Gmail Priority Inbox

Email is great, except when there’s too much of it. Gmail is rolling out a new feature today, called Priority Inbox. It automatically identifies your important email and separates it out from everything else, so you can focus on what really matters.

Gmail has always been pretty good at filtering junk mail into the “spam” folder. But today, in addition to spam, people get a lot of mail that isn’t outright junk but isn’t very important—bologna, or “bacn.” So they’ve evolved Gmail’s filter to address this problem and extended it to not only classify outright spam, but also to help users separate this “bologna” from the important stuff. In a way, Priority Inbox is like your personal assistant, helping you focus on the messages that matter without requiring you to set up complex rules.

As messages come in, Gmail automatically flags some of them as important. 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). And as you use Gmail, it will get better at categorizing messages for you. You can help it get better by clicking the or buttons at the top of the inbox to correctly mark a conversation as important or not important. (You can even set up filters to always mark certain things important or unimportant, or rearrange and customize the three inbox sections.)

Priority Inbox will be rolling out to all Gmail users, including those of you who use Google Apps, over the next week or so. Once you see the “New! Priority Inbox” link in the top right corner of your Gmail account (or the new Priority Inbox tab in Gmail Settings), take a look.

Email overload? Try Priority Inbox

Can’t wait to try this. Patiently waiting…

6 Comments leave a comment below

  1. It’s one of those situations when web 2.0 starts to offer more then applications in your local operating system. It’s kind of sad.

  2. Can’t wait to see if it’s as awesome as it sounds!

  3. Gah. I’ve been considering switching to gmail lately, even though I hate the gmail format and set-up (I hate all the things about gmail that make everyone else love it). But recently hotmail upgraded itself and basically made itself more like gmail. So now all the things I hate about gmail…I hate about hotmail. Which made me think I might as well just switch to gmail, because what’s the difference. But oh, I do NOT want my email automatically sorting and flagging and prioritizing my life for me. Ugh, no. So, my question is, is this something that one will be able to opt in/out of, or is this just going to be IT for all users of gmail? And if so, are there any email applications left that don’t try to do a bunch of stuff for you — sort things, link your conversations together, group your contacts, whatever? Am I doomed to be forever unhappy with technological “advances”?

  4. I’m currently letting my inbox fill up so I can see if it works as well as expected. I’m a Gmail fan either way, but this will make things even easier.

  5. I sort of already do this (Twitter notifications, newsletters and so on) are filtered straight through inbox into a “review” folder and marked read, so I can read them when I get round to it, but it sounds like this might be a great next step. Using filters only works for ‘bacon’ you already know about, so to do it automatically sounds great.

  6. I would love to know who did the video. It’s really kind of perfect.