Google Inbox

Email service from Google
Startup Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
Productivity
Country:
United States
Started:
2014
BUSINESS FAILURE
Outcome:
Shut Down
Cause:
Multiple Reasons
Closed:
2019
FOUNDERS & EMPLOYEES
Number of Founders:
1
Name of Founders:
Google
Number of Employees:
+10,000
FUNDING
Number of Funding Rounds:
0
Total Funding Amount:
-
Number of Investors:
0

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Why was Google Inbox discontinued?

To the surprise of all Google Inbox users, Google decided to shut down the application in March 2019, generating a lot of discussions and anger on the decision.

Google Inbox Origins

Back in 2014, Google did something unexpected: they launched a new email app called Inbox.

It was basically a Gmail alternative, that worked with the user’s existing Gmail address. However, it was designed around a completely different philosophy about what email is and how to manage it.

Google Inbox UX

Google Inbox Features

  • Reminders: It was a fast way to create small notes and mail frequently contacted people. It also worked along with a feature called “Assist” which brought some Siri functionalities into the user’s to-do list. For example, if the user turned an email into a reminder to “Book this hotel”, Assist would find the phone number of the hotel and add it to the user’s reminder.
  • Pinning: It allowed the user to stick a reminder or an email at the top of the inbox, for easier access and reference.
  • Bundles: It grouped related emails (like bank statements, for example) together. This allowed the user to dismiss the whole group or sort through it and just keep what it wanted. Many users particularly liked this feature for traveling, as it grouped all the tickets and information related to the trip.
  • UX: It looked simple and it was designed with a focus on the mobile experience. Gmail, instead, contained many more add-on icons and widgets, that made the interface confusing for many.

It’s not a surprise that many people loved the app. A Hacker News user mentioned: “Inbox changed my relationship with email and it is unbelievably frustrating to hear it is being shuttered. I was a better digital person because of the app: I never forgot to reply, I kept years of ideas and small notes in reminders, and I could quickly triage and clear all incoming mail.”

Why Was It Discontinued?

The app was discontinued at the end of March 2019.

Google Inbox Discontinued

In April of the previous year, Google had launched a re-designed Gmail, with many new features. According to Google product manager Matthew Izatt, the company was looking for a “more focused approach” to email, which probably led them to focusing on Gmail rather than Inbox.

What most journalists claim is that the Inbox app became unnecessary, up to Google’s decision-makers’ view, and they decided to stick to Gmail.

Google Inbox Alternatives

Spark, Spike and Newton were three of the apps many Google Inbox fans decided to move to. Many others, probably reluctantly, moved on to Gmail, where they probably missed for a long time Google Inbox special features.

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