Today, Google officially announced Gmail Blue Inbox, a service we posted about just last night. Previously codenamed Bigtop, Inbox by Gmail is a full reimagining of how an email product should work, and how users should interact with their email.
It is really rare for a product to come out that actually reimagines something rather than just claiming it does, but Inbox is really a fresh take on... the inbox.
Google has just launched a new email system, but you can only get on in by requesting an invitation or being sent one from a friend. No, it's not 2004, it's Google's new Inbox system, an alternative to Gmail and a new way to look at electronic messaging in general. We've highlighted the new system before its official release, but now you can get it for yourself... if you're lucky enough to get through the invitation system.
Reaching "Inbox zero" is not an easy task. Especially when there are those emails that might require future action, or those that hang in a nebulous state of still being useful despite the conversation having ended. It's also not very easy to parse out exactly what you need to get done after poring over a page of emails. To address both of these issues (and a few others), Google has been working on a project called Bigtop.
Early this morning, we took a quick look at the onboarding video/process for Google's impending update to Gmail 5.0. The critical feature shown off in the video was the ability to handle all your email providers in one app, meaning users could access Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and others all from Google's singular Gmail app.
We've since learned that - besides handling the providers above - Gmail will support Exchange mail, and it appears Gmail will obviate the stock Email app entirely, prompting users to go directly to the Gmail app instead of dealing with a separate solution.
Google's been updating apps left and right recently to fall in line with its new material design philosophy, and the results have been impressive. There are a few apps it appears Google's saving for the final Lollipop release though - Gmail 5.0 among them.
While we won't be distributing the updated Gmail app until the official update is released, we will be sharing a goody from the new onboarding process, which shows some of the new awesomeness coming to the app in its overhaul.
Google does a lot of things right, and Gmail is generally one of them. Sometimes, however, you just need a little more from your email experience, and Boxer wants to provide that. It takes the basic Gmail app's functionality – like swipe to delete/archive – and builds on that, bringing even more usefulness to this kind of gesture.
Android Police would like to remind you that email cannot speak. In the event that it does speak, Android Police urges you to disregard its advice.
Emoji are a staple in conversations for many, many people. They offer a colorful, language-agnostic way to convey thoughts and intent that can’t always come across in a wall of text. Instant messaging is the most common home to these little pictograms, but it's not unheard of for them to appear elsewhere, particularly within contact names. Unfortunately, when Emoji are used to decorate contacts in Gmail, it can interfere with the syncing service and prevent those contacts from crossing between devices.
Google is continuing to shine a brighter light on Hangouts users who are currently online. A few months ago the company brought back the green dot that used to mark online contacts in the days of Google Talk (which was replaced with a subtle green line in Hangouts). Going forward, the messenger in the web version of Gmail will contain a new tab that puts online contacts at the top. It's still possible to message friends who are offline, they're just tucked at the bottom where they're out of the way.
It may seem to many of us that there are an endless number of email addresses available out there, but if your name contains characters that don't fit somewhere between A-Z, that illusion is shattered pretty quickly.
Update Wednesday is in full swing today with Chromecast, Google Camera, and now Gmail. It's not the Material Design update you were hoping for, but Gmail v4.9 adds at least one new feature in the form of Google Drive integration.