Gmail to counter email overload with Priority Inbox feature

By on August 31, 2010, 10:55 AM
Google has done a remarkable job of filtering out spam and keeping inboxes clean for Gmail users over the last few years. But even with that annoyance taken care of, those who rely heavily on email for work or personal communications are often flooded with an uncontrollable sea of messages that aren't outright junk but they aren't very important either. To help deal with this problem Google plans to begin rolling out a new feature for Gmail users designed to automatically rearrange messages in their inbox so that the most important and pressing stuff appears on top.

The feature is called Priority Inbox and will essentially divide your inbox into three sections: the top one contains the most important and unread messages, the middle one has messages that have been 'starred' by users for future reference, and the last section has everything else. The filtering process is done automatically by Google using a series of algorithms based on a variety of criteria -- people you interact with regularly will go up the ladder, for example. In addition, a plus and minus tool lets you change the priority of a message to help Priority Inbox learn and improve over time.


The new feature will begin appearing over the next few days in beta mode as an additional opt-in view of inbox messages, so you don't have to let Google make decisions about what's important if keeping an eye out for messages that get mistakenly buried into the "everything else" group sounds like too much trouble.




User Comments: 11

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jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

presumptuous and ineffective.

While the sender adds the priority, that doesn't imply I view it with the same degree of importance. If someone out there actually sorts their email by Priority then they will be very happy (is there any?), but personally, I sort mine by descending dates to keep the new stuff at the top of the inbox.

OOPS; 99% of my email is filtered into subfolders anyway and the inbox content is suspicious anyway!

Staff
Jesse Jesse said:

This feature has nothing to do with the sender's marked priority, jobeard.

It sounds very useful to me. I star things often, but it doesn't do me much good when they disappear deeper into my inbox.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

then so much the worse ... who the heck is Gmail to decide 'what is important'?

Sheez; G. Orwellean, 1984?

Guest said:

Gmail doesn't decide. U decide.

Leeky Leeky said:

I could see it being useful if you could tag emails from certain senders as important and therefore place them at the top using this feature - A good example would be those daily work emails you need to read etc.

Gmail wouldn't possibly ever be able to work out what is deemed important to its users though, so I can only see it working if its defined by its users themselves.

Guest said:

[Quote]I star things often, but it doesn't do me much good when they disappear deeper into my inbox.

That's when you do one of two things:

1.) Click "starred messages" on the left hand side

2). Arrange it so that starred messages are in their own box above the inbox (forgot how to do this)

Leeky Leeky said:

That's when you do one of two things:

1.) Click "starred messages" on the left hand side

2). Arrange it so that starred messages are in their own box above the inbox (forgot how to do this)

Or setup labels for certain messages, then you can label certain emails, and then archive them and finding them is much easier.

For example, I have the following (among others) labels:

Need to reply

OU emails

Safe

If I get an email from OU (Open University) in my inbox, I immediately label it OU emails, and then it can either be read and archived, or if a reply is needed, labeled as Need to reply as well, and then archived, so it disappears from my main inbox view.

I manage 6 different email accounts from my one Gmail screen. Its been a revelation moving from Outlook (imap) to gmail, as I have access anywhere in a browser emails now, all from one account. It always works perfectly with my iphone and is so much neater than several imap accounts just complicating matters.

tengeta tengeta said:

I thought thats what folders did?

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

then so much the worse ... who the heck is Gmail to decide 'what is important'?

Sheez; G. Orwellean, 1984?

and or animal farm.

jobeard jobeard, TS Ambassador, said:

Gmail doesn't decide. U decide.
Reading deeply, it says that your replies are used as the measure how to prioritize - - sheez

Guest said:

Is there a relationship between emails in my gmail Inbox disappearing and the lauch of this Priority Mail? Twice in the last few days I've come back to gmail to find dozens of emails missing. They're in All Mail and in Trash but this is unreasonable service. I see many complaints about Priority Mail and I have no intentionof downloading it. Reminds me of a few years ago when google changed things and many of us lost many notes and info on igoogle home page. C'mon google, do it right. You want us to count on you but you let us down.

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