Microsoft or anyone else could provide that functionality in an automated way. It requires my intelligence and understanding of my communications to do that organizing - it cannot be automated.


    The very worst aspect of all of these attempts to automatically organize my email is that it had caused me to miss some critically important emails.


    Perhaps if I had a very simple life with very simple email usage... only then would it be possible to automate the process. But, the danger of missing a critically important email could be too devastating.


    Even now, with my simple, straightforward use of Outlook I must scan my junk-email folders carefuly because once or twice per year a very important email is automatically sent to the junk email folder. Earlier this year I almost missed my uncle's funeral because the email my cousin sent out went to the junk folder (because there were 56 email addresses on the sent field and the subject field was "Important"?).



  4. Rob_Wade

    I continue to use and enjoy Microsoft Mail. I used Outlook pretty much from the start, and I have to use it at work. I pretty much dislike most aspects of Outlook. I hate Google far more, but the point is that I can't think of much at all that I need for managing email that I can't do in Mail.

  5. igor engelen

    Lucky me I never started using it. I'm actually waiting for the Spark beta to appear on Android. Liked it on iOS so I hope they manage to bring all the good stuff to my new platform.

  6. Davor Radman

    I tried using it at least 10 times, but was always put off by how (for me) it was much harder later on to get to the info and attachments that I need.

  7. Vladimir Carli

    I stopped using any google software when they killed google reader a few years ago. Google is evil and the world would be a better place without it. Never trust them

    V.

  8. waethorn

    Anybody who thought this was anything more but a gestation project needs to have their head examined. It was inevitable for it to end. If you didn't see it coming, you haven't been paying attention.

  9. Pierre Masse

    "Good" actually. You cannot complain about overlapsed product from Microsoft and then complain about a focusing move by Google.

  10. Daekar

    Why are people obsessed with email clients with as few functions as possible? I tried Inbox, and all I really felt was different was that Google wanted to sort my mail for me. I can do that myself when I zero my mailbox each day. If I get a bit annoyed with it, I unsub from some of the spam that I purposely allow through (like Newegg). Seriously, email is not hard for normal volumes of mail.

  11. wbhite

    Strange, I always thought Inbox was too "busy" (e.g. Outlook-ish) for my tastes. Maybe I didn't spend enough time with it.

  12. wolters

    This goes all the way back to my days of Microsoft taking a great thing and killing it, even if they had to in some cases: Zune, Windows Phone, Hubs and Family Rooms, Bing Food and Drink, Windows Media Center, Microsoft Band, Kinect, the list goes on...


    I see the same pattern in many Google Services.

  13. Polycrastinator

    I've had an Outlook.com address for years I've never used. Honestly wondering if the answer for me is to transition to that. Every time I look back at Gmail I don't want to touch it. This is really frustrating.

  14. fishnet37222

    I tried Inbox but went back to the regular Gmail because Inbox was missing a lot of features I used in Gmail. I even disabled the new Gmail interface because it was missing features I use, such as Labs.

  15. Sykeward

    You and Brad both have been having a rough time lately when it comes to email clients. Unsurprising that it's Google killing off another popular product this time, which is one of the most frustrating thing about using their services. I've had the rug pulled out from under me so many times when I've come to rely on a G product and then it suddenly vanishes.

    • Bill Russell

      In reply to Sykeward:

      I don't know - personally this is the only one I can remember that I liked and gets pulled. I mean, after all these years they still have Google+, and that continues to exist solely as the whipping boy of tech journalists. Are you still recovering from the Allo discontinuance? I doubt it. The only reason people aren't getting more rugs pulled out with MS products is everyone knows just not to get involved and no one notices.

      • Sykeward

        In reply to Bill_Russell:

        "Are you still recovering from the Allo discontinuance?"


        I'm thinking more along the lines of Picasa, Google Reader, Exchange ActiveSync support in Google Calendar Sync, etc. All of these products neatly filled a functionality void for me but then left me in a lurch after they were discontinued, precisely because nobody else offered solutions to those specific needs. I was a little more shy on Google by the time a lot of their messaging apps were coming out, and given the mess they collectively are now, I'm glad I didn't get invested in them.

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to Bill_Russell:

        I think the only reason why Google+ still exists is because it's easier to let it just sit there and rot than it would be to rip it out of everything it got it's claws into when it was Google's hot new central identity mechanism.

  16. Stooks

    Personally I hated it. Then again I do not like Gmail to be honest. Replies at the bottom and the lack of a folders vs their tags has always turned me off. Conversation mode is not my thing either.


    The worst part is you simply can't rely on any Google product being around for long. Their reader was loved, so was Picasso. Their messaging app strategy is a train wreck of abandoned products. Their music/video offerings are another massive train wreck. Google Play music, youtube music, youtube red, youtube....youtube TV, Google Play video..Google Play books.


    Google Chrome, Youtube (for videos online), search and maps are great products. Everything else they do is just so "Meh" and temporary.

    • Davor Radman

      In reply to Stooks:


      There are folders now, and they are way more usable then for example in outlook web.

    • Bill Russell

      In reply to Stooks:

      So you point out instances of experimentation with youtube music (surely a complicated licensing situation with the involvement of youtube and the record labels, etc) and claim the entire google play brand and most of google is a train wreck is a bit of a stretch. They are all great services.


      Might as well say Microsoft Azure is a train wreck because it was rebranded from Windows Azure or something (I won't even get started on the actual multitude of MS rebrandings and failures that far dwarf google's).


      I have subscribed to Play music for probably 5 years and nothing has really changed, just gotten better. The youtube related changes stem from the problems of success, not from failures of half hearted attempts such as Allo.


      They are now going all in on Messages and RCS, which is google driving the upgrade of the entire SMS system worldwide and looks like about everyone is behind it, for what its worth.

      Messages has a web interface now and I've rediscovered Hangouts to communicate with those who don't have sim cards yet, like kids given hand-me-down smartphones (instead of ipod touches like years ago) and if you don't have wifi calling available.


      All you need is a gmail which almost everyone has and avoids the need for Facebook messenger or something for those who stay completely isolated from facebook. I also recommend FamilyLink on such kids smartphones, so far its great.


      Amongst the "train wreck" I am seeing an amazing assortment and choice of useful services.

    • furrypotato

      In reply to Stooks:

      I have loved using Inbox, but totally agree about google products. I don't trust anything they produce any more as the probability is that it will only last a few years.

      I think there's a culture problem stemming from the old Google they encouraged innovation and the more recent one that likes to have a few, boring, stable products.


      • Stooks

        In reply to furrypotato:

        Let's face it. Google makes free products to gather information to feed its real business, "targeted ads".


        If a free app, like Inbox, is not pulling in the data based on the effort behind it, it is discontinued. Inbox was probably only used by a small set of Gmail users so it probably cost too much (data collected via the software vs cost to maintain it).

  17. jbuccola

    Google has now topped Microsoft for the enmity it shows its users.

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