Over the last couple of years, we have been treated to several widely-used apps and services from Google being discontinued. The biggest name that immediately comes to mind from that infamous batch is Google Reader. The service was discontinued over five and a half a years ago and its name almost always comes up when we start digging our memories for all the good things from past years.
Whilst discontinuing Reader, Google cited the declining user base. Sure enough, we were all getting more and more of our news from social media platforms than from RSS feed readers but…
More recently, Google discontinued two messaging products that never took off: Spaces and Allo. While I understood the whole premise of Spaces, it was based on a product that is just part of the living dead, Google+, and it was living on borrowed time if we are being honest. For Allo, well, my initial review of the app and service was as disdainful as I can ever get. It not only lacked a purpose, it also lacked the features necessary to make a case for it to people already hooked to WhatsApp.
However, that is not the case with Inbox by Gmail. Inbox provided a much-needed alternative to the main Gmail app. It was clean, smooth, futuristic and feature-packed. Given the communication overload we have to endure these days, Inbox provided a nice way of keeping up with all the important communication, weeding out the unnecessary ones and speeding up the time it takes to respond to emails by pre-empting replies thanks to machine learning. All that, without having to worry about going with a third-party plug-in to Gmail to provide similar functionality.
Today, Inbox is dead. Google will be shutting down the service in just half a year, in March 2019.
No reason, at least as far as I know, has been given for the move.
While long adherents to Inbox will surely miss it and they are probably cursing Google right now, many of us won’t miss it.
I, for one, cannot remember the last time I used it. Whatever time that was, I was either using it to pen a review of the same or a news article on some feature updates. My experience with Inbox should tell you all that you need to know about the app. While it was nice and all, you could happily live without by maximizing the features that Gmail already has like the priority inbox, starring emails, superior spam detection, custom labels, filters and more.
What’s more, a lot of the features that once made Inbox very desirable are now part and parcel of Gmail. Heck, some are even making their way to our SMS apps.