Gmail for iPhone, Android gets message muting

On Wednesday, Google bestows the 'mute' feature to messages accessed from iPhone and Android-powered devices.

Gmail 'mute' on iPhone, Android
Mobile 'muting' is on. CNET/Jessica Dolcourt

Earlier this month, Google ingratiated itself with mobile users by refurbishing for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android devices. On Wednesday, Google followed up its initial redo with a small new feature that helps trim fat--or rather, keep it from accumulating in the in-box in the first place.

The capability to "mute" a conversation has now been added to the drop-down options under 'More,' the same place you find it