Inbox started something special, or at least that’s what most former Inbox users tell me. It was great at intelligently sorting and grouping incoming messages, especially with regard to travel arrangements, newsletters for online retailers, and a few other things that went into “bundles.” After Google announced plans to terminate Inbox, promises were made to integrate most of the popular features into the Gmail app, but some of them didn’t make it on time, or seemingly at all. However, the latest Gmail update appears to be preparing those beloved capabilities to make the jump.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android’s application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It’s possible that the guesses made here are wrong or inaccurate. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that products could change or may be canceled. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it’s officially announced and released.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don’t expect to see these features if you install the apk. All screenshots and images are real unless otherwise stated, and images are only altered to remove personal information.
Labels, the artist formerly known as Bundles
This is going to look familiar to Inbox users, so there’s little point in beating around the bush. The telltale elements of bundles are showing up, including some basic boilerplate lines, plus the more explicit elements that confirm there probably won’t be any big changes.
The Travel bundle appears to be the first, and it should be relatively unchanged except for the name. Instead of referring to these as bundles, Gmail will prefer the term ‘label’ now.
And just like bundles, Gmail will automatically add certain emails so they show up in the Travel label. This will make them easier to find when you’re working your way through airports or arriving at hotels.
<string name=“travel_onboarding_title“>Your new Travel label</string>
<string name=“travel_onboarding_summary“>Emails like this will automatically appear in your Travel label</string>
<string name=“trips_uri“ formatted=“false“>https://www.google.com/travel/trips/trip?msg_id=%s&hl=%s&dest_src=agm</string>
As the graphic shows, Gmail will place the Travel label prominently in the navigation drawer. While this may have been a good location in the past, it seems more cumbersome to use now thanks to Google’s insistence on pressing ahead with gesture navigation with a swipe from the side triggering either the back action, the navigation drawer, or an archive/delete on a message.
Travel is the most filled out of the labels, but Purchases may be the next in line. Right now there’s only a title, and there may not be much more to add, but it’s classically a favorite because it simplifies keeping track of all your emails from online stores.
Things get a little more generic at this point, but the remaining additions to this version include a label for a shortcut to call a phone number, a couple lines representing the expansion of card stacks, and what looks like a settings toggle for turning these labels on or off.
<string name=“cd_smartmail_card_expanded“>%1$s, %2$s – Card Expanded</string>
<string name=“cd_smartmail_card_collapsed“>%1$s, %2$s – Card Collapsed</string>
<string name=“preferences_hb_toggle_summary“ />
<string name=“preferences_hb_toggle_title“ />
excerpt from /xml/gmail_account_preferences.xml
<CheckBoxPreference android:title=“@string/preferences_hb_toggle_title“ android:key=“hb-toggle“ android:summary=“@string/preferences_hb_toggle_summary“ android:defaultValue=“false“ />
bundles labels are fashionably late to the party, I’m sure many Inbox users will be happy to see them making a return. There are still a few more features people want to see, but this is probably the largest and most challenging on the list, so it might be a sign the Gmail team may be through with the hardest part of the work.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.