Google aims to fight inbox clutter with tabbed categories

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Google is rolling out a major update for Gmail designed to automatically organize your inbox through smart categories for things such as social updates and promotions. These categories appear as large tabs atop your inbox on desktops or a sliding side menu on phones, and essentially build upon 2010’s Priority Inbox feature by making sure only the most important stuff is front and center while the rest is left to review in bulk later.

There are five different categories available (Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums) which you can turn on or off individually from the settings menu. Once activated, Google will automatically move your messages into each category, and you can also drag-and-drop messages to teach Gmail how they should be filtered. From there you can click between the different tabs and only see more coherent subsets of your email.

Notifications about tagged photos on Facebook and mentions on Twitter, for example, would be grouped under the Social tab. Groupon deals would show up in the Promotions tab, things like bills and receipts show up under Updates, while messages from actual contacts would be displayed under Primary.

The update will be "rolling out gradually" over the next few weeks on the desktop, as well as Gmail’s iOS and Android apps. Needless to say Gmail’s classic inbox view will still be available for those who prefer it this way.

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