It’s not just consumers, apparently, that are waiting for Google Inbox but business users of Google Apps, as well.
If a Reddit Ask Us Anything session earlier this week is any indication, there appears to be at least some pent up interest in an email replacement for Gmail among business users. The interest appears to stem not so much from a dislike of Google’s incumbent email tool for the workplace as much as a yearning for some of the new features that the company has said it has included in Inbox.
Inbox is a new email app that Google said will complement Gmail but not entirely replace it for some time. The app, currently available on an invitation-only basis, includes new features designed to organize email inboxes in a somewhat more intuitive fashion.
Some of the top features include something called “Bundles,” which organizes emails by subject, so emails pertaining to trips will be grouped together in one bundle while those pertaining to purchases will be placed in a separate bundle and so on.
A new “Highlights” feature in Inbox will let users see the most significant content in an email without having to open the message. Details like order updates, flight status information, reservations and even photos will be visible in unopened emails.
A “Reminder” function and a “Snooze” feature will let users put away emails till they are ready to get to them. Google is also working on a much requested “Undo Send” capability that will let users recall messages they might want to correct or that were sent in error or haste.
Several participants at the Ask Us Anything session expressed interest in using Inbox with Google Apps, despite some reservations.
“I’ll be perfectly honest in that Inbox for my personal Gmail account is nifty, but ultimately useless to me. I simply do not receive enough action-oriented mail in my personal account,” one participant said.
“This is my question, as well. I love Inbox, but I can’t really fully use it because there’s not all that much I need to organize in my personal inbox,” another echoed.
The three members of the Google Inbox team who fielded the questions said the company is in the process of getting Inbox ready for Google Apps. “Supporting these accounts comes with other demands, and we’re working hard on addressing them so we can get Inbox to Google Apps users,” Inbox Product Manager Vijay U noted.
“We were pleasantly surprised to see how open-minded Inbox users are to making big changes to their work email workflow, and the high demand for Inbox on Google Apps accounts has already caused us to speed up our efforts to bring Inbox to all of you. Hang tight!”
The apparent interest in Inbox among business users bodes well for the company at a time when it is trying to expand its presence in the enterprise market. Though the company has been pitching Google Apps and its cloud platform at businesses for several years, Google does not have anywhere near the presence in enterprises that Microsoft has with its suite of office productivity products.
In recent months, Google has been ramping up efforts to change that by hiring top executives from enterprise heavyweights such as Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and Oracle.
Just this week, Google said it had reconfigured its partner program to accommodate the evolving needs of its enterprise customers. Under the change, Google’s partner program for Apps, Chrome, Cloud Platform and other enterprise products have all been brought under one umbrella. Google is also reportedly planning to offer higher commission to resellers to encourage them to push Google Apps more aggressively to business customers.