Is it Time to Make the Switch to Google Inbox?
Unless you're some fancy Senator, you've got to use email. Maybe all day long. It can be easy to get buried under hundreds of daily emails.
Google Inbox, the invite only app, tries to make email less of a chore. But, for lawyers, is it worth actually switching over to?
The Pro's: Organization, Message Management
It can be a pain searching through email. Even if you're great a composing complex Google searches (show me emails "from:me to:you after:2011 before:2012" Siri!) you may still have to sift through unwanted responses. Inbox tries to make finding things easier for you by bundling like with like. We're not talking simply nesting all your Re:Jones Complaint messages in a chain, but gathering all your emails about your docs or your meetings into one group. It's a great feature and if your emails fit into categories Inbox recognizes, you're good to go. You can create your own groups, which is a great way to bundle specific matters or clients together.
One thing that Gmail has always lacked is the handy, easy "to-do" menu included in Outlook. Yeah, you can use Google calendar, but not as smoothly. Inbox does a great job fixing the problem, by allowing you to "snooze" emails, instead of writing a note to respond later. If you're the kind of person who loves crossing items off lists, you'll also like being able to check off entire email groups at once, sending them off to email heaven (or at least the "archived" folder).
The Cons: Message Management, Interface
While Inbox definitely makes email feel more contemporary, it's not perfect. One of the major flaws, if you ask me, is marking items as "low priority." Gmail has been determining which emails are important for awhile now, and the service automatically highlights those. Inbox takes it a further step, though, deprioritizing emails it doesn't think matter. Bundled as low priority, these emails can be easy to miss -- which can cause problems, if Inbox decided something you think is important isn't. Thankfully, low priority bundling is an opt-in feature and can easily be avoided.
Inbox was made for mobile and it shows. The service is prettier and easier to use on a phone or tablet. But no matter the device, the format can take a bit of getting used to as well. Some critics have complained that the design is unintuitive, though unfamiliar is probably a better descriptor. Once you learn how to use Inbox, just like you learned how to use Outlook, everything flows fine.
The best thing about Inbox, though, is that it's just an app. If you try and don't like it, it's easy to return to Gmail.
- The Creators of Google Inbox Explain why it's the Future of Gmail (Mashable)
- This Spring, Clean Up Your Inbox (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Work Email: Balancing Privacy and the Right to Speak (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Attorney Email Etiquette You Can't Afford to Ignore (FindLaw's Greedy Associates)
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