The News Bee

Google’s Gmail hits 900 million users, opens up Inbox

Google’s Gmail hits 900 million users, opens up Inbox

Extending the lead of the world’s most popular email service, Gmail now reaches 900 million around the globe, more than double the 425 million monthly active users that it had three years ago. Google’s senior vice president of products, Sundar Pichai, made the announcement Thursday during the Internet giant’s annual I/O developers conference. More than three-quarters of Gmail users are logging on from mobile devices.google_2357100b

Seizing on that momentum, Google is opening up a new version of Gmail to the public, this one redesigned for mobile devices. Called Inbox, it launched as an invitation-only service in October. Google says it’s a smarter way to sort through the daily torrent of messages. Inbox is making its public debut with new features that Google hopes will entice people to try it.

Silicon Valley is looking to refresh decades-old email technology now that people are spending so much of their time squinting at small screens. For Google, that has meant building a service “from the ground up for the mobile world” that shoulders more of the busy work for people, Alex Gawley, director of product management for Gmail and Inbox by Gmail, said in an interview this week.

Inbox helps users stay more organized by grouping together bank statements or receipts from purchases so they can be quickly reviewed then swiped away without going into the message. It highlights important information from e-mails such as photos of a newborn or a document from a co-worker, without having to open the email.

Users can create tasks or add reminders to the top of the inbox such as pick up milk or the dry cleaning. To help users complete a task, Inbox uses “assists.” Make a restaurant reservation online, and Inbox adds a map to the confirmation e-mail. Book a flight online, Inbox gives a link to check in. Email and reminders can be snoozed so they only return to the inbox when you arrive at home or the office or at a specific time. Inbox also displays useful information that isn’t in the e-mail, say the real-time status of a flight booked online or of a package being delivered.