The Electric Educator: Make Email Great Again! ✉

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Make Email Great Again! ✉

Google is trying to make email great again...

When I started using Gmail it was a revelation. It was fast, easy to organize, and had sooooo much storage! Well, now it's 2017 and things have changed again. We get MORE email than ever before and are primarily checking mail on mobile devices. It's time for an email refresh:

Meet Inbox, by Google!

Inbox is a new, modern take on your email. Optimized for your mobile phone (Android or iOS)
Swipe to "snooze" emails until a later time. Create reminders (no need to email yourself!)
Smart reply (artificial intelligence at work!)
"Bundle" related emails together (like trip reservations) Get information without the hassle

Gmail isn't going anywhere, and you can use Gmail and Inbox at the same time (I do). Each has different strengths and they seamlessly sync together.

I would like to highlight my two favorite features of Inbox.

Information without the Hassle

I travel a lot. Finding reservation information in my email is a hassle. Not with Inbox! It automatically finds all of my confirmation emails, figures out that they are related (destination) and bundles them together. It also generates a simplified view of the email with all of the important numbers and details about my reservation. Awesome! Inbox does this with Invoices, Shipment notifications, and more!

Travel information is neatly collected and present in an itinerary.
I didn't do anything to organize this information! 
Inbox even finds my online purchases and lets me track a shipment with a single click! No more hunting for the tacking ID!

Google Classroom Bonus!

Inbox recently started bundling and integrating with Google Classroom! Notification emails from Google Classroom include a link that takes you directly to the assignment or question from the email!

Auto Reply

I have an iPhone. Siri suggests responses to my emails and text messages all the time. Her suggestions are lame.

The auto-replies in Inbox are....creepily amazing. This is another example of Google's research into machine learning (here's an in-depth explanation for those who are super nerdy!). Open an email and Inbox will suggest three replies based on the content of the message AND your own personal writing style. The more you use Inbox, the more accurate the replies become. Whoa!

As educators, email is a necessary part of our job, but it is not our job. The goal is to spend as little time as possible looking at email. Inbox will help. Furthermore, I anticipate that Google will integrate Inbox with Google Classroom. Look for some very cool student-focused features in the near future!

If you haven't given Inbox a try, you should! Just visit Just to warn you, there is a bit of a learning curve as it is a LOT different than Gmail. If you start to freak out, send me a tweet (@jrsowash) and I will talk you off the ledge!

Do you have a favorite Inbox feature? Leave a comment and let me know!

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