The inbox sure ain’t what it used to be.
It’s hard to even remember now, but way back in the prehistoric internet era of the early 2000s, an inbox was quite literally just an inbox — a place where your incoming email landed and waited for you to answer (or, perhaps more likely, ignore) it.
Now, following Google’s recent repositioning of Gmail as a collaboration-friendly productivity hub, email is only one small part of what the inbox represents. The new Gmail setup is a mashup of email, one-on-one messaging, channel-driven team chat, individual and group video meetings, and even multiperson document work. It’s a “new home for work,” as Google puts it, and there’s really no single point of focus — as the website’s newly expanded left-of-screen sidebar makes immediately apparent.