In essence, what Google wanted was a do-over. Gmail, a decade old at the time, was starting to feel ill-suited for taming the wild beast email had become. Inbox was designed to be a “completely different type of inbox,” as then senior VP Sundar Pichai put it at the time—a “better way to get back to what matters.”
It didn’t look or feel like Gmail, Pichai explained, and that was the very point of its existence.
As it turns out, reinventing email on such a foundational level may have been too bold of a gamble. Despite its devoted base of users, Inbox evidently didn’t amass enough adopters to warrant Google’s ongoing investment.
After bringing a few of the service’s features into Gmail earlier this year—including easier access to attachments, native support for snoozing, and cross-platform availability of predictive text for composing—Google announced last week that it would discontinue Inbox and shut it down for good in March.