#mailbox

Team Mailbox:

Today, we’re proud to announce a new service built directly into Mailbox that learns from your swipes and snoozes to automate common actions. Mute that thread you don’t care about, snooze messages from your friends until after work, and route receipts to a list — automatically. We call this service Auto-swipe.

Auto-swipe is something we wanted to release with the first version of Mailbox, but it’s only with recent improvements to our infrastructure that such a smart service has been possible.

This really is something the team has talked about since the beginning. And it’s potentially very powerful — think: Gmail filters re-thought for mobile.

Also, Mailbox and Android is here today. And, perhaps most importantly, Mailbox for Mac is nearly ready for testing. If you’ve ever tried to use the OS X Mail app with Gmail, this will be the best news ever for you. One might call it “a glass of ice water in hell”.

Yes, Another Email Rant

I bitch about email. A lot. Very loudly. And very publicly. As a result, I get a lot of people who reach out 1 with some tips on how they best contain the beast. 2

One of the tips that seems to come up most often is managing it as you go, on your mobile device. I of course already do this with Mailbox, but that’s really more about triage and less about taking care of business in real time. What these people usually mean is actually responding to emails as they come in, rather than organizing them to respond to later.

Admittedly, I’m awful at this. But that’s sort of by design.

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I know some of you have been waiting for my thoughts on Dropbox acquiring Mailbox — my apologies, I’ve been sidetracked by SXSW SARS. I also realize I still need to write my longer thoughts about how Mailbox changed my email habits. For now, let me just congratulate the Mailbox team. They built something truly amazing and I could not be happier that the product will continue to live on and grow under the wings of Dropbox.
Many of you know how excited I’ve been about Mailbox over the past several months — and not just as an investor, but as a user. Email has been so broken for so long and these guys were the first ones really thinking outside the — sorry — box. So the success they’ve seen could not be any less surprising. I think Dropbox was very savvy to make this move and I think it seems like a great fit. Now get me a damn iPad client.

I know some of you have been waiting for my thoughts on Dropbox acquiring Mailbox — my apologies, I’ve been sidetracked by SXSW SARS. I also realize I still need to write my longer thoughts about how Mailbox changed my email habits. For now, let me just congratulate the Mailbox team. They built something truly amazing and I could not be happier that the product will continue to live on and grow under the wings of Dropbox.

Many of you know how excited I’ve been about Mailbox over the past several months — and not just as an investor, but as a user. Email has been so broken for so long and these guys were the first ones really thinking outside the — sorry — box. So the success they’ve seen could not be any less surprising. I think Dropbox was very savvy to make this move and I think it seems like a great fit. Now get me a damn iPad client.

bryan
bryan:


UPDATE: Cool, Mailbox’s CEO agrees.
My biggest gripe with Mailbox thus far is that the default snooze options, which I generally love, do not change based on the time or day of the week, which can lead to some ambiguous situations. Around 9PM last night I wanted to merely delay an email by a couple of hours. “Later today” actually deferred the email to a little after midnight but “This Evening” deferred until 6PM the next day. Similarly, “This Weekend” and “Next Week” also seem a bit too ambiguous when it’s currently Sunday night. I really think that contextually tweaking the available options as well as some of the language could go a long way towards improving this already great feature.
I’ve been using Mailbox for a few weeks now and very much enjoy it. When I first installed it I started a list all of the things I didn’t like, but almost all of my complaints went away the more I bought into the way that Mailbox is intended to be used. The only ones that really remain (aside from the snoozing behavior described above) are the lack of an iPad or desktop equivalent, and the lack of cloud search (which is coming). I also wish that their push notifications included the first line of the message body but I know this is an iOS limitation and not their fault.


Also agree with all of this. I often go to hit one of those snoozes and have to think about it for a second. I shouldn’t have to think at all.

bryan:

UPDATE: Cool, Mailbox’s CEO agrees.

My biggest gripe with Mailbox thus far is that the default snooze options, which I generally love, do not change based on the time or day of the week, which can lead to some ambiguous situations. Around 9PM last night I wanted to merely delay an email by a couple of hours. “Later today” actually deferred the email to a little after midnight but “This Evening” deferred until 6PM the next day. Similarly, “This Weekend” and “Next Week” also seem a bit too ambiguous when it’s currently Sunday night. I really think that contextually tweaking the available options as well as some of the language could go a long way towards improving this already great feature.

