Email the Greatest Social Network When You Use the Latest Tools

By Mike Elgan  |  Posted 2016-02-28 Print this article Print
Modern Email Tools

Google recently rolled out new options for procrastinating. The new options are "Later this week" and "This weekend."

Google Inbox has intelligence baked in. When you start to type a reminder, a drop-down list lets you finish it. When you have certain types of reminders, Inbox will add a handy link to the online resource in question. The mobile app version even uses deep neural network technology to suggest replies.

Inbox also has better integration with other apps; inbox reminders with times and dates on them show up in your calendar.

There are too many benefits of Google Inbox to list here. My advice is to spend some quality time with the settings and use Inbox actively to make email your best productivity tool.

3. Also use Gmail. Inbox is better than the Gmail interface, but not in all ways. When you move email to specific folders from Inbox, or mark messages as spam Inbox uses intelligence to try to figure out why, and does similar things in the future. But it's more like a suggestion. Gmail, on the other hand, has rules. You can specifically say all messages with specific criteria must be filed in that folder every time. It's more powerful and it's also necessary for achieving zero inbox.

If you can't use Gmail, maybe you can use Gmailify, which is Google's service for making your non-Gmail account behave like Gmail, including spam protection and inbox organization.

Email's awesome new tricks

A huge number of apps, cloud services, browser plugins and other products can make email incredibly powerful. Here's a small handful of the amazing skills email has acquired lately.

Manage your calendar. A company called offers a cloud-based virtual assistant that completely takes over the job of scheduling, rescheduling, delaying and canceling meetings. is in closed beta and you can go here to sign up for the free beta program. The company will release the virtual assistance service this year when it will cost $9 per month.

The way it works is that when someone emails you with a meeting request, or when you request a meeting with someone else, you copy's "Amy" virtual assistant on the message. Then, all the back-and-forth negotiation for when the meeting will take place, as well as any subsequent changes, is handled by Amy, who sends normal, convincingly human emails on your behalf like a real personal assistant. She'll then place the meetings on your calendar for you.

Take control of your subscriptions. has been around awhile, but recently they launched a powerful iOS version, which is actually fun to use. You just swipe left to unsubscribe, swipe right to keep. No matter where you use, the service will make it super easy to unsubscribe from any newsletter, spam, mailing list or any other email that can be unsubscribed from.

Find all the email addresses at any website. The Email Hunter service is a search engine for finding people's email addresses. You plug in the domain, and the results show you all the email addresses found somewhere online using that domain. Better yet, a Chrome browser plug-in makes it even easier. Just pressing a button on the browser lists all known email addresses associated with the web site you're currently looking at.

Take email to the next level. You can find many options for finding out who opens or clicks on email and other features. My favorite by far is Mixmax, which is free and works with both Google Inbox and Gmail.

You can take advantage of one-click templates, delayed sending, link previews, polling and surveys, cloud-storage attachments (like Dropbox), email recalls, unique signatures based on the email addresses you're using, custom branding, group meetings and more.

These are just a few great new capabilities available for using email. A great place to find a world of powerful email tools is Product Hunt. Can Slack do all that? No, it cannot.

Email is by far the best social network ever. It's universal, extensible, searchable, asynchronous, integrated, intelligent and flexible.

By embracing new tools for achieving zero inbox and by using some of the other new services for enhancing email, you can turn your own inbox into your secret weapon for mental clarity, personal productivity and masterful communication.



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