Edit: That's all the time we have. Thanks for all of the questions, we had a lot of fun!

If you have any comments, complaints, or feature requests, please be sure to file feedback through the app (Left nav -> Help & Feedback -> Send feedback), we love to hear what you have to say and we pay close attention to your feedback.

If you want an invite, you can still email [email protected] from your gmail.com email address and we'll send you an invite soon.

Hello, reddit!

We are members of the Inbox team. Inbox is by the same people who brought you Gmail, but it’s not Gmail: it’s a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters. It's an inbox that works for you. Many of you have had a chance to try it out, so we thought we’d answer any questions you might have about its development, design and features.

We have three team members today and will be here from 10:00 to 12:00 PST (That’s 13:00 to 15:00 EST) to answer your questions.

We are:

Vijay U. (/u/therealvuma), Product Manager

Jason C. (/u/jasoncornwell), Designer

Taylor K. (/u/tayloratinbox), Software Engineer

PS: Can you get an invite? Yes! From 10am-12 noon PST today anyone who requests an invite by emailing [email protected] using an @gmail.com email address will get one by the end of the day.

Proof: Twitter, G+

Comments: 1123 • Responses: 13  • Date: 

PokemonLover17184 karma

Hey guys. What feature did you really wish was implemented but didn't make the cut? And why?

tayloratinbox272 karma

For me it’s a tie between Undo Send and cross-browser support. Both are being worked on but just weren’t ready in time for launch.

LiterallyTheInternet118 karma

Will Undo Send be added eventually? That has saved me many a time.

tayloratinbox183 karma

Yes, we're working on it right now.

ArthurVx111 karma

Will Inbox have Google Drive integration some day, like Gmail already has?

tayloratinbox124 karma

Yes! We’re surprised by how strong the demand has been for Drive integrations, especially Drive attachments. We’ll be working with the team in the new year to bring a lot of that awesomeness into Inbox.

LazyCouchPotato102 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA!

I just wanted to understand how Google's app development team works. Here's an article from Android Police about the inconsistencies regarding how the nav drawer and the hamburger menu should behave when pulled out. Is there nobody at Google looking over these apps? Do the dev teams get different memo's regarding the same Material Design guidelines?

tayloratinbox206 karma

Disclaimer: I’m a developer on the web client and not the Android app.

The Material Design guidelines were still under development while many recent apps were being designed. We expect to resolve consistency issues in upcoming releases.

felixwraith80 karma

Hello! When are you opening Inbox to other Browsers? I'm a Firefox user at work and I can't use Inbox due it it being restricted.

tayloratinbox71 karma

We’re working as fast as we can on enabling other browsers as soon as possible. We're already doing Google-wide testing for cross-browser support but we want to make sure that everything works perfectly before enabling it for all of our users.

jtbandes16 karma

How does this testing process work? Changing Safari's user agent to Chrome makes it work fine.

tayloratinbox48 karma

We have a formal QA process, and we’re also relying on Googlers to use it internally and report any issues they find.

For example, Inbox has some animations that “jump” in Safari and we’re working to fix that before releasing Safari support for everyone.

LordAcoustic25 karma

Thanks All for doing this AMA!

I was curious how everyone got put together on this team?

I'm guessing the selection process for each of your positions is a little different(e.g., designer selection process is different than software engineer), so I was kind of wondering how the team was brought together? Was there anything that you can remember during your selection process that looked at how well you'd work together in a cross-disciplinary team? When developing Inbox, did you collaborate with individuals in other roles on a daily basis? Things like that!


tayloratinbox23 karma

Overall, everyone on the team went through the standard Google interviewing process before joining the company. The same team people who built Gmail are behind the creation Inbox.

Many teams at Google are cross-disciplinary, and the same collaboration skills are important on all of our teams, across disciplines and across offices around the world. For example, the core Inbox team includes members in 5 different Google offices, and we collaborate with a number of other teams across all of Google.

Our team is really close-knit. As an engineer, I work very closely with folks like Vijay and Jason when building new features.

rebraBrednaxelA24 karma

Will Inbox have improved HTML rendering, including use of media queries in the form of "@media"?

Will there be any official documentation on supported tags and features in HTML(5) and CSS(3)?

I am currently in a role as a HTML email developer/Web developer so this information would be awesome.

tayloratinbox25 karma

Just to clarify, when you say improved HTML rendering are you talking about the entire webpage or just message contents?

