Google announced “Priority Inbox” a few weeks ago. Roughly this is how it works. When an email arrives, the user can flag it as important or not-so-important. Gmail will use a learning algorithm that will try to mimic the user’s classification. So when you check your email in the morning and find that it has 20 emails, you will see your Gmail Inbox divided into two, the first section containing only those emails that the system thinks you would have classified as important, and the other section showing all your other emails.
While Google started rolling this feature out to Gmail users immediately after the announcements, Google Apps users had to wait, as usual, for the roll-out. My wait ended last week, and I lurrve Priority Inbox so far.
While I’m not amazed, I find Gmail’s ability to learn — or so I think — from my classifications very useful. I can vouch that over 80% of the emails that hit my inbox are unimportant, a large number of which are totally useless — pictures of cute babies, regurgitated advice, newsletters that I don’t care to read, and nuggets from the verified spam folklore (of the “Microsoft will pay you $243 for forwarding this email” type). Almost none of these emails have hit my Priority Inbox, after I had classified emails of that type as not being of priority. In fact, I have used this as my excuse to remove myself from as many subscription lists as possible.
Priority Inbox doesn’t really solve my email overload problem though. I get to most of my emails first on my phone anyway. The feature would be extremely useful for those who check their email through their computer, or the Gmail web app. I would love it Gmail will let a user set a filter for emails in the Priority Inbox. If this were possible, I would create a label for these emails, and check this folder first. If anyone knows of a workaround, I would love it if you could share it with me. I am going to submit a feature request.
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