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GMail Introduces Priority Inbox

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the we-have-priority dept.

Communications 242

jason-za writes with this quote from a Google announcement: "People tell us all that time that they're getting more and more mail and often feel overwhelmed by it all. We know what you mean — here at Google we run on email. Our inboxes are slammed with hundreds, sometimes thousands of messages a day — mail from colleagues, from lists, about appointments and automated mail that's often not important. It's time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply. Today, we're happy to introduce Priority Inbox (in beta) — an experimental new way of taking on information overload in Gmail."

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242 comments

So, slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425524)

How's that latest move to prod going?

Re:So, slashdot (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426240)

Latest move to prod is sort of stopped -- I thought it was a dev VM, but powered off the wrong box from the command line.

Sorry about that.

Today I'm proud to announce (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425530)

Priority Post (beta)

Re:Today I'm proud to announce (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425562)

Luckily for you it's still in beta, 'cause I seem to have found a bug...

Thank god (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425532)

Just glad to see /. is back up. I was having serious geek withdrawal there for a while.

Re:Thank god (2, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425596)

Just glad to see /. is back up. I was having serious geek withdrawal there for a while.

You mean you don't have a local mirror?

Re:Thank god (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33426390)

Yeah, but faking your own kdawson posts while waiting for the main site to come back up is sort of tedious, not to mention mind warping.

Re:Thank god (1)

Trevelyan (535381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425742)

What was up with it?

It would start to load, you'd get some content and then *bam* "Connection reset'.

For me I got the first article (the Blackbox one), a banner and/or menu or two, and the odd image. No CSS.

How about good subject lines? (2, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425558)

"It's time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply"

How about putting "For action", "For reply", or "For your information" in the subject lines of e-mails?

It would also be a good thing to put a 1-line summary of the email, followed up with a Details section.

Of course, this only works from the perspective of the sender, but if you do this when sending e-mails out to people, they might pick up on it.

Re:How about good subject lines? (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425640)

...Well, really out of all of your e-mail how much of it is actually sent by an actual, thinking person. The majority of my e-mail goes as follows:

Reminder that anyone who wants to go to the company picnic can call XXX-XXXX

Please conserve paper

Hi, I saw this funny video of a cat running into a wall

Did you know that sometimes doctors are wrong and people can live longer then their doctor tells them they can?

Most of the junk e-mail is sent by:

A) Mass-emailers
B) Clueless computer users
and not someone who thinks before they hit send.

Re:How about good subject lines? (4, Insightful)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425694)

It would also be a good thing to put a 1-line summary of the email, followed up with a Details section.

Isn't that what the subject line and message body are supposed to be for?

I appreciate that Google is trying to idiot-proof email but it'd probably be a simpler task to train people using almost your exact phrasing: the subject line is a one line summary of the email and the body is the details section.

Re:How about good subject lines? (1)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425836)

>I appreciate that Google is trying to idiot-proof email but it'd probably be a simpler task to train people using almost your exact phrasing: the subject line is a one line summary of the email and the body is the details section.

I was going to try to rebut you, but now that I think about it, it's not a bad idea. To my mind, the subject was supposed to be a noun or noun phrase.

I think I might try putting 1 line summaries in the subject for a week or so.

Actually, maybe e-mail clients can help by saying "Summary" instead of "Subject".

Re:How about good subject lines? (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425982)

The trick, seriously, is to not make your subject too long or too short. A LOT of people read email on tiny screens these days so long subjects just make life difficult. Really short subjects don't give enough information about what the email is truly about, so people will arbitrarily read or not-read it based on incomplete information -- which is neither good for the sender nor the receiver.

Re:How about good subject lines? (4, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426180)

> ...it'd probably be a simpler task to train people...

No. Training people is a hopeless task.

Re:How about good subject lines? (4, Insightful)

DIplomatic (1759914) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426304)

I appreciate that Google is trying to idiot-proof email but it'd probably be a simpler task to train people...

Are you serious? I'd take a complex sort algorithm over trusting the people who email me in a heartbeat! I've been begging a client of mine to stop marking his emails urgent for half a decade. Give it up man! Flagging your emails and using a lot of exclamation marks does not make you important!

