MailWise, the better Inbox by Gmail email app
It’s wise to be important, but it’s more important to be wise I really wish I would remember who said that quote but in the meantime you can attribute it to me. Nowadays in technology there’s a trend for everything to become smart: smart-appliances, smart-wearables, smart-phones, smart-houses, smart-apps and you-name-what-smart. In fact this “smartness” is so overused that it is slowly becoming the new synonym of “fancy”, instead of what it would suppose to mean.
I’m starting to believe that we don’t need smart things anymore, we need wise ones. A wise device/app would take some important decisions for you based on their intelligence, decisions that make your live easier, not more complicated. As my digital life is at least 40% email-based (i.e. I communicate a lot via email) I did want a wise app to make it easier for me to interact with emails from my smartphone (grin). Easier said than done, if you’ve tried the default email client that usually comes with your phone you know what I’m talking about, that’s why I was pleased to find about about Inbox by Gmail, a new (supposedly) incredible email app for Android.
Unfortunately Google thought that it’s best to release this app via invite-only and after building frustration for about a week to get an invite I realized that the app is not as great as I thought it would be. You see, initially I thought it’s an email app for all email clients, but I haven’t read that correctly and it only works with Gmail accounts. So if you’re like me and don’t want to complicate even more your life with setting up forwarders from other email account providers, Inbox by Gmail won’t work for you.
This is where I discovered MailWise, an email app that’s not just smart, it’s wise. The video below shows in essence how it makes your life easier:
You see, MailWise takes intelligent decisions for you, to help de-clutter your email. First of all, you can feed it with email accounts from multiple sources, everything you’d need from Exchange, Outlook, Office 365 to Hotmail, Gmail, Google apps, Yahoo and even (yes EVEN) AOL. Next, magic happens, MailWise will take those decisions that ease your email management:
- It will unify all your email account sources (“One Inbox to read them all!” – you can quote me on that too).
- It will group notifications so that your social network updates (Facebook, Linkedin, …), newsletters, even birthday notifications and basically other repetitive emails can be ignored (or replied to, if you’re not like me).
- It will create conversation threads, so that just like real conversations will unfold, you’ll see them in a chat-like view even if they were sent in different emails from different people.
- Last but not least (actually this is one of MailWise’s unique selling point), it will strip-naked the incoming emails of useless information such as headers, signatures (no more “Please consider the environment before printing” crap) and other formalities.
And that’s what makes a smart app wise. Now don’t think that the above is all that MailWise does, au contraire it excels in the design & security departments too. Design-wise, the app has a very clean interface, I’d say they followed the Material Design guidelines even before they were released. It uses intuitive gestures to handle email, you swipe an email left to archive it or right for more actions (delete, favorite, …) plus at any time you can slide the screen all the way from the left to see your email folders and email accounts (yes, you can switch from a combined view to a single email account one).
Wonder how Gmail is able to “guess” what ads to show you based on what type of email conversations you have? It’s not much of a guess, it parses your email contents and communicates with a web server to show you ads based on those. Intrusive and embarrassing if it happens for Gmail to display ads about contraception when you’re teaching your mom how to use it.
Now MailWise on the other hand doesn’t communicate at all with an intermediary web server. Your data stays only on your device and on that of the email provider – MailWise doesn’t even have a web server to communicate with. Awesome.
Here’s 50 shades of more awesomeness with MailWise’s main features:
- Simple & Beautiful UI. It would’ve been ironic if MailWise had a complicated/cluttered interface, given that they want to de-clutter your Inbox. But I’m relieved that it didn’t happen, their interface is surprisingly simple – I say surprisingly because it has quite some features and I’m amazed they were able to give you advanced options while keeping the interface clean. Setting up an email account is thus a trivial task, after you enter your configuration details just set how often to sync your data (MailWise syncs contacts and calendars too, not only emails) and emails will start pouring in (which you’re able to sort/filter). Everything is gesture friendly & intuitive.
- Multiple Accounts. Unlike the much-touted Inbox by Gmail, with MailWise you can unify all your email accounts into a single dashboard. It supports the following email services: Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail, Live.com, Outlook, MSN, Gmail, GMX and IMAP. Basically all the popular types/providers are supported and you can check them all.
- De-Clutter Algorithm. On their main website the app is mentioned to have some patent-pending technology, and I believe it has to do with the de-cluttering functions. I say that because MailWise has this unique feature of omitting repetitive information (i.e. signatures, headers and letter like formalities) and allowing you to focus only on the actual content. While stripping all the information is done to ease up email digesting, this is not a permanent alteration. This means your original emails will remain intact and you can switch back to them via a simple Enhanced button.
- Gestures. Ok this is not something introduced by MailWise, but it’s good they support gestures and help manage emails better. As stated earlier, you swipe left to archive a particular email or right to delete, move to folder, mark as unread or favorite it. What I didn’t mention is the fact that these gestures are configurable, so you can modify them to suite what you want to achieve.
- Security. All the data is stored only on your device with full client-side privacy. There’s no cloud to sync with so no chances of your emails getting read by anyone else that you don’t want to share them with (except for NSA). If you’re thinking what happens if your phone crashes, well you still have the emails stored with your provider so no worries there (remember, MailWise is an email client app not an email provider – at least not yet).
- Threaded Conversations. Again, this is not an unique feature as other email clients do/did it, but MailWise does it very well. Emails are smartly aggregated into conversation threads so you have a clear chat-like view of your entire inbox. This way you won’t get 10 different “New Twitter follower” emails, as they’ll be all grouped under a single thread. Same goes for other social network notifications, newsletters and basically everything that is repetitive in any way. This is great for me too since all the emails my mother sends start with “How do I…”.
There are other features available in MailWise, basically most of the things you’d expect the app to have it does. Except support for POP3 accounts, but since the trend is to replace that with IMAP for a while now, I don’t know if this should count as a downside or not.
MailWise is a great Inbox by Gmail replacement and I’m not alone in saying this. The app currently stands at a 4.5 rating on Google Play (with a relevant number of 16,000+ ratings) and has almost half a million downloads, so I believe it’s here to stay. You can check it here: Email for Exchange & Hotmail +.
The app is free and doesn’t have any in-app purchases, which leads me to believe they will either make the app paid in the future or add some type of paid purchase. Unless they build it to be sold as a business. When I was given the chance a long-time back to test Viber (unknown back then), I recognized it will be successful – I have the same feeling about MailWise too (plus, they have in common the fact that both are founded by Israeli entrepreneurs).