I’ve been using Mailbox for a few weeks now and very much enjoy it. When I first installed it I started a list all of the things I didn’t like, but almost all of my complaints went away the more I bought into the way that Mailbox is intended to be used. The only ones that really remain (aside from the snoozing behavior described above) are the lack of an iPad or desktop equivalent, and the lack of cloud search (which is coming). I also wish that their push notifications included the first line of the message body but I know this is an iOS limitation and not their fault.

Also agree with all of this. I often go to hit one of those snoozes and have to think about it for a second. I shouldn’t have to think at all.

Over the past several months, by far the number one question I’ve gotten asked is if I can get people access to Mailbox and/or when is it coming out…

Well, the answer is really soon now. Today, the team rolled out a smart reservation system to make sure they can gracefully launch the service to the hundreds of thousands — perhaps millions — who are undoubtedly going to want it ASAP.

Unfortunately, this system means that some will have to wait longer than others. But at least there will be some transparency in the process: with Mailbox’s reservation system, you’ll be able to see exactly where you are in line to get the app — both the number of people in front of you and behind you.

Once again, trust me, it will be worth the wait. And yes, the app will be free.

Abdel Ibrahim of The Tech Block interviews Gentry Underwood of Mailbox:

No technology ever dies completely, so in some senses it’s easy to promise that email will stick around. But more to the point, email is a “we” technology. You or I don’t decide to use it – “we” do. You may attempt to quit checking email, but you’ll still be receiving them. Sooner or later you’ll likely cave in and start checking it again (perhaps after one-too-many missed invitations, etc.). If we’re going to stop using email we’re going to have to all decide to do that at the same time, and that’s a big, big thing to ask.

I really cannot wait to see what happens when everyone starts using Mailbox in a few weeks. It has changed my work life dramatically for the better. It’s a true revelation.

lilly
lilly:

Not exactly news, but lots of good 3rd party apps replacing Apple’s built-in apps. I also like gmail (on iPhone, but not on tablet) and Calvetica, but here’s my current dock. Anyone using anything better for contacts & outbound dialing?

Ditto on Mailbox replacing Mail and Fantastical replacing Calendar (though I use both since I much prefer the month-view of the built-in Calendar). I’m still Safari over Chrome on iOS. Love the fast tab-switching (by swiping left and right) but none of my bookmarklets seem to work yet on Chrome for iOS. Also, I do notice it rendering a tad bit slower than Safari for certain sites.
As for Phone, what is that? Is that like an app to test your hearing that people born before 1980 use? Not clear why anyone would use that.

lilly:

Not exactly news, but lots of good 3rd party apps replacing Apple’s built-in apps. I also like gmail (on iPhone, but not on tablet) and Calvetica, but here’s my current dock. Anyone using anything better for contacts & outbound dialing?

Ditto on Mailbox replacing Mail and Fantastical replacing Calendar (though I use both since I much prefer the month-view of the built-in Calendar). I’m still Safari over Chrome on iOS. Love the fast tab-switching (by swiping left and right) but none of my bookmarklets seem to work yet on Chrome for iOS. Also, I do notice it rendering a tad bit slower than Safari for certain sites.

As for Phone, what is that? Is that like an app to test your hearing that people born before 1980 use? Not clear why anyone would use that.

Back in August, I wrote a post teasing Mailbox, the new app from the team behind Orchestra. Today, they’re ready to reveal a bit more. The video above offers a taste, but I’ll have more thoughts to share later on.

Put simply: this is the most excited I’ve been about an app in a long time. I’ve been testing it out for a few weeks now and it’s already the app I use most often. I say this, of course, as a happy investor, but I shit you not: if you hate email, you’re going to love this app when it comes out in a few weeks. It’s fucking amazing.

This is the teaser page for Mailbox, a new product by the Orchestra team. I can’t say too much yet, but I’ve seen what they’re up to (we are investors, after all). It’s potentially game changing when it comes to email. And those who follow my email saga closely will know that I would not say that lightly. 

They have a bit more about the process of evolving from Orchestra to Mailbox here. The best excerpt:

At first the idea seemed crazy. Email felt like this massive thing that startups don’t mess with. “This path is paved with corpses,” one friend told us. To be really blunt, we were scared. But as we explored the idea and the capacity of our team to tackle it, we felt emboldened. We realized we could apply everything we had learned about building fast, friendly, mobile collaboration tools to the inbox. We can’t replace email, but we can change how we interact with it.

Bingo. It’s not about replacing email. That has been tried and tried and tried and failed and failed and failed. It’s about changing the way we perceive email. 

Mailbox is not quite done yet, but it will be worth the wait. Trust me.