Re:How about good subject lines? (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426436)

I use lots of filters:
* 95% of opt-in advertising mail goes into the "Boring ads" folder, and is never read. If I'm booking a flight I'll look at some recent emails from the airlines I've used before, in case they've sent me a discount code. The other 5% goes in the "Ads" folder -- stuff I usually read, like emails from my favourite nightclub saying what's on this weekend.
* Anything from my parents goes into a folder, they email me far too much.
* Newsletters (from charities, alumni groups, etc) go in a folder, I read them if I'm sufficiently bored.
* Automated notifications go in a folder. (e.g. Slashdot "A reply has been posted" mails).
This is especially useful since I bought an Android phone, since I don't get a "Ping!" every time someone tells me I can get a cheap train ticket to visit grandma.

This new feature sounds like it would do lots of this automatically, which lots of people will probably find very useful.

Re:How about good subject lines? (1)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425732)

How about putting "For action", "For reply", or "For your information" in the subject lines of e-mails?

Because it would work about as well as the high importance flag in outlook. From experience it seems clear the sender of emails isn't the right person to decide importance etc for the receiver. There is no advantage to sorting my email by someone else's estimate of importance.

I'm a little surprised that this kind of feature has been so long coming. If it works, it will be a big help to people who process there email in fixed time slots (many methods designed to improve effectiveness suggest this). I've taken to processing my personal email in two 15 min chunks daily. The first thing I do is prioritise, so if this is effective it'll save me more time.

Re:How about good subject lines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425830)

It's pretty simple. Anything flagged "High Importance" is actually "Low Importance" If you really want your mail to be noticed. flag it Low Importance. (People will be shocked. "What's that symbol mean?" And read it to find out)

Re:How about good subject lines? (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426234)

Ideally, a mail client should track how often someone uses the 'high importance' flag. Someone where I used to work used it for every single mail that she sent to mailing lists, and they were never important. In contrast, my editor only uses it for stuff that I actually need to read and respond to urgently, maybe 1% of emails I get from him. A mail client could easily learn that the first person always abuses the flag, while the second person uses it appropriately, and only flag emails from him.

It could also easily learn which senders always get immediate replies, while others get replies after a few days. Presumably the Google system is using the same sort of learning algorithms that they use for spam, but with this kind of thing as input rather.

Re:How about good subject lines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33426690)

In general, I find that sending everything marked "Urgent" straight to the spam bin works wonderfully for prioritizing my work, along with anything with more than one exclamation point in the subject line or a subject line of all caps.

I'm so goddamned sick and tired of memos telling me about parking lot maintenance 5 weeks away that will shut down three parking spaces in a lot I never visit being sent out by someone with a feeling of self-importance so inadequate that they feel the need to send every email marked with "Urgent" priority.

You know, if I'm visiting the building that day, chances are the fucking construction tape will tell me that I can't park there, and I really don't need the MSDS for the caulking you are going to use to fix a leak in a room I never go into, but thanks for marking it "Urgent!" so I know I can ignore it.

Re:How about good subject lines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425752)

Most of my correspondents think that the mail they send me is important. They would all have things like "Important Info" or "For Immediate Action" in their subject lines. It is rare that I get mail marked low importance. Managing mail (to me) means wading through and separating the notes into which ones I think are important and which ones I am going to ignore or act on later (regardless of how important the sender thought it was).

Re:How about good subject lines? (1)

swarsron (612788) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425808)

We did already lose the TOFU war. There is no way people would ever do this since it means more work for them.

Re:How about good subject lines? (4, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426332)

Most people are idiots about email. Two of my favorite people in the world are brilliant in so many ways, but they're idiots about email.

One of these people doesn't know how to use an address book or type in an email address unless absolutely necessary, so all emails she sends are responses to old emails. So if I want to find an email that she sent last week, it might be in a thread that started in 2006. Or 2008. She's not consistent about which ones she responds to.

The other one always puts "Hey Ben" in the subject. Doesn't matter what it's about; the subject is always, "Hey Ben". even when I change the subject line on response, he'll change it right back to "Hey Ben" when it's his turn.

I've tried to explain the benefits of good subjects to both of them, but they give me that 10,000 mile stare like I'm speaking Klingon or something.

