For better or worse, email remains the primary method computer users exploit for asynchronous communication. So Google’s release of a new reader application, InBox, stimulated my interest. I received an invitation to add the application and thought it might be helpful for readers to provide some comments here in this blog. For readers unfamiliar with the notion of “asynchronous communication”, the easiest way to understand the concept is simply to consider messages largely disconnected from one another. In other words, getting the message from an email does not require a review of the reply that may (or may not) result from it. Popular messaging apps like Whats App, or Facebook Messenger, Google Chat, etc. are all examples of synchronous communication, in other words messages are interdependent and really meaningless without the replies associated with them, even if there is no reply whatsoever. In the latter case the initial message is collected by each of these applications into the folder directly associated with a targeted recipient. In the case of almost any email reader, and in contrast, any sent message can be found in the “sent” folder repository for all sent messages, regardless of the intended recipient.
When I consider an application like Google InBox the important points all have to do with productivity, and, further, the pace at which I can locate information of importance to me, as opposed to all of the other information really of low importance to me. So I admit to liking the way InBox collects my messages into broad groupings: “Social”, “Updates”, “Promos”, etc. I find it easier to get the information I’m after as the result of this rearrangement. Dealing with a reorganized repository of messages is something easy for me to do.
But learning a different way of working with messages, which in the case of InBox amounts to using the new “Sweep”, “Pin” “Bundled”, “Unbundled”, etc features is another matter. I have made little, if any use whatsoever of these new features. Why? There is nothing wrong with how I’m presently working with my email, so I have no motivation to changing it. Learning a different way to work with messages is actually a matter of adopting a new computing technique. Adoption is a big deal and not something I want to get into, right now, for my daily, persistent need to interact with email.
I need an application like InBox to work with all of my email — not just the email I receive via GMail. This capability is presently available with Microsoft Outlook 2013, on my desktop. So I still prefer Outlook 2013, even without the new order to messages I’ve received by using InBox for my Google email aka GMail. I understand this capability will be rolled into GMail, but I would rather see it added to InBox. Perhaps I will have more information to share on this in a later post.
A bigger plus, for me, would be to have Google’s search service retrieve and expose relevant email messages from my inboxes based on my queries. Unfortunately the feature is not presently available, neither with Google Search, nor with Bing and/or Cortana.
Ira Michael Blonder
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