Not with a bang, but with a tweet: yesterday Google announced via Twitter that Inbox, their alternative mail client introduced in 2014, will shut down as of March 2019.
The transition guide linked in the tweet notes that some of Inbox’s features will be integrated into the traditional Gmail product, including Smart Reply and snooze/nudge options for delayed follow-ups.
The closure of Inbox is not likely to have a major impact on senders. While messages were grouped slightly differently, the structure of Inbox is similar to that of Gmail’s tabs and labels. With that said, it’s always important to watch your own metrics and be mindful of any changes in Gmail response rates around the time of shutdown.
While Google never released solid numbers, it’s easy to infer that Inbox never gained the kind of traction they had hoped – or maybe it was a glorified sandbox that allowed them to test some of their ideas for the primary Gmail product. In any case, those of us who used it as our daily driver are left looking for an alternative before next spring.