Yo Dawg (5, Funny)

ultraexactzz (546422) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425560)

I keep thinking back to our good friend Xibit when I read this article. Yo Dawg, I know you like Gmail, so I got you an inbox for your inbox, so you can read mail while you read mail.

Re:Yo Dawg (1)

radix07 (1889888) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426452)

I think Google is gonna try to cram as much stuff as possible into Gmail. Soon you will actually be able to Gmail in your Gmail while you Gmail...

jason-za wrote that? Really? (3, Informative)

ojintoad (1310811) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425566)

Based on his website he doesn't sound like a Gmail engineer but more of a "MSc student in Computer Science at the University of Cape Town where [he does] research how to scale fuzzy crowds on the GPU with CUDA."

I feel like it's possible that Doug Aberdeen, Software Engineer for Google, wrote that, or someone who represents Doug Aberdeen. It's more likely jason-za just copied and pasted that.

I really hate writing such snide remarks but come on slashdot editors, how long would it have taken to correctly attribute this stuff...

Re:jason-za wrote that? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425700)

Maybe the updatd between the time you wrote your post that and the time I read it, but for me, the summary now begins with

"jason-za writes with this quote from a Google announcement: "

which is correct

arms race (4, Insightful)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425576)

So now only emails meeting a certain priority will make it to the top of the list. How long until people figure out how to make their emails have higher priority and start abusing that power, leading the same problem Google just solved? Better to rely on a combination of filters to sort your mail for you as it comes in than try to trust some automated system (that can be gamed by others) to do it for you.

Re:arms race (5, Funny)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425612)

The solution is obvious... Demand email neutrality now!

Re:arms race (1)

Silentknyght (1042778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426400)

Wait, a -1 Troll and not a +1 Funny for this obvious sarcasm and reference to net neutrality? Let this be a lesson for safe forum activity: always wear your /sarcasm tag.

Re:arms race (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425650)

How long before we see Google applying for a patent for "E-mail delivery and presentation based on priorities other than '!High!', 'Normal' and 'Low'"??

How long? (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425656)

About as long as it takes google to "monetize" the process so the people buying ads get their e-mails on top.

Re:arms race (5, Insightful)

X_Bones (93097) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425674)

uh, it's not like they're just examining the X-Priority: OMG CRITICAL header field or anything here. TFA says it's based in part on the people who you email the most, and the emails which you choose to reply to. I imagine it'll work about as well as Gmail's spam filtering (i.e., pretty damn good in my experience).

Re:arms race (0)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425860)

If it's based on email addresses I send or reply to the most, then all those noreply automated things will drop to the bottom. Thanks Google.

I think it's stupid to send emails that can't be replied to. It's broken communications. Example, all my red netflix envelopes disappeared. When netflix emailed me about why I wasn't returning my DVD's, I replied that I would if they sent me some envelopes. My next message from netflix, we don't accept email, they hadn't read my request. But they send email?

Re:arms race (2, Informative)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426076)

It is also based on which ones you READ. So if you read all of those NO-REPLY emails you get then it will still consider them more important than other ones you do not read. If you are one of those people that read everything you get (or at least mark everything you receive as read) then you might be in trouble. And I'm sure this will remain an optional feature for quite some time.

Re:arms race (1)

Nimey (114278) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425712)

It's supposed to learn from your email-reading habits, so it's something like Thunderbird's Bayesian spamfilter, i.e. gaming this would be difficult.

Re:arms race (1)

Moridin42 (219670) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425768)

How is it an arms race? They didn't make it so that these criteria are what makes email important to everybody. It learns whats important to each user, individually. Thats a much harder target.

If you read LKML messages every time, they'll start getting marked important. If i just look now and then, it won't be so marked in my inbox. You can help it learn by flagging a message important, or one that was incorrectly flagged important you can tag as unimportant. You can set up filters.

Unlike a search engine, what keyword, phrases, or grammatical construction the sender uses won't flag the message as important when the criteria is based on the receiver's behavior.

Re:arms race (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425826)

I tried it out this morning when I saw that new tab. It doesn't automatically say "Hey, it seems that you apparently have a small penis, so we'll give priority to all these peen enlarger emails." It gives a little prompt at first saying, "Are these emails important, and are these less important?" and you modify it if you need to. Again, in your inbox you can select a message and promote it, or demote it.

