I just set up Inbox on a very old, in fact my oldest, earliest, Gmail account. Come to think of it, I guess that’s appropriate in a way. Here, briefly, are my very first impressions.
Inbox is like the dead mouse your cat brings to you. Thanks but that’s not exactly what I wanted and it’s not quite useful to me, though I appreciate the work you’ve done. I may even be impressed by it. It’s true I could use something to eat right now, maybe even something about that size, but that isn’t it.
Slightly More Detail
Minimalist email messages: Yes. I like this idea of messages that can look like tweets but still, maybe, have support for long messages. Really, though, I think long messages should be a document that is emailed.
The card thing: Bah. I don’t use Google Now and I don’t want that much help.
The todo list thing: Thumbs down. I’m in the fifth year of my highly-evolved GTD system and I don’t want help with this from my email program. I don’t mind it being there, it looks like it would be a great help for folks that do use email to manage their lives (what a horrible, horrible concept, though). There needs to be some way to get all of those green check marks and todo-listness out of the email if you don’t want to see it there. Where’s the OFF switch??
The automatic grouping thing: Thumbs down again. Similar to the above, I’ve had complete control of my email with filters and labels for years. I don’t need help. Please get your ideas of labels and filters out of my email!
Finally, it’s not really minimal. Inbox looks minimal and simpler, but really it sneaks in all of the above cruft. A program that sort of looked like Inbox, more minimalist than Gmail, but that didn’t impose a lot of complexity and stuff in return would be worth a closer look.
I expect changes to Gmail itself along these lines and maybe then there will be some settings switches (no doubt almost impossibly buried) to turn some of these “helpful” features off.
And I should make clear that this is all from my personal point of view. For the vast masses, Inbox may be just what folks need so I’m not saying it shouldn’t exist and may not be a huge hit.
I’ll find ways to keep playing with Inbox but it will be a while before I unleash it on the actual Gmail that I use.
It sure looks like Mailboxapp introduced some two years ago.