After several weeks of patiently waiting, and by "patiently waiting" I mean I opened up Mailbox at least 2 or 3 times a day to inspect my place in line, I finally got the green light and gained access.
All that waiting though served only to raise my expectations around "a whole new inbox." So when I finally first tried Inbox, I was disappointed. But not because it failed to meet my expectations, but because it didn't exceed them.
You see, email doesn't need a new or slicker way to categorize and filter incoming messages. That is a relatively solved problem, or at least everyone who uses email has ultimately adopted a systemology for processing email that works for them -- even if their personal system is imperfect and ultimately leaves them perpetually with 1453 unread messages.
What I want is a smarter email client. Not a prettier one. I want an email client that:
- Makes mailing list management easier.
- Helps me to unsubscribe to unwanted email.
- Consolidates and organizes social channel notifications.
- Finds and recognizes events that should be on my calendar.
- Processes, saves and makes searchable all of my receipts and order confirmations.
As well as handling all of the other email I get on a daily basis that generally falls to the bottom of my priority list, but takes up my time or attention nonetheless.tempo.ai, a calendaring app that uses natural language processing to enhance my calendar in delightful and surprising ways... like somehow figuring out where my meeting is going to be when I never told it, or making available to me a complete profile of the person I am meeting with even though all I said in my event was, "Lunch with Jack." In these and other ways my calendar is useful again, beyond simply regurgitating back to me a list of upcoming events I entered into it. It is responsive. It is intelligent.
I keep waiting for a new email client to surprise me, but they don't. Email doesn't have a UI problem, nor does it have a methodology problem per-se. Email clients have failed in that they haven't done anything innovative with the most important part of email: the data. While the rest of the web has embraced things like microformats, feeds, browser extensions like Greasemonkey, and a plethora of other tools that do interesting things with data, all we seem to be able to do with email is hot link phone numbers and URLs.
I think we can do better than that.