Google Inbox doesn’t make email less of a monster

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar
Gmail Inbox

inbox-mobile-androidToday I was reminded of Inbox by this Reddit AMA. Inbox is an app I should find time to learn and start using; something I’ve meant to do for about a month now. It’s Google’s latest cure for one of the internet’s biggest pain – email. I don’t think I will be using Inbox any time soon. I think, my reasons are these:

A negative first

Gmail InboxMy first experience with Inbox was actually quite negative. After getting the invite and installing the app, it just wouldn’t work. For a number of days all I got was “Something went wrong. Try again later”.

Eventually i got in, but having suffered for it so long, I needed it to be worth it. But it was…


an underwhelming first impression

Inbox just didn’t strike me as the “at last” solution to mailbox clutter that it was hyped to be. I’m guessing in a bid to not be too different and therefore scare users away, they tried to maintain some of the look that makes email what it is. The number of unread items. The classification of email under categories in such a way that says, “please read this because there might be something important in there”.

And I’m not saying that an email application shouldn’t show the amount of unread items. I don’t know what a better email would look like. Inbox just didn’t look that much different from the frustration of the current email.


Email demands that i read it, that’s why its so painful

oatmeal-email-brokenI think by far the biggest problem with the current email the way it is is what the OatMeal states as: Brevity in text message is totally acceptable, but email demands brevity.

Inbox doesn’t solve this inherent problem with email. It’s still email. It’s quicker to get to the compose box yes, but nothing stops anyone from creating a very verbose 500 word time waster.

If I’m recipient of that email, in Inbox I still have to read it at least as courtesy to you, because I don’t want to ignore your thoughts. if I respond with a short. “thanks”, or “got it” then I risk you thinking I’m not taking this seriously enough, so it invites more pointless verbosity.

My primary email is Gmail but not

I imagine like a lot of people, the Gmail account that most to them is not the It’s usually either a Google Apps mailbox (limbikani@techzim in my case), or you just don’t care about email because WhatsApp, Facebook, and maybe Google+ is filling social communication need.

Right now, Inbox is not available for non accounts. Unsurprisingly, that was the most popular question in yesterday’s AMA. Google’s answer:

Supporting these accounts comes with other demands and we’re working hard on addressing them so we can get Inbox to Google Apps users.

I’d hold by breadth but I’m still smarting from the painful realisation that there’s still no official Google Drive client for Linux, years after launch of the Windows version.

Option to still use Gmail

I have an option to actually not learn this by just going the easy route to getting my work done! Choice is not always a good thing. If Inbox it comes to Google Apps, and when they remove the option to use regular Gmail, I’ll probably learn the good stuff it brings to email.


  1. tinm@n

    Email demands that i read it, that’s why its so painful <- This here is not an Inbox problem.

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      No, it’s not Inbox’s problem tinm@n, but it’s top on my list of the biggest problems I have with email; Lots of verbose email that I have to read. Of all that email, only a small percent actually has value. But even that value could have been said in far fewer words!

      1. tinm@n

        My point is that it’s not email that’s the problem but you who finds the nuences of communication annoying

    2. Dofo

      Agree with tinman, I think you are using it wrong or you are expecting too much from it.
      Its like saying ms word doesnt make a typist’s job any easier because they still have to type in stuff.

      1. L.S.M Kabweza

        Using it wrong then I guess. Wouldn’t it be great for MS Word to type for the typist?

        1. Roy

          then why hire a typist when you can always get an app that can do all the typing for you.

  2. admire

    the app is in beta most of the stated negatives will be adressed by the time it comes out of beta.

    1. L.S.M Kabweza

      True, it’s in beta. These are just the reasons I don’t use it yet. But then again, Gmail was in beta for 5 years.
      Do you use Inbox @admire? Would love your opinion on it so far.

      1. Farai

        Did it not remove your old GMail app? Mine disappeared after I installed it.

      2. ic0n1c

        I tried to use the Inbox app, but since I already have several other email accounts on my phone I found it unnecessary to use two apps. But for those who use it I hope it leaves up to expectation.

  3. Arthur Tira

    I got an invite for this Inbox app from Google and i must say at first i was so excited becoz it thought it was gonna make my emailing very organised. I guess i was wrong. I actually uninstalled the app and went back to the Gmail app cz for it works better. Inbox does make any of your emailing life organised to say the least.

  4. Arthur Tira

    * Inbox doesn’t make any of your emailing life organised. At least for me it failed. *

  5. Roy

    Inbox is just a refreshed look at Gmail. For me I like things that keep changing, seeing the same old interface gets boring eventually and my engagement goes down. Inbox just changed that, for some reason I am now more comfortable checking my emails, even reading the clutter of newsletters that spam my inbox (yes that includes the TechZim inbox 🙂
    Overall I think Google is doing a great job with their ever evolving products.