Inbox has been growing consistently more feature-rich with a mix of new features designed just for its efficient interface and old features that are slowly integrated from its forefather Gmail. There aren't any obvious signs of new features to play with in this version, but there is something for the teardown archives. With the release of v1.27, evidence shows another classic feature will soon make the jump from Gmail to Inbox: the vacation responder.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that plans could change or may be canceled entirely. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.

The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.

Vacation Responder

If you've never used a vacation responder, and can't decipher the self-explanatory name, it's a fairly famous–or rather infamous–feature of almost every major email client or service for the last couple decades. The basic idea is simple: before you go on vacation and leave your email to go unanswered for several days or weeks straight, you leave a message that will be sent back to everybody that emails you. Well, that feature is coming to Inbox.

<string name="preferences_vacation_responder_title">Vacation responder</string>
<string name="bt_preferences_vacation_responder_settings_key">vacationResponderSettingsKey</string>
<Preference android:title="@string/preferences_vacation_responder_title" android:key="@string/bt_preferences_vacation_responder_settings_key" />

If you've used Gmail's vacation responder, there's nothing much to say here, this appears to be exactly the same. The strings and layouts match up very nearly perfectly. Given that it has taken so long for this feature to make the jump, it's a little disappointing that it doesn't have some of Inbox's signature additions. On the other hand, maybe the reason it hasn't already launched is that there's still more to come.

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Screenshot from gmail's vacation responder.

To cover the basics, users can switch on the vacation responder and set start and end dates. During those dates, incoming emails will automatically get back a response with the subject line and message. If you'd rather not give away details of your hiatus to a random stranger that happens to email at the right time, you can hit a button to restrict responses to just those people in your contact list. If you work at a company, there will be a checkbox to limit responses to people emailing from within the same company.

strings

<string name="vacation_responder_body_hint_text">Message</string>
<string name="send_to_contacts_text">Send only to my Contacts</string>
<string name="send_to_domain_text">Send only to %1$s</string>

<string name="pick_start_date_title">First day</string>
<string name="pick_end_date_title">Last day</string>
<string name="date_not_set">Not set</string>
<string name="custom_date">Custom</string>
<string name="date_none">None</string>

<string name="discard_changes">Discard changes?</string>
<string name="vacation_responder_changes_saved">Vacation responder changes saved</string>
<string name="vacation_responder_changes_discarded">Vacation responder changes discarded</string>
<string name="vacation_responder_off">Off</string>
<string name="vacation_responder_on">On, from %1$s</string>
<string name="vacation_responder_on_with_end_date">On, from %1$s to %2$s</string>
<string name="vacation_responder_empty_subject_and_body_warning">Add a subject or message</string>

<activity android:exported="false" android:label="@string/preferences_vacation_responder_title" android:name="com.google.android.apps.bigtop.vacationresponder.BigTopVacationResponderActivity" android:theme="@style/VacationResponderTheme" android:windowSoftInputMode="stateHidden"/>

<integer name="vacation_responder_subject_length">500</integer>
<integer name="vacation_responder_body_length">1024000</integer>

Other resources:

/menu/vacation_responder_menu.xml
/layout/unified_vacation_responder_body.xml
/layout/vacation_responder_custom_action_bar.xml
/layout/vacation_responder.xml

The resources and code are here to run the vacation responder, but it's not active yet. Google could turn it on at any time from here on out, but it may also be held back for some time. I'd still like to think it hasn't been launched yet because the developers are still planning to add some clever intelligence to this feature, but that's probably just wishful thinking.

All told, while it's good to aim for feature parity, this may be one of the few features that's probably not high priority since users could just as easily pop open Gmail to get the job done. Either way, an auto-responder is a very useful tool, so it's good to see Inbox catching up.

Download

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

Version: 1.27

Inbox by Gmail
Inbox by Gmail
Developer: Google Inc.
Price: Free