Google's Inbox is Going Away

- 2 mins

S o Google’s Inbox is going away. As usual, I went to Inbox to browse my emails this morning, shockingly saw a popup saying that Google will no longer support Inbox by the end of March 2019, and they encourage Inbox users to use Gmail instead. Although Google claims Gmail already has most Inbox features implemented and people adopted them very well, I still think Inbox is way more personal than Gmail when using on a daily basis.

Almost exactly four years ago, Google launched Inbox, a new way of emailing. Inbox was made by Gmail Team, from what I could tell, Inbox is more on a casual side and relatively Gmail is more business-ish. The goal of Inbox is offering a clean UI and a fresh UX that allows users to get rid of cluttered emails and keep inbox empty. Along with that, Google also introduced Bundle to the Inbox, which bundles user’s emails into different categories such as Updates, Purchases, Promos, and Trips. These brand new features were unfamiliar to users at first, so they took a hit. Some people stuck with Gmail, and others, who didn’t fear about the learning curve, enhanced their emailing experience, apparently, I was one of them. I liked Inbox right after it got launched. I liked the simplified design and vivid color scheme. I loved to see “a sun floating in the middle of my screen”, on a concept level, to-dos completed.

So what happened? Why is Google taking away the Inbox? Well, that I don’t know, but subtle clues, along the way, hinted the decision today. First of all, Google never updated UI of Inbox since it was launched. Secondly, it took up to a year to patch the design issue on Inbox’s iOS app. Last but not least, the search functionality can’t even compare to Google’s search, it was not smart enough to find emails I was looking for, I always ended up finding emails by navigating.

Realistically, a product itself doesn’t represent a value, people who use it does. In other words, if the cost of maintaining a product is too high, and the value is too low, then the product shouldn’t be maintained.

I shrugged my shoulder, thinking ‘maybe it was not as good as I thought it would be’. I then moved my mouse cursor to the Applications Folder, dragged an icon, that was strange yet familiar, to the Dock.

It was Mail.

Yifan Chen

a software developer

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