Android Intelligence Advice

This smart new service brings Google Docs, Trello, and Notion together — in your inbox

No matter what email client you're using, this ingenious new tool will save you tons of time and make your favorite productivity apps even more useful.

Google Docs, Trello, Notion - inbox

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It's pretty rare that I stumble onto a new service and think, "Whoa! This is exactly what I've been missing. And I didn't even know I was missing it."

Well, my fellow efficiency-obsessed earthlings, I'm ecstatic to report that that magnificent moment just happened — and the service in question is a little somethin' called Hitsnag.

Hitsnag? Hitsnag. (I'm assuming that's meant to be read as "hit-SNAG" and not "hits-NAG," but I'll leave that up to your own interpretation.) The service may sound like a funky-lookin' protrusion you'd go to the dermatologist to get removed, but don't let its name fool you: Hitsnag is an incredibly clever way to connect some of your favorite productivity tools to your inbox and make 'em more useful than ever. If you're familiar with the app-connecting automation platform Zapier, it's kinda like that — only it exists entirely in email, without any extra apps to open or complicated processes to configure.

Right now, Hitsnag works with Google Docs, Notion, and Trello, and even more integrations are in the works. Already, though, the service makes it almost impossibly easy to interact with your info in any of the supported apps without ever having to leave your inbox.

Let's say, for instance, you've got an email you want to dump over into a Google Docs document for future contemplation. Maybe it's a draft of something a colleague sent over, maybe it's a note you wrote to yourself in the wee hours of the night whilst consuming copious amounts of canned cheese, or maybe it's even, ahem, a super-awesome knowledge-filled newsletter by an unusually handsome fellow. Whatever the case may be, with Hitsnag set up, all you've gotta do is forward the email to from any address you have associated with your account. You put the name you want for the document in the subject line and leave whatever text you want in the body.

Google Docs Inbox (1) JR

Hit "Send" on that sucker, and a second later, bam: You'll have a Google Docs document with the exact info you beamed over — and with all of your formatting and styling in place.

Google Docs Inbox (2) JR

You could do the same thing with any manner of info you enter into an email, whether it's a message you're forwarding or something new you're typing out on the spot. And if you ever want to edit an existing Google Docs document, by golly, you can do that, too: You just put the document's name into the subject line of an email, then put whatever text you want to add into the body. When you send the message, that text will get tacked onto the end of the matching document — and even if you don't get the document's name exactly right, Hitsnag will usually figure it out and find the closest matching document within your Google Docs storage.

Pretty nifty, right? I thought so. And it only gets cooler from there. The same basic concept we just went over with Docs also applies to Trello and Notion, but in those scenarios, you can get even more nuanced and include info like the name of the board or page you want to target with whatever info you're emailing.

And here's the really intriguing part: In addition to sending stuff to any one of those services, you can also use Hitsnag to send something to multiple supported services at once — if, say, you've got a thought or an email that you want to add into both a Google Docs document and a Trello card or maybe a note you want to toss into both Trello and Notion. All you do is include the appropriate service addresses in the message's recipient field, and Hitsnag handles the rest.

It all works the same whether you're emailing from your phone, your computer, your internet-connected turkey baster, or whatever other weird contraptions you've got — and whether you're using Gmail, Hotmail, LukewarmMail, or any other email service imaginable.

Best of all, what we're seeing now is still only the start. In addition to Google Docs, Notion, and Trello, Hitsnag plans to add support for Slack, Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, Asana, and possibly even Google Calendar in the months ahead. This service is poised to turn your inbox into an all-purpose hub for interacting with all of your productivity apps, and that's pretty forkin' fantastic, if you ask me.

Now, ready for the icing on this already-delectable geek-sprinkled cake? This thoughtful, polished, and professionally packaged creation isn't actually the work of some well-funded startup, as you'd expect after exploring it. It's the brainchild of two ambitious high school seniors from Atlanta. They were "the same type of nerd" and living just a couple houses away from each other for eight years without realizing it, as one of the creators, Yash Kadadi, recounted to me in a recent email conversation. Once they met, clicked, and started putting their heads together, Hitsnag is what came out. (Kadadi plans to attend Stanford to study computer science in the fall, by the way, while his cohort, Aidan Pratt, is headed to Georgia Tech for the same purpose.)

For now, at least, Hitsnag is free to use as part of an "early bird deal" offered on its home page. Eventually, Kadadi and Pratt expect to move to more of a freemium model, where certain integrations and higher limits on usage are available for a small monthly fee.

As for the all-important area of privacy, you invariably do have to connect Hitsnag to any apps you're using with it — Google Docs, Trello, Notion, and whatever else comes up down the road — and grant the service permission to view and modify your info in those environments. Obviously, the service couldn't do what it's doing without that level of access.

That being said, the company's privacy policy indicates that no personal data from any of the associated services is collected; basically, only your email address and general usage data are stored, and they're used for pretty standard-seeming, non-spontaneous-regurgitation-inducing purposes. Kadadi further confirmed to me that they never share or sell any user data, engage in any manner of targeted advertising, or access any information beyond what's absolutely required for the service.

At the end of the day, the age of Hitsnag's creators matters far less the nature of what they created. It's rare to find a service that seems almost shockingly smart, sensible, and effective at solving a real-world problem you didn't even realize needed solving. Hitsnag, however, fits that description to a tee. It's one of the most useful and potential-packed tools I've stumbled onto in ages, and it only stands to get even more indispensable from here.

Want more productivity-boosting knowledge? Sign up for my weekly newsletter to get next-level tips and insight delivered directly to your inbox (where you can then forward them into other services, even, using this very tool! Whoa...).

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