It's actually made quite a difference to my inbox so far. I can now readily distinguish between my "read now" emails, and my "read later or ignore" emails.

But I digress from my point. RTFA next time.

Re:arms race (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425908)

well, it's the same as with spam. When spam filters became standard, people invented chain letters. Now they'll just turn up the kitty cuteness to 11.
but seriously now, they just realized that a lot of people have no idea they can sort their e-mail in any way, or that they can use folders; so they're just doing that for them, with a filter that learns.

Re:arms race (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426364)

well, it's the same as with spam. When spam filters became standard, people invented chain letters. Now they'll just turn up the kitty cuteness to 11.
but seriously now, they just realized that a lot of people have no idea they can sort their e-mail in any way, or that they can use folders; so they're just doing that for them, with a filter that learns.

Actually, chain letters have existed long before spam filters - I think the rise of the bayesian filters killed the last off because I remember getting maybe one or two a month in the mid 90's. (I just forwarded them to every From: address I saw - there was usually enough addresses down the forward chain of those gullible).

As for folders or labels - that relies on people being dilligent and using them. Labels are great because you can tag emails multiple times, but I personally don't use them beyond an initial sort of "mailing list" "interesting notes to myself" "registration codes" and the like. I'm not disciplined enough to keep my life sorted into neat little boxes, so most of my email is in the inbox. I do have a nice index memory so I can generally recall if something sounds familiar and approximately when, to which I can just search and find it. It's only good for maybe the past month or so, but that usually suffices since I rarely have to search archives.

Re:arms race (1)

toppavak (943659) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425970)

This will be fairly difficult. If I understand how they're implementing this correctly the decision of priority will not be based purely on content but rather on what content corresponds strongly with whether or not the user reads it quickly / other similar measures of importance. SEO is possible because it relies on generating content that allows a website moving up in rankings rather than also looking at user behavior connected to those websites (which links are clicked on most often for a given search, for example).

Re:arms race (1)

adisakp (705706) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426414)

Well, the priority is based on people you e-mail most often. So the only way for that to happen is for someone to hack into your Google contacts and impersonate them (or use your contacts and impersonate you when sending spam to your friends). Of course, given the variety of viruses, trojans, worms and bots on the average computers nowdays, I'm willing to bet that already happens quite often in today's world even before this change with g-mail.

Holy.... (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425586)

Google blows a fart. Quick, post it on SlashDot!

Thought it was me (0, Offtopic)

mad zambian (816201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425626)

Just clicked on the Metamod link, and foom. No Slashdot. Aaargh. I've broken Slashdot, boy am I going to be in trouble now.
The first time I have seen /. go bye byes for a very long time though. Must be phase of the moon or something.
You just don't realise how much you are used to something being there until it suddenly isn't.

Spam detection is much easier (2, Insightful)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425658)

The question is: Can a software that doesn't even know what's Viagra spam all the time claim to take over sorting important mail for you? Filtering important emails sounds much more difficult than filtering the usual spam: One one hand, spam usually comes in bulk; it is distributed to millions of addresses (which provides a way of detecting it) with little variety in regards to content. On the other hand, spam messages do have much more in common (because there are few authors with a handful of different content types) than "important mail", which is created by many different people with a huge variety in regards to content.

Re:Spam detection is much easier (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426300)

You seem to misunderstand how it works. It doesn't sort your mail on its own. Did you even watch the little video? You can tag who/what is important and in addition to regularly sorting out spam, it will send emails with people you actively correspond with into your priority box. Just like with your spam box, you can tag other messages as important, or less-important, and they go to their respective inboxes.

I haven't had any spam get through their filters, but I have a 3 tiered email system. Gmails for personal/work (Universities have been migrating to gmail for a while now), hotmail for signups, and yahoo for throwaway signups. Hotmail has a tough time, and 2-3 a week get through. Yahoo is just a lost cause.

Re:Spam detection is much easier (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426642)

The question is: Can a software that doesn't even know what's Viagra spam all the time claim to take over sorting important mail for you?

As it turns out, yes. I was using this a decade ago [gnus.org] in Gnus.

I started unsubscribing from mailing lists... (4, Interesting)

nido (102070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425668)

There's a lot of crap that I used to think was important, or thought I'd be interested in... But the messages just piled up.

