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Google Inbox: The Sweet, Sweet Lovechild of Gmail and Google Now

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By William Peacock, Esq. on October 31, 2014 10:12 AM

I like Google Now. Sure, it's a bit creepy that it does its voodoo magic (telling me my flight information, giving me sports scores, notifying me of updates on my favorite blogs, etc.) by scanning my email and tracking my online activities, but it sure is handy. In fact, Google Now is one of the big reasons why I still have an Android phone.

And Gmail? It revolutionized free email. And the one thing I miss since switching to Outlook as my daily provider is the handy Primary/Social/Promotional dividers in my inbox, which shove all of those annoying "You'll love our newest look!" and "Jimmy Johns wants to connect with you!" emails into their own special boxes.

But Google Inbox, the new task-oriented take on Gmail? It's like the two products made sweet, sweet love and this is their glorious, magnificent lovechild.

Stupid Name, Great Product

They call it "Inbox." But you already have an inbox in your Gmail. Heck, you probably have a few inboxes -- work, personal, secret identity. Calling your new inbox "Inbox" is just stupid then, because it's so damn generic.

But whatever -- this thing rocks. It takes all of your dozens of daily emails, categorizes them into "bundles," and treats them like a big "To Do" list. There are a whole lot of premade bundles (reminiscent of the old Social/Promotional inboxes in Gmail), such as Finance (bills), Social, Promos, Travel, and Purchases. You can also create your own bundles, such as one that groups messages from family members.

What I really like about this app is that it treats each email as a task, one that you can handle now (then mark it done), snooze for later (for procrastination, or replying to when you're near a keyboard), or pin (for stuff that you'll always need).

Also, it's gorgeous. Everything is displayed in cards, a la Google Now, and things like attachments and videos have pretty previews.

My Favorite Thing: Snooze

Snooze is going to be big for me. Every day, I get emails that I don't want to respond to right then -- social media messages, NSFW forwards from judges (kidding), or messages from family. I can snooze the message and get a reminder at a set time, or better (and creepier) yet, when I get to a certain place -- when my smartphone detects that I'm at home, for instance.

One Dumbfounding Decision

As of now, Inbox is only for Gmail users -- Google Apps for Education, Google Apps, and Google for Work users need not apply. That means my law-related @myowndomain.com address isn't Inbox compatible, and that's where snooze would really come in handy. (A question about a bill? Remind me when I get to the office. A client question? Remind me at 5:30 p.m. when I'm wrapping up my day.)

If you have a Gmail account, and want to try it out, Inbox is currently invite-only, which in practice means that you sign up and they'll send you an invite within a day or two. If you do sign up, let us know your thoughts on Twitter @FindLawLP.

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