Edit: Understand the question now. Inbox and Gmail use the same HTML sanitizer and media queries etc. aren’t supported. This is one of our top feature requests from developers though and we’re looking into adding it.

meladorri14 karma

We're talking about the message—the actual email itself. Designers and developers send what is essentially a one-page website to Gmail, including <head> <style> and <body> tags. Gmail removes the <style> block from the <head>, making any formatting disappear. This also prevents @media queries and responsive email from working, and makes life hard for everyone.

tayloratinbox13 karma

Thanks for clarifying, edited my post.

CedarMadness20 karma

Why support only Chrome? I get that you probably think Chrome is the best, but requiring the company browser just reminds me of Microsoft.

tayloratinbox41 karma

First and foremost, our intention isn’t to push users to use Chrome over any other browser. We’re working as fast as we can on enabling all other browsers as soon as possible.

When Inbox was in early development, the product and UX teams were iterating rapidly on the features and overall visual design. We would receive new mocks several times a day on some features and be expected to build them ASAP in order to get feedback and iterate. We were able to move at a phenomenal speed by writing code that worked just in Chrome and ignoring other browsers. We didn’t purposefully break other browsers, but figured it wasn’t worth writing code that worked everywhere when there was a high probability that the design or behavior would change tomorrow. As a result, there are a handful of features that are broken due to various browsers bugs we’re just now realizing (here’s one example that breaks inline image attachments and plus-mentions in Firefox).

Why Chrome instead of any other browser? Most of the Inbox team, and most Googlers in general, use Chrome as their primary browser at work and home. Inbox also does some crazy stuff with javascript and CSS that really push browsers to their limits. We were able to work directly with the Chrome team to improve how the browser does things like rendering animations. (Our animations infrastructure is crazy complicated and worthy of its own AMA.) We’re now talking with Apple and Mozilla about how to optimize our animations, both through improvements on our side and improvements in their respective browsers, but we couldn’t do this before we launched publicly.

Finally, we realize many of our early adopters are likely using Chrome, so we figured it would be ok to have a small period where we’re Chrome-only and then sprint to enable other browsers as quickly as possible.

H1DD3NT3CH12 karma

Will there be a mobile browser version and support for browsers other than chrome?

tayloratinbox15 karma

We don’t have plans for a mobile browser version right now. We’ll definitely support other desktop browsers though, we’re working on that right now.

Mathbou9410 karma

Could you give us a little heads up as to what is next for Inbox? What new features?

I personnally use it all the time! But I'd like to know about the ability to transform emails into calendar events! Will that be possible?

Thank you guys!

tayloratinbox17 karma

It’s still early days, so we have really exciting plans for Inbox: we’re starting with email, but ultimately our goal is to build a tool to manage all of the things you need to get back to in your life. Email is a great place to start because it contains lots of things that you need to get back to already. So, of course, we’re not ready to share many of the coolest things that we’re working on because they’re still in development.

At the same time, there are a lot of things that Gmail already does that we know that we need to pull in to Inbox before we open Inbox to everyone. I can’t give all of them away but a few that I can mention are undo send, cross-browser support, and tablet support.

Be sure to submit any feature requests through the app (left nav -> Help & Feedback -> Send feedback). We pay close attention to each piece of feedback we receive.

nazbot8 karma

Im really interested in the technology you guys used - specifically writing the core modules in java and then using tools to convert those into native objective-c or javascript libraries. Can you talk a little bit about that process and also what pitfalls you encountered?

If I was thinking of suggesting these tools to use at work/personal projects would you say they are production ready or is there still a fair amount of troubleshooting required.


tayloratinbox11 karma

We talked about our cross-client architecture in the Gmail blog recently.

The process works really well and has a lot of benefits, namely we reduce code duplication, and it makes it much easier for each of the Inbox clients (web, Android, iOS) to ship features together. The logic is written once and then ported to all 3 platforms, leaving the frontend developers to focus on the UI.

The biggest downside is that sometimes the shared code has to be written in weird ways because it needs to support the quirks of each platform. For example, we avoid overloaded methods due to the way GWT exports them.

The tools (j2objc and GWT, specifically) are definitely production-ready. One thing that’s helped us a lot is that we have folks who work on these tools on our team as well. A lot of GWT patches that have landed in the last year were specifically for Inbox’s use cases.