Google Inbox is dead. Long live Google Inbox! As of today, Google's beloved email app Inbox is no more. Fans loved it because it took a different approach to managing email by breaking out messages into different categories instead of one long list, as Gmail does. It's a downright shame that it's gone. But before you gnash your teeth in disappointment, we'll direct you to Spark and Spike, two other apps that could help fill the void.
Before we get to those, here's another option. The Gmail app has done a respectable job of folding Inbox features into the main Gmail app over the past few months, so if you'd rather avoid using alternatives, you can stay in Googleland. Or, you can use the two non-Google apps below, which offer Inbox-like flair with their own personal touches.
Coinciding with the sunsetting of Inbox, Spark is now available on Android. Previously, Spark was only available on iOS and Mac. Spark is free to download and use, with the option of a premium plan that includes some unique features.
Spark works with a healthy list of email providers, including Gmail, iCloud, Exchange, Outlook, Kerio Connect and IMAP email accounts. You can add more than one account to the app and view your emails in a unified view, or view each account on its own.
What makes Spark so appealing is its smart inbox feature, which separates emails into Personal, Notification and Newsletter categories. There's also a Classic view for those who prefer a chronological list of emails.
Spark also includes the options to schedule when an email is sent, snooze received emails to clear up inbox clutter, incorporate your calendars for quick access to your schedule and pin messages that need to be dealt with.
Business users can sign up for Spark's premium service and use Spark's Teams feature. Teams are able to comment on emails, delegate emails to other members or compose emails together with a collaborative Google Docs-like feature.
Download Spark for Android, iOS or Mac.
Spike is a relatively new email app that works on iOS, Android, Windows, Mac (download is on same page as the Windows version) and in any web browser.
Spike's approach to email gives you the option to ditch the traditional inbox and organize messages based on contacts -- similar to a chat app like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. The Chat feature tries to strip all the unnecessary formatting and signatures from the body of emails and present only what you need to read in a chatlike layout. If you'd rather have your inbox organized by email thread, there's an option for that, too.
Other notable features offered by Spike are encrypted emails (both users need to use Spike for this feature), calendar integration, advanced search and file management.
Spike works with Gmail, Outlook, Exchange, iCloud, Yahoo and IMAP email providers.
With a free personal account, you can create Groups with your coworkers, classmates or family members to work on a project or plan a trip together. Spike's Groups feature essentially creates a chat room for members to chat in. Personal Spike users can use up to 10 group chat rooms, while premium users get unlimited chat rooms.
The chat aspect of Spike is an interesting take on email and one that surely will take some getting used to.
Let's be honest, nothing will ever truly replace Inbox, but nonetheless, Spark and Spike are legitimate alternatives. And with both apps offering their core features for free, you have nothing to lose in giving either one a try. Who knows, you may be happy Inbox is gone.