One day i just started deleting. I think I removed 7,000 'conversations' from my gmail inbox in an hour. Now I'm much better about deleting crap emails (without opening them) instead of letting them languish...

This 'priority inbox' will be interesting... Glad they're thinking about the problem - too bad it won't unsubscribe you from lists automatically. :)

Re:I started unsubscribing from mailing lists... (1)

BStroms (1875462) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425790)

Yeah, potentially interesting, but I leave gmail open in a tab virtually all the time and check emails as they come in. So I don't know if it really has much benefit to me. Could be useful when I take extended trips where I don't have email access in helping the important emails catch my eye. But seeing as I honestly can't even remember the last time I've gone a full week without checking my email, I really doubt this is going to be all that helpful.

Re:I started unsubscribing from mailing lists... (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426200)

If you don't check email on a constant basis throughout the day, you'll probably end up wasting less time on it. Then once you have a few emails at a time to read, something like this might be useful.

You would also waste less time if you stop reading/posting on slashdot, though... so not sure how much it applies =P.

Re:I started unsubscribing from mailing lists... (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426208)

I noticed this with google reader recently. I had like 40 feeds, 20 different comics, that I'd check throughout the day. I just unsubscribed from 80% of them and realized I don't really miss it. The only difference is that now it's more obvious to me when I'm trying to waste time, since I just open and find an empty google reader page. And now it seems I've resorted to slashdot..

Re:I started unsubscribing from mailing lists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33426386)

maybe you should disable your "join lists automatically" script.

Dude - if you don't like the list don't sign up... and please, PLEASE don't be one of those people that signs up for a list - bitches about the volume - then sends unsubscribe messages to the list teeming with outrage.

It's really rude. If it's not you i just described, prithee - i'm talking to everyone else with this proclivity.

Good work. Keep trying. (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425684)

Someday, in the far future, Gmail may be almost as good as Gnus.

Re:Good work. Keep trying. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426686)

Someday, in the far future, Gmail may be almost as good as Gnus.

Old saying: all operating systems are destined to reinvent unix, poorly.

New saying: all applications are destined to reinvent emacs, poorly.

You will disclose even more information than now. (0, Troll)

Ioann (1410673) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425696)

Since starting from now you will have to tell Google what is important to you and what it isn't, so they can profile you better. Nice trick. Not that i won't use it...

Re:You will disclose even more information than no (1)

Woefdram (143784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425920)

Well, I certainly won't use it. I don't use Google anyway, except their search engine. It took a bit of work, but even though I have an Android, they're not getting my address book or agenda. Yup, I might be paranoid (ok, I admit I am...) but Google knows far too much about its users.

As Eric Schmidt recently said [bbc.co.uk]: "At the moment we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are." And according to the article (and simple common sense), "Google would likely store more personal information about its users in the future." This new mailfiltering proves just that...

That doesn't spell much good for the future...

Intriguing, but... (3, Informative)

jbarr (2233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425702)

This is intriguing, but it just seems to add yet another layer. Is it really needed? By leveraging Filters and Labels, you can automatically categorize email to whatever you want.

I also use the "Multiple Inboxes" Labs add-on that gives me a second "inbox" that is defined to display only "starred" items. no matter where the message is (in the inbox of archived with a label) I can always see those which I classify as "important." And by using Filters, this gets done automatically for many messages.

Re:Intriguing, but... (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425990)

That's good for people who want to set up a lot of manual labels (I'm one of them). However, there are a lot of people who don't, and even I find myself not taking the time to set up a filter for some of the smaller sources of "nice to have but unimportant" emails that I get. This does it automatically based on your behavior of how you interact with the stuff that makes it through the filter. Seems like a good idea to me.

Re:Intriguing, but... (1)

tag (22464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426084)

I also use the "Multiple Inboxes" Labs add-on that gives me a second "inbox" that is defined to display only "starred" items

That's exactly what I did. When I turned on Priority Inbox, it turned off the Multiple Inboxes, but now I have the equivalent of three inboxes -- Important & Unread, Starred, everything else. But the duplication is removed (previously, starred messages showed in both inboxes).

All my rules still work. but if something is also caught by Priority flag, it goes to the top. If I read it and don't archive it, it moves to Starred or Everything Else based on whether my filters had starred it in the first place.

