Gmail to counter email overload with Priority Inbox feature

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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.

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