Google takes yet another crack at taming email overload

Google wants to help users manage their messages with a redesigned Gmail inbox

Google is kicking off its latest effort to help Gmail users manage their messages -- a redesigned inbox.

The new inbox, which will roll out to all Gmail users over the coming weeks, sorts incoming messages into labeled buckets. The messages it deems most important flow into the Primary bucket, while social network notifications from sites like Google Plus are grouped under a Social tab. Email from sites like Groupon announcing vendor deals go into a Promotions category, while receipts and confirmations go into an Updates bucket.

Both mobile and desktop users will have access to the inbox, which lets people drag and drop messages from one category to another and instruct the system to drop messages from particular senders into a particular bucket.

Gmail users who don't like the new inbox can toggle back to the existing views, including the Classic option, where all messages are listed in order of arrival. Google also lets users sort their inbox messages by listing first the "important" ones -- those who users communicate with most often -- or by listing unread or starred messages first. Another option called Priority Inbox groups unread and important messages first, followed by starred messages. Users can also create their own category labels -- the Gmail equivalent of folders.

All the features are part of Google's ongoing effort to address email overload. ""Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around," wrote Itamar Gilad, a Google product manager, in a blog post Wednesday.

Google unveiled Priority Inbox almost three years ago, and two years ago it began testing what it called Smart Labels, a feature that categorized mass email into three types and labeled messages accordingly: Bulk, Forums and Notifications.

Google announced more Gmail enhancements at its I/O developer conference this month, including "quick action" buttons that pop up in the inbox next to certain messages, letting users, for example, respond to a party invitation. Earlier in May, Google announced a feature to let Gmail users create Google Calendar entries from within email messages when Gmail detects dates and times in the text.

Despite the steady stream of improvements, the email service still runs into some resistance due to its user interface, which some people dislike, especially in workplace settings where Microsoft's Outlook email and calendar client remains entrenched. Microsoft recently launched a new webmail service called Outlook.com that replaced Hotmail and that Microsoft hopes will be a stronger competitor to Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googlesoftwareapplicationse-mail

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Juan Carlos Perez

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?