Google's Inbox by Gmail, launched five months ago was designed to help users manage -- instead of be inundated by -- their email.
Now, Google is moving ahead with plans to roll out Inbox for Google Apps so people in the workplace can use it to manage email from their bosses, HR, colleagues and friends.
Starting next month, Google will enable Inbox for a small group of Google Apps users. Companies interested in trying it out can email firstname.lastname@example.org from their Google Apps for Work administrator account to apply for an invitation to enter the early adopter program.
"Have you ever felt like your inbox was someone else's to-do list?," Alex Gawley, a director of product management for Google, asked in a blog post. "Requests, project updates and action items stream in all day. You move between your computer and the phone in your pocket to try to manage, and instead of focusing on the most important things, you find yourself focusing on the most recent things."
Now, the company is focusing on enterprise users.
"Even before the first invitations went out to use Inbox for your own email, Googlers have been using it to get more done at work," wrote Gawley. "Whether it's snoozing the expense report notification until after the big presentation, or adding a reminder to schedule lunch with a favorite client, Inbox helps put email on your terms. And since Inbox was built on the same infrastructure as Gmail, it meets the same high security standards you expect from email."
Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said this could be a a big help for workers.
"I believe it's the number one time waster for workers today," said Kerravala. "Some workers get thousands per day and just the process of triaging email to understand what to keep and not keep can take hours."
Some analysts have had concerns about letting software pick and choose what is a priority in an avalanche of email. Kerravala, though, said Inbox could be the beginning of a solution to email overload.
"Even solving part of the problem is better than trying to do it manually," he added. "Even if doesn't solve the entire email problem, kudos for Google for taking a shot at trying to solve it."