Looks useful so far. We'll see. I may redo some of my star filters to flag for priority instead.

I can also see this working as part of a GTD system -- it's sort of Action, Follow Up and everything else. But not quite. Still needs some tweaking for that to work right.

Privacy? Really? (-1, Offtopic)

RobinEggs (1453925) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425710)

Pilot unions have objected to the collection and sharing of detailed accident data, citing privacy concerns of the flight crew.

I wasn't aware any reasonable expectation of privacy existed while working on a 4-8 person crew serving a couple hundred people in a space the size of a double-wide mobile home. Not to mention, just what other profession entitles you to privacy while at work, especially the sort of work where owners and direct supervisors are almost never in the same time zone as a given employee? They apparently feel entitled to privacy in a case where privacy would mean no oversight whatsoever.

Multiple Inbox (1)

RevRagnarok (583910) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425714)

That's my favorite lab item. I have like 5 - mailing lists, purchases I am waiting for in the mail, TODO, etc... I wonder if it is compatible?

Re:Multiple Inbox (1)

tag (22464) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426124)

As of this moment, it's not. I even made some changes to my MI settings to test, and none show up.

The nigerian prince (1, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425730)

But he needs my help right now! He's just trying to get the millions of dollars stolen from him in the revolution!

Don't they already have a tool for this? (3, Insightful)

stagg (1606187) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425754)

I thought that's what filters were for. Gmail is getting a bit cluttered with features. The elegance of it was always one of the big wins for me. I'd rather have one simple, configurable feature that allows met do many things than a hundred buttons on my screen. Filters and tags already pretty much covered this.

FILTERS DO THE JOB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425950)

I get an average of 10 emails per day. Filters send the unimportant stuff to the archive. As a consequence, I only have to process 3-5 emails per day, and these are the ones that matter. So what's the advantage of a priority inbox over filters, again??? Oh yeah, another source of hype for Google, Inc. Remember folks, Google is publicly owned now, and they've got to always branch out to convince shareholders they're taking over the world at a satisfactory pace.

Re:FILTERS DO THE JOB (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426318)

If you only get ten emails a day, then you are definitely not in the target market for this. A lot of people get well over a hundred, but maybe only ten or twenty need urgent action. They are the target. I don't use Gmail, nor would I want to, but I've thought about implementing a feature like this a few times in the last few years and never got around to it, so Google deserves some credit for actually bothering. More, if it actually works...

Re:Don't they already have a tool for this? (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426454)

I thought that's what filters were for.

No, filters are for categorizing mail by the criteria you have thought through and told Gmail about.

Priority Inbox is an option that, when you use it, tells Google you want it to do best-guess prioritization automatically, without you telling it any more than "do your thing".

Priority Inbox will probably be most useful for people who don't want the bother of defining filters, though people who do have explicit filtering rules that are used to categorize mail may also find it useful for prioritizing the stuff that's left in the inbox.

Email is overused (2, Interesting)

hannson (1369413) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425812)

Simple solution: Unsubscribe

I used to get over hundred emails a week; newsletters, stuff from mailing lists and lots of emails of almost no importance to me. I unsubscribed from everything, after all we have this thing called RSS so there's no need to get the same information sent to the inbox.

I also watched a Google TechTalk called Inbox Zero by Merlin Mann [youtube.com] and have at most 5 emails in my inbox any day.

We've got RSS for news, newsletters, IM for short messages like "What's for lunch today?", I feel like mailing lists drown my inbox so I don't let them email me at all, so there are a lot of ways to limit the emails you get each day.

Re:Email is overused (1)

siriuskase (679431) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426062)

Easier said than done. I get a daily feed of slashdot into my gmail account. I don't need it since I prefer going directly to the website. But, I can't unsubscribe, even when I follow the simple directions.

Re:Email is overused (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426114)

Easier said than done. I get a daily feed of slashdot into my gmail account. I don't need it since I prefer going directly to the website. But, I can't unsubscribe, even when I follow the simple directions.

Mark it as spam. Do that a handful of times and you'll never see it again.

Re:Email is overused (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426530)

Why not just set up a filter to send it straight into the Trash folder?

