Google could be looking to replace its wildly popular Gmail with a new service.
The company has been encouraging its users to use its “Inbox by Gmail” service, in a move that some have said could be the “beginning of the end” for Gmail.
Inbox was introduced last year, but Google has been devoting increased interest to the app. It analyses emails to group ones that might be interesting alongside other features that smartly organises email, and Google describes it as “the inbox that works for you”.
Now, users of the app on their phone are being redirected towards Inbox rather than the normal Gmail. When a user clicks through on Gmail they are greeted by a big pop-up telling them that they might want to use Inbox instead.
“Thanks for trying Inbox!” a message reads when users log in. “To make it easier, we’ve updated Gmail to redirect you here.”
The tool still offers the option to head back to the normal Gmail screen, with a big button saying “turn it off”. It also allows users to turn it off at any time in the future, through the settings.
But some users have suggested that the change signals “the beginning of the end” for Gmail in its current form — and that Inbox may eventually just become the default way of reading emails.
Google said that Gmail was very much alive and that it was simply making it easier to get to Inbox as a default.
"Gmail is alive and well," a Google spokesperson said. "We want to provide a seamless way for Inbox users to reach the Inbox site from Gmail.com without having to memorize a new URL. The optional redirect makes it easy to access Inbox regularly, if a user chooses, and it can be turned off with one click under ‘settings’."
Inbox has always been designed to complement the old Gmail view, and it allows people to keep their old Gmail addresses. But the old way of organising email — a long list of subject lines and senders, ordered by date — has remained mostly unchanged since Gmail was first introduced 11 years ago.
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