With the new Gmail for web thoroughly leaked, it’s clear that many of the upcoming features are coming directly from Inbox. In light of the upcoming redesign, many questions have arisen about that other increasingly niche email alternatives, with Google offering an answer today.
As part of the revamp, Gmail on the web is adding the ability to snooze emails until a specific time, with a number of quickly accessible presets. The online client is also finally adding a Smart Reply feature to match the mobile apps. Along with a new Default view that displays inline image and Drive attachments, these features all debuted on Inbox by Gmail.
Given the duplicity of features, there has been much discussion in recent weeks about the future of Inbox. Today, Google provided Computerwold a comment noting that there are “no changes to Inbox by Gmail” in light of the new Gmail.
The statement highlights that Inbox remains a “great product for users with specific workflows,” while suggesting that Inbox will be a testbed of sorts for “innovative features” related to email.
Development for the service has slowed since it first launched in 2014 as an invite-only service. At the time, its name signified a “completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters.” Smart features bundled related messages together, while “Highlights” quickly surfaced reminders, flight check-ins, shipping information, and more.
However, it’s clear that the service never supplanted regular Gmail for most users, with the redesign announcement serving as a strong indicator that Google realizes this and is only adopting the best features.
In the grand scheme, it’s clear that Google is moving towards consolidation and away from the previous strategy of having multiple offerings that do the same thing. The new YouTube music service could see the wind down of Play Music, while Google is also cutting its losses on the messaging front. Google Allo development is pausing as the company is similarly moving all the best features to Android Messages.
While Google’s statement today offers one possible way Inbox could exist — as a testbed for new features that if successful get moved to Gmail — it doesn’t inspire too much confidence in the long-term future as a product that stands on its own.
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