Shortwave is a new Google Inbox-inspired email app
Google left many people disappointed in 2019 when the company shut down Inbox by Gmail (also known as Google Inbox), an email application that connected to Gmail and organized your messages in easy-to-read bundles. Several other email apps and services have implemented similar functionality, but now what might be the closest imitator has arrived: Shortwave.
Shortwave (via Android Police) looks nearly identical to Inbox, with a list of email messages bundled by their conversation or topic. The official website says, “Threads are automatically categorized and bundled together to keep you organized by default. Want to customize things? Re-organize with drag ‘n drop or use notification settings to control what enters your inbox.”
Shortwave is backed by a company of the same name, based in San Francisco. Some of the staff previously worked at Google — Shortwave’s CEO Andrew Lee was Firebase’s co-founder, CPO Jacob Wenger and CTO Jonny Dimond were core developers at Firebase, founding designer Ali Berlin Johnson was a senior UX designer at Google, and so on.
Besides sorting your emails, Shortwave also has markdown support when drafting emails, an option to pin important emails/groups to the top of the screen, a snooze feature (just like regular Gmail), and a few other improvements. However, there are some catches right now — it only connects to Gmail accounts, the desktop version is a website, and the Android app is just a web wrapper. Shortwave told Android Police that it hopes to completely rebuild the Android app to be a native application, but there’s no telling when that will be ready.
Software developers have to eat too, so Shortwave is a paid service — it can access the past 90 days of your Gmail messages for free, but if you want to access older messages, you’ll need to pay up. The standard plan costs $9 per person per month (Shortwave hopes businesses will be the main customers), so if you want to relive the golden days of Inbox, it will cost about two-thirds of a Netflix subscription.