Google's email application, Inbox, (along with Google+) has gone to that big Google trashcan in the sky, but there are a number of applications that are eager to fill the gap, like Spark, June.ai, and Spike. Chaim Gartenberg of The Verge is excited about Spark, which recently added an Android application, so I thought I'd take a look at Spike, once known as Hop. He hopes to distinguish himself by presenting emails as chats. (I hope to try June.ai too in the near future).
Spike is available as a web application and as a macOS, Windows, iOS or Android application. Your email threads are presented in bubbles, similar to Slack or Facebook Messenger, with the subject of the conversation at the top of the page and only the names and icons of the senders are immediately visible. All other information (except the message, of course) remains hidden. Tap any specific email, and it will appear in a more traditional format.
This can be a bit disconcerting at first, and if you prefer your email in a more, well, email format, Spike is not for you. While it does not have the very useful grouping feature that the Google Inbox had, that many Inbox fans are mourning the loss, Spike's method of combining emails can make it easier to read, track and delete of emails.
The application allows you to organize your email in three types of "conversations". You can use the traditional format of Inbox / Envoys, or you can organize by subject or by people. I found that this last mode is very useful, especially for tracking long email threads. By clicking on a single email, I could instantly see, say, several months of fundraising requests from a single organization, click on the garbage icon and immediately send the entire package. You could also easily scan all those emails to see if it was worth keeping them.
In addition to those three organizational categories, Spike automatically classifies emails as "priority." "U" other ", which makes it easy to pay attention to important things and check the less important emails later on.The ranking is at the top of the main page.Touch an arrow and you can easily move from one to the other. Little to my surprise, I found that the application did a good job of distinguishing what was important and what was not, in fact, during my testing week, no email was mistakenly classified as "other" that should have been "Priority." That said, you can disable that feature so that your email list is simply in reverse chronological order.) At the bottom of the application, the icons give you quick access to several other features, including a Simple calendar, your contact list and Groups, which are Slack-type collaborative workspaces where several people can chat.When you create a group, we contact the members We invite you to join.
There are many other cool features. For example, the tiny icons in the corner of each message let you know when an email was sent correctly (with a checkmark) and when it was read (with a little green eye). Spike users can also make audio / video calls to each other, which can be useful, especially if they are using the Group option. A row of icons at the top, representing your most frequent correspondents, makes it very easy to access the latest email exchanges with those people. And if you have more than one email account, you can see the emails of an individual account or all of your accounts at the same time.
Unfortunately, Spike also has some flaws. The mobile application can be very slow, especially when you are sending or archiving emails. The interface facilitates the deletion of a single email or of all the emails of a sender, but I could not figure out how to delete only some of the emails. And although the conversation mode was interesting, it sometimes got in the way.
But if you're a sad user of Google Inbox who is looking for a substitute, especially if you tend to use email for long conversations, and Gmail simply Spike can not do it for you, it could be a good alternative.
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