While the very notion of a lightweight email search tool may seem quaint in this mobile/cloud era, Microsoft may be on to something here. Its new Email Insights app for Windows 10 promises faster, more relevant email searches than what’s possible today in Microsoft Outlook or Gmail.
“Searching through emails can be tedious at times,” the Email Insights website notes. “You might have to keep scrolling to find that elusive email. We present a lightweight no-frills email application to alleviate these problems.”
Now, those who use Gmail in particular, or any web client, really, are probably wondering what the point is here. I am, certainly. But the bigger issue here, I think, is that this tool is separate from the email application you’re using. That is, yes, it works with both Outlook 2016 and Gmail. But it’s a separate app. That you download from the Windows Store.
So I tested it. And sure enough, it works as advertised, and seems to work quickly. Email appears inline in the search results, and you can expand each message individually to read more.
My guess here—as I’ve only tested this with Gmail—is that Email Insights would be a big deal for Outlook users, since that application is so terrible. Further, this would be a much bigger deal if Microsoft simply integrated this technology into Outlook 2016. And its other email solutions, especially in the cloud.
According to Microsoft, the impetus for Email Insights was simple enough: Email search sucks. (Remember that these are Microsoft guys, so they were/are probably using Outlook. Email search in Gmail is excellent.)
“The email search experience today lags far behind the web search experience,” the firm notes. “A user might search for an email with some keywords and keep scrolling down the search results to find that elusive email. A user has to remember the keywords from an email or the spelling of peoples’ names to get to the required email. Moreover, having a complex application with hundreds of features is an overkill for doing some quick tasks like send one liner emails.”
If regularly plumbing email for specific content is an issue for you, Email Insights is worth checking out. But I can’t help but think that this solution should simply be part of Microsoft’s email services and applications.