Shift into a new way of working with this app

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Always on the lookout for new and interesting apps, I was scrolling through Instagram when one ad caught my attention. It promised to bring up all my email accounts into one easy to use platform. Intrigued, I decided to try it out. This is how I began my interaction with Shift.

So, what exactly is Shift?

Well, apart from being a key on a keyboard, Shift is an app for Microsoft Windows, Mac and Linux. The latest version was launched a few weeks ago and I decided to take it for a spin. Launching the app for the first time, I was asked to login to my primary email account. This account is what Shift will associate in the future. Once the sign-up process was completed, my journey with Shift was about to begin.

Shift
Setting up Shift is extremely easy

The main interface of Shift is explained via a number of popups. It’s pretty easy to understand even if you decide to skip the tutorial. The left sidebar gives you access to your email accounts. The top bar has a gives you a number of shortcuts such as muting notifications and navigating back and forth.

What can you do with Shift?

For starters, Shift allows you to manage all your email accounts in one app. This is particularly useful if you more than one email address and you find yourself using both accounts multiple times in a day. In addition to your email, Shift also gives you easy access to features such as cloud storage and your calendar.

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In my case, since I have both Google and Microsoft accounts, it gave me access to Google Drive, Google Calendar, OneDrive, and Microsoft Calendar. The experience was exactly like it would have been via a traditional web browser.

Shift
Complete access to my cloud storage and calendar without the tabs? Yes Please

The difference being that there was no multitude of tabs for each function. Rather it was a more simplified way to interact with my email accounts. For a Google account, I even had the ability to switch to Inbox rather than Gmail.

I just scratched the surface of Shift

While on the outside, Shift looks just look like another app to manage multiple email accounts. In reality though, it’s a whole lot more. Unified Search, for example means you can search for anything across all your email, calendar and cloud storage accounts. Particularly effective if you have a knack for storing files in different accounts and then forgetting where you stored them.

Shift
So many apps, so little time

Perhaps the most mind-blowing feature to me while using Shift was the ability to add integrations for a variety of popular applications. This ranges from collaboration software such as Slack, Asana, Trello, Jira and Evernote.

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Even setting up WhatsApp is easy. (Image Credits: Shift)

Added to this was the ability to add a WhatsApp account, Netflix and even a YouTube account. They add no actual additional functionality compared to their web counterparts. What they do offer is the ability to switch between these apps without the need to open new tabs. With over 200 apps available to integrate into Shift, you’re bound to find something that you use on a regular basis and integrate it.

But, there’s a catch

While the promise of having all your favorite apps and platforms is indeed a dream come true for someone like me, that dream comes at a price. While I was able to use services such as WhatsApp, YouTube and Netflix through Shift, that was only for about a week. Following that, I would have to upgrade to enable access to these features.

Shift
With great functionality, comes a great price.

The Pro package would give me unlimited accounts and the removal of the “Sent with Shift” email signature. In addition I would also be able to use Google services such as Maps, Translate, Play Music and Hangouts. All this for $29.99.

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$99.99 to watch Netflix and YouTube? No thanks.

A more expensive package “Shift Advanced” gives you all this plus access to Google Chrome extensions, a unified search and access to other applications that I spoke about. This is a whopping $99.99 per year. Convert that to local currency and you’re looking at forking over LKR 17,000 just to enable these features.

Is it really worth it though?

As much as I would love to have all my favorite apps and services under one easy to use app with the ability switch between them, paying LKR 17,000 just doesn’t seem to do justice to it. It’s not like paying for the subscription gives you an automatic full version of some of the apps either. You still have to pay for the services you use separately.

According to Tobyn Sowden – CEO of Redbrick, “we originally built Shift to help you manage multiple Gmail accounts, end the logging-in-logging-out, multiple tab nightmare, and generally just get sh*t done.” While it does that job quite nicely, we can’t help but wonder if they can’t drop the pricing to encourage people to use it.

At the end of the day, Shift offers a really unique way to manage all your email and adds additional services as well. It’s just that the pricing for those additional services is just not worth it.
If you are interested in trying out Shift, you can check out their website

Would you use Shift? We would love you hear your thoughts and comments below.

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