How to try Shortwave, the Google Inbox-like email app from ex-Googlers - MrLiambi's blog


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Monday 21 February 2022

How to try Shortwave, the Google Inbox-like email app from ex-Googlers

Imagine a Google Inbox-like app that can help you achieve Inbox Zero, and it's even made by former employees at Google. Well, that exists. It's called Shortwave. 

What is Shortwave?

Shortwave is a new email app that reminds us of the ill-fated Google Inbox, an Inbox Zero email app well-loved by those who used it until it landed in Google's famed graveyard of killed products.

Shortwave, like Inbox, is completely dedicated to helping you declutter your inbox and make it more manageable on a daily basis. It does this by smartly grouping related email threads into bundles you can quickly respond to, snooze, or pin for reading later. Oh, and it offers a fast composing experience that supports markdown shortcuts and text-based mentions, which makes sending and writing emails much more frictionless. Finally, there are even real-time collaboration features - including messaging with emoji reactions - just for teams. The best part is Shortwave has a free tier.

How does Shortwave work?

Getting starts

The first time you sign up and log in, Shortwave will confirm some preferences and give you a quick tour while it imports your inbox.

  1. Go to or download the Shortwave app.
    • Shortwave is now available on iOS and desktop.
    • The Shortwave beta test for Android is currently underway.
  2. Sign in with Google and grant all permissions.
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Key features

Email is a never-ending struggle. Chances are your inbox has hundreds if not thousands of messages and is a chore to clean up. Shortwave aims to help with that with these key features:

  • Bundles: Instead of showing you a wall of threads, Shortwave automatically categorises and groups related threads into bundles.
  • Actions: Every email has three simple actions you can take. You can pin important emails to the top to respond to later, or you can snooze it. Everything else can be marked done with one click.
  • Smart editor: To help you better understand complex threads and respond to emails faster and with less friction, Shortwave has a smart editor and light-weight compose box that supports special mentions of rich media and offers intuitive shortcuts as you type.
  • Workspaces: Teams can create shared channels for any topic or project to collaborate on together. There are even typing indicators for Slack-like real-time messaging and emoji reactions.

How much does Shortwave cost?

  • Free: Shortwave is free to join, but you are limited to 90-day search and email history and have fewer team features on the free tier.
  • Standard: For $9 per person per month, you get all the Free features, unlock everything else, and also have Workspace roles.

How to join the Shortwave Android beta

Shortwave has a private distribution list where it's offering eager Android users the ability to test the Shortwave Android app.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Join The Shortwave beta test Google Group using your Google Play Store email.
    • You will automatically be automatically added to the Shortwave distribution list.
  2. Now, download the Shortwave Android app from the Play Store.
  3. Sign in to Shortwave.

Keep in mind Shortwave syncs with your existing email account, so getting set up is as simple as signing in with your Gmail account.

Who founded Shortwave?

The team behind Shortwave claims to have also built products at Google that were used by millions.

For instance, Shortwave's CEO and founder, Andrew Lee, was a director of engineering at Google for three years, while Shortwave's chief product officer, Jacob Wegner, was a senior software engineer at Google for two years. Even the app's founding designer, Ali Berlin Johnson, was a senior UX designer at the Mountain View-based search giant for three years.

Does Shortwave have any investors?

Shortwave is backed by investors such as Union Square Ventures and Lightspeed Venture Partner.

Want to know more?

Looking for more information about the Shortwave Android beta test? Check out Shortwave's FAQ here. If you want to know more about how the app works in general, see Shortwave's quickstart guide.

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