Gmail’s latest feature is arguably the biggest innovation since the service launched in April 2004.
‘Priority inbox’ learns from your email usage patterns and begins to prioritise messages that it thinks you’ll be most likely to read. Your inbox is divided into three sections: important and unread, starred and everything else.
The classification should improve, because you can mark messages with ‘less important’ or ‘more important’, and Gmail will learn to reclassify accordingly. It’s like the inverse of junk mail filtering.
Software engineer Doug Aberdeen on the official Gmail blog described this as “a new way of taking on information overload”.
“Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people you email most (if you email Bob a lot, a message from Bob is probably important) and which messages you open and reply to (these are likely more important than the ones you skip over).”
Priority inbox is slowly rolling out across Gmail services. It hasn’t appeared in my personal account yet, but will in the next few days along with Google Apps users (if their administrator has opted to ‘Enable pre-release features’).
Drag and drop, launched in April, helped a little. Filters help, for those that can be bothered to set them up. But priority inbox could make a significant difference, and if Wave wasn’t quite the right format for centralising and streamlining messages, then this is a more usable step in that direction.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
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- Email overload? Try Priority Inbox (googleblog.blogspot.com)