Google introduces Google Democracy (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425818)

Based on insights gleamed from Google searches, Youtube usage, Gmail statistics, Analytics and more, Google is proud to introduce its latest product Google Democracy. Google is now able to select the proper decisions for the population as a whole, completely without human intervention. Dr. Sanjit Was says "It's how the founders truly would have envisioned government working, had they had access to massive amounts of computing power."

sylpheed with filtering (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425844)

Is there anyone tech-savvy out there who's not already filtering their mail into a bunch of folders or some other means of prioritization? I use Sylpheed [sraoss.jp], which easily filters my mail into various folders. And by using mh folders, messages are stored in flat files on which I can use the standard Unix-y tools like grep -- and which are easily migrated to a new machine. My e-mail archives go back over 14 years.

I'm pretty sure that the filters I set up manually will be much more useful to me than Google's guesses about what I find important.

Re:sylpheed with filtering (1)

Skreems (598317) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426002)

Is there anyone tech-savvy out there who's not already filtering their mail into a bunch of folders

Um... I think this is for people who may NOT be quite as tech-savvy as you...

flash bug with chrome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33425846)

Is it just me, or does the new flash movie with this feature play automatically on anyone else's chrome installation? I'm running latest chrome stable on ubuntu 10.04LTS. Firefox etc doesn't have this issue with the little flash movie that comes with this announcement.

Forced Enable (1)

Skraut (545247) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425862)

Unfortunately I had to enable this, as trying to access my corporate gmail through Chrome on Linux always caused the flash "intro movie" to crash the browser. Even selecting "No Thanks" still caused it to hang, and then eventually play the video in the background. The only way to check my email this morning was to turn the damn thing on.

Re:Forced Enable (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426172)

I had no video popup unless I clicked the "New Priority Inbox Feature" thing. I'm running chrome -unstable on Fedora 12. No problem on my desktop running the same on F13 x86_64.

Re:Forced Enable (1)

Skraut (545247) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426726)

Interesting. I'm running 6.0.472.41 beta on the latest Ubuntu. It was Flash which was hanging even though the video wasn't selected.

Boolean distinctions? Labels? (1)

nbossett (1835098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425876)

Why place email into strict "important" and "everything else" sets rather than just sorting the unread items in the regular inbox according to their weighting system? That would both save screen real estate and avoid problems of an important item being scored just under some threshold and relegated to the everything-else category. Normal rule definitions would be nice too: "Always flag email from '@foo.com' as important and label as 'work'".

Threading (3, Interesting)

DirkBalognapantz (609779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33425968)

I just wish to hell they would allow users to turn off the threaded conversations. Google has been acting like a smarty-pants little child holding their breath on this one. Finding items around by date (especially when you only know the approximate date) would be so much easier if the just put their big boy pants on and enabled this.

Re:Threading (1)

DirkBalognapantz (609779) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426006)

Finding items around by date ...

Before anyone mentions my grammar, I meant "finding items by date." I rush to post as the office has eyes.

Reply-Request (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426232)

I'd like to see GMail support a Reply-Request header that can be set by the sender and displayed to the recipient. That way when I send a question to someone I can sort my outstanding messages not yet replied to, and send a followup. An automatic timeout that prompts me with a composed followup request would be good. Recipients could see which requests are outstanding in their inbox. When my actual request is satisfied I could mark the thread as completed. The message IDs of the messages could link them all together.

Email features like that one are hard to get started on one's own, a chicken/egg problem without the ability to upgrade a lot of other people's email systems. Microsoft doesn't innovate protocol features. So I'd like to see GMail do so, especially if Google is pursuing these kinds of productivity features.

So let me get this straight (1)

NYMeatball (1635689) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426326)

Their theories are, in order:

#1: "Everyone has too much email!"
#2: "Rules are too complicated to use!"
#3: "Priority inbox is better because they're just really rules, but you have no control over them!"

I appreciate their effort, but this honestly just seems like another way for Google to engage in self appreciation and try to write users rules for them better than the users can. Can they do it? With enough data and time, probably. But in the long run, its not very useful for any user with a hint of intelligence, and like other people are already stating - the inner workings will be dissected enough to where people will filter messages to get a higher rank.

I went back to a regular IMAP client (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426342)

I just went back to using Mac Mail and my iPhone checking all my accounts via IMAP. Everything keeps synced up. Very rarely do I log into Gmail from the web anymore.

