There was a day a few years ago where I received 1000 emails.
I’m super careful about using my email address on online forms and what not, but every single time I go to a conference or attend an industry event I somehow manage to get signed up for another dozen or so related lists thanks to someone passing out my deets.
No matter how careful you are, if you’re not diligent it’s easy for your inbox to spiral out of control. And when it gets too full, you end up missing the emails you want to see because they’ve somehow gotten buried in a pile of emails you don’t.
Now there’s a new app that wants to provide a robotic helping hand to make navigating through the chaos easier. Called Astro, the Android and iOS app has an AI assistant built in that reminds you to respond to emails from friends while also suggesting you unsubscribe from those promotional emails you never open.
I’ve been using it for a little over a month, and have been really impressed.
On the surface it’s just like any other email app. Your messages are divided up into two inboxes, a “Priority” one full of messages it thinks you want to see, and an “Other” box with everything else. The app also offers some other features like email tracking and snoozing.
That’s great and all, but the magic really comes from the app’s built-in digital assistant. When you tap into that, the assistant makes smart suggestions of things you should do based on how it sees you’re interacting with your inbox. For instance, today Astro asked me if I wanted it to automatically archive messages from Grubhub because it looks like I haven’t been reading them (or more like I didn’t even realize I was subscribed to them), and suggested that I add my friend Allison to my VIP list because it looks like we’re interacting frequently.
Yes, I could have done through my inbox and figured all that out myself. But would I have? Probably not. And those were questions I could answer while I was riding in a Lyft to meet a friend.
This week, the app added Slack integration. So, if you’re like me and have your face buried in a Slack channel all day long, the app can let you know when an important email comes in. They also took things a step further to make Astro’s search bar work with Slack, so if you can’t remember whether you had a convo with a coworker in Slack or via email (the answer is always the opposite of what you think it is) you can search both at once.
Astro also works with Alexa, so you can have her read through messages and even send quick replies hands free while you’re still in bed or cooking breakfast in the morning. And it’s all free.
You can give it a try here for Android and here for iOS.