I got the chance to play around with Google’s Inbox. You can tell it is a technology masterpiece: working seamlessly across platforms with a consistent UI, it’s got the brains and the looks. Responsive in-line design, small improvements everywhere. But, being a Google product, there is a fundamental issue.
Google Inbox is not breathing. It has no life in it whatsoever. It feels like Google Frankensteined Google Buzz, Google Wave and Gmail with material design. Don’t get me wrong, this is a good mix. Stitches are barely visible, improvements and solutions are all over the place but they don’t feel like they were made for each other. They don’t feel like one piece. They are not going anywhere. They simply exist. Making you feel that handyman feeling, getting new shiny tools. They are new, they are shiny but they do the same job as the existing ones and he has to spend the time to get familiar with them.
I don’t see Inbox making me more productive. While a beauty on my android phone, it is not pretty on the desktop. It uses a lot of non-standard web mental models. If you have a busy inbox like me then all you face with Inbox is clutter, old mails brought to surface, new mail hidden behind bundles. And my favorite: DELETE is hidden. Again! It feels like all Google experiment results transformed into a new one, the mother of all experiments. Which is expected from a company bragging that it was and will always be an engineering company. And there is a limit to where engineering can take you on its own.
Now back to work. Back to regular Gmail.