What Google has in store for its Inbox app

New Inbox features? They’re working on it.
New Inbox features? They’re working on it.
Image: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
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Back in October, Google debuted a new email app called Inbox with features—such as the ability to snooze messages—designed to accommodate how people use email today. Though it generated plenty of buzz, it’s far from complete.

In an Ask Me Anything thread on Reddit, the Gmail team revealed what it’s keeping an eye on and features that eventually will make their way to the app. They include an undo-send function, more robust controls over the snooze feature, and a user interface refresh to match Google’s new “Material Design” guidelines.

Designer Jason Cornwell said Inbox is not a Gmail replacement—yet. “We care deeply about Gmail and Gmail users, but in the long run as we add more features to Inbox and respond to user feedback we hope that everyone will want to use Inbox instead of Gmail,” he said. “Ultimately, our users will decide.”

Here’s a list of the features the Gmail team is focusing on, broken down by priority:

As soon as possible

  • Cross-browser support

Coming months

  • Support for Google Apps, used by businesses and those with custom-domain Gmail accounts (“Hang tight!” said product manager Vijay Umapathy, noting interest in this feature got it bumped up in terms of priorities.)
  • More notification sounds
  • Snooze personalization
  • Google Drive integration (“We’ll be working with the team in the new year to bring a lot of that awesomeness into Inbox,” said software engineer Taylor Kourim.)
  • Updated aesthetics (“The Material Design guidelines were still under development while many recent apps were being designed. We expect to resolve consistency issues in upcoming releases,” Kourim said.)

Working on it, but no timeline

  • Undo send
  • Tablet apps
  • Support for other email accounts (“Ultimately we want Inbox to be able to manage all sorts of content from other sources, but we don’t have concrete plans to announce at this time,” said Cornwell.)
  • Download all attachments
  • Signatures

Looking into it

  • Unified inbox for managing multiple accounts
  • Calendar integration (“We have lots of ideas in this area, so stay tuned!” said Cornwell.)
  • Improved HTML rendering

Longer term

  • Organization and management beyond email. (“It’s still early days, so we have really exciting plans for Inbox: we’re starting with email, but ultimately our goal is to build a tool to manage all of the things you need to get back to in your life,” Kourim said. “Email is a great place to start because it contains lots of things that you need to get back to already. So, of course, we’re not ready to share many of the coolest things that we’re working on because they’re still in development.”)