An elegant solution to a non-problem (1)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426344)

I like what they've done here. They basically took their spam filter and inverted it, creating the anti-spam, aka 'priority inbox'. It is genuinely clever.

It is also an absolute non-problem. The basic issue here is a human one, and is easily corrected.

Lesson #1: Your inbox is not an oracle into the past. You do not need everyone to carbon copy you in on everything they ever send 'just in case'. This is absurd and sets you up for failure by accepting mail you never actually intend to read. Instead reverse the thought and insist that people only send you things you actually NEED to see.

Lesson #2: Lists and announcements are completely unnecessary. If you want to go collaborate on a topic, find an appropriate forum on which to do so. Email's characteristics are extremely poor for this use, and the 'junk' is obscuring the mail from above.

Lesson #3: Reject crap. Ask your family to only include you in on the 'really good' ones. Snopes everything and be snarky about it. Ask that people not send you things that they're too lazy/busy to look up first. Unsubscribe from EVERYTHING that you don't actually intend to read on a daily basis. See Lesson #2, but if you want to know and have time to research it, it is out there a mere Google search away. As above, if you don't actually intend to read it, see that it stops. The junk obscures the good stuff.

Lesson #4: Delete, delete, delete. Just because Google advertises gigabytes of storage, this doesn't mean you actually have that much important mail. New version of VMWare is out? That's terrific...deleted! You're not going to want to search against that again later, trust me. 37th time someone has said Mars will be as large as the Moon - DELETED, before I even got to the end of the subject line. Slashdot's been replying to you all weekend, and you no longer care to go back to old topics? Oh, so deleted...

Lesson #5: Stay on top of it. Glance at your box right away, star the keepers, and delete the junk. Now do this at least once an hour. It only takes about ten seconds, and will save you hours of cleanup later...

Lesson #6: Reply right away, wherever possible. Even a simple "I got your mail, and will get back to you later" sends positive reinforcement back, just so long as you're starring it as well so you do actually get back to it. The primary benefit here is, if you're overzealous with Lesson #4, someone will notice that you didn't respond, and will re-query if it was genuinely important.

There may be more, but the point is, this is a completely human situation that can be easily managed. This 'solution' is honestly a good way to go about making the problem worse, rather than better. You're able to tolerate more and more bad mail, and you still never intend to actually read most of it.

Think about the term 'thousands of emails per day'. There are only 480 minutes in an average eight hour work day. If you're actually, honestly, genuinely reading over two emails a minute, then you need to sub some of that mail reading out to a part-timer. You'd be sitting at 960 mails per day, which is still not even two thousand, which qualifies for the 's' at the end of that word. If so, you're not getting any work done other than reading email. An unpaid intern can read mail just as well as you can, so where's the value in that? Now, on the other hand, if you're not reading it then why on earth is it in your inbox? Are you expecting the days to get longer at some point?? You're going to go back and get caught up on them? Um, no. You're not. Not ever. Just deal with that fact now, rather than later, and email becomes a lot more pleasant.

How about using your Inbox for what it is? (1)

gregthebunny (1502041) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426434)

It's called the "Inbox" for a reason. It should only be used for messages that have arrived and need your attention. Everything else should be filed accordingly. GMail makes mail organization stupidly easy. Just create labels and apply as many of them as you need to each message. Put a star or other flags on things that need follow-up. And when you're done with something, archive it. All these new GMail features are unnecessary. :(

Very useful (3, Insightful)

D H NG (779318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426586)

I've been using this for about 6 months and it's very useful. Mail from people I read and reply to more often usually percolate to the top. Sometimes unimportant mail are marked as "important" but I can downgrade them. Just keep an eye on the "Everything else" pile once in a while, sometimes important mail are mislabeled.

Gmail Still Sucks (0, Flamebait)

Snaffler (311068) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426614)

Until Google provides an option to turn off conversations, I'll still just forward all gmail to another account so I can make sure I don't miss something. I suppose with this new option old conversations will get pulled up to the top if you tell Google that the topic or person is important, but I can't say that most important e-mails can be identified beforehand like Google hopes.

False dichotomy (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33426692)

I'm not so sure about the false dichotomy again here. Things aren't black and white, there are shades of grey, so mail should be sorted according to a rating, rather than a seperate folder.

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