[App Friday] Spike revolutionizes email by making it feel like WhatsApp texts, but glitches ruin the experience

The sad truth of life, sometimes, is that some emails don’t “find us well”.

Email, especially work email, is the bane of most people’s existence and the latest hotbed of internet memes. Since 2020 when the pandemic hit, staying connected digitally has played a bigger and bigger role in the workspace than ever before – and e-mails have become an integral part of the operation.

While they’ve managed to get a little smarter, with auto-reply suggestions, filters, and rules, and giving people more tools to personalize their inboxes, the format hasn’t really done much. exchange.

The core UI/UX has remained the same – nothing substantive has changed.

And it’s understandable that Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and other email service providers haven’t bothered to revamp the format of the communication window. I mean, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

The fact is that traditional e-mails are competing with WhatsApp, Telegram and Slack, especially in the workplace where most of us tend to rely more on email. That’s not to say email is going away anytime soon, but it might be time to reinvent the traditional inbox layout to make it more conversational.

Peak is trying to change that – and his take on conversational messaging flow is quite interesting. The app is available on Android and iOS, both. On the Google Play Store, it has a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars, and five lakh-plus downloads.

What it basically does is turn a two-way email into a text message type layoutwhich greatly facilitates their processing and makes it much easier to follow the conversation compared to the traditional method.

Representative picture

Signing up is easy – just log in to your email account from the app. The app is free if you plug in your personal email – and you can plug an unlimited number of personal emails into the app.

For work emails, however, there is a 14 day trial period, after which you will have to shell out Rs 606, or $8, per month. Students can use Spike for free with their college email credentials.

The app also lets you create notes, to-do lists, workgroups with friends — basically like a Slack, but over email — and declutter the inbox.

Our experience of using the application

I tested the app with my work email because that’s where I spend the most time, compared to my personal email account.

There are several notable features on the app that are really useful:

  • The conversation flow: Spike was turning my email back and forth — and there were many email exchanges — in a very pretty, WhatsApp-like format, which made it infinitely easier to respond to incoming mail and, more importantly, follow the conversation without having to scroll through the whole thread again.

It’s hard to put into words how effective this makes emailing, but I’ll try. As a journalist, I correspond with at least eight to ten people every day, whether it’s following a story or setting up a call. In the midst of it all, I get 15-20 PR pitches, which bury the conversations I had had — and I often have to rely on my “sent” inbox to retrieve those emails.

Where Spike made a difference is that he did easier for me to see conversations I had – emails that I replied to or reacted to. And it helped me follow conversations I had been in the middle of much faster than I normally would on the usual interface.

  • The note-taking function: I immediately loved this feature because I like keeping a handy list of notes and tasks to keep track of all the projects I’m involved in. Usually I use the builtin function macOS Notes appor a physical notebook — but it’s easy to lose track of them, and I have to keep switching between apps to update my notes.

However, Spike’s built-in email note-taking feature is state-of-the-art and makes it so much easier to quickly perform grading from the app, without ever having to leave the platform.

Spike is truly revolutionizing your email inbox – but there’s Questions with the application, some are quite glaring and annoying.

To begin with, there are quite a few learning curve when you log in for the first time. The UI is very busy and there’s a lot to get used to – which is good, and basically just a matter of giving you some time to get used to the interface.

What really bothered me was the way it organized my inbox.

For some reason my latest emails kept getting pushed down or sorted into the “other” folder – and after putting the app through its paces for about two weeks, I haven’t still not understand the rationale for sorting.

Second, I noticed that some emails took a long time to deliver and receive, even though it was just text emails, with no attachments or photos. This was quite concerning as I was starting to worry about missing important emails. Sometimes calendar invitations were not showing up in my inbox.

It should be noted though that Spike managed to keep my 18 “filtered” inboxes I had set up using the rules feature on Gmail – something I haven’t seen many email client apps do as well as Spike.

Still, the thrill of seeing my rules apply to my Spike inbox was quickly replaced by annoyance when I realized the app was using my sign-in/sign-out space to announce oneself, without my permission. Apparently this can be disabled from the app somewhere, but it wasn’t easy to locate this option given how many options and things there are on Spike’s busy platform.

What the ‘notes’ and ‘task’ interfaces look like on Spike

Many times the application frozen in the middle of me composing an email or replying to an email, or if I select multiple emails to delete, it would close randomly. The glitches hampered the superior experience one can certainly get from Spike if it worked well – and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Verdict

The conversational messaging feature is amazing and it’s hard to imagine any other way to really change the format of the inbox other than this. However, the few issues I faced put me off the app and I found myself switching back to the native Gmail app to track my emails.

Still, the messaging feature was really fun to use, and I preferred the app to Gmail when I had to revert to threads that had a lot of back and forth.

The cost doesn’t justify it for me though.

According to Indian standards, Rs 600 is on the higher side, and I prefer to use Telegram or WhatsApp or even Gmail to keep control of my mails and correspondences. Added to this is the fact that I kind of lost faith in the app to get my emails on time, or even organize it properly enough for me to notice my recent emails – so at professional purposes, Spike doesn’t cut it for me.

For personal emails, a free feature on the app I’d be willing to try. But since my personal inbox isn’t very active, at least for me, I prefer to stick with the native Gmail app.

Overall, I would wait for the app to drop its price, or at least simplify its interface and get rid of all its bugs before subscribing.

But if you’re willing to pay and looking for something to help you better manage your emails, Spike is definitely one of the best email client platforms.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

About Raymond A. Bentley

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