I have been using Gmail’s tabbed Inbox for quite a few weeks now.
I prefer to have Inbox Zero or close to it. My latest favourite tool was Mailbox. Using Mailbox I could quickly scan, action, delay or archive email messages while saving heaps of time and keeping my Inbox lean. But the new Gmail Inbox goes further for me. Key observations:
Smartness – The auto detection of email and sorting in various tabs really works well for 98% of my email.
Time saving – Because the auto detection works well, I can focus on getting the most important email out of the way first. All I need to do is check the Primary tab. Of course I can train Gmail to put specific email under a preferred tab.
Delete All – I get a lot of notifications from Facebook, Twitter and other services. I still want to receive them but do not necessary check them all the time. Because messages are automatically sorted under the Social or the Promotions tab, deleting read/unread/all messages is much easier. No need to search for “label:inbox from:facebook” and then deleting messages.
Overall, I am saving more time while focusing on the most important messages first. My Gmail Inbox is more organised. I still use Mailboxapp but it is my second favorite Email app for now.
Dave Winer puts his thoughts on why he thinks Google Circles will fail. I have the same problem with Circles (but not necessarily think that it will fail for everybody). As much as I like to be organised, I doubt I will keep on shuffling people from one group to the other. It might start off with a professional relationship (and hence in a circle called Professional) and then move that relationship further into being friends with them. I doubt that I will keep on reshuffling people and will be difficult to manage it after a while. This comes from my experience of using lists on Facebook.
To simplify and if I can foresee value of Google Circles in the long run, I might start off with most of my contact being in the friends circle and then categorising them further from there. With over 1000 online contacts (between LinkedIn, Facebook and Gmail) it can become a job in itself to keep the Circles organised at all the time. Time will tell.
One of Google’s core values is “Don’t be evil.” [Note: it’s not “do no evil.” Why not? Personally, I think it’s because it’s impossible to exist in this world without someone, somewhere perceiving some action you do as evil.
Ture – I just realized that Google’s core value is “Don’t be evil” and not “do no evil”. As Matt points out, it’s hard to be everything to every one all the time.
For me – Google foremost stands for one word “Trust”. I trust Google and that’s why I let Google manage a lot of my data. I trust Google that that’s why I allow it to collect information so that I can get a better experience using it’s product. I trust Google that it will do the right thing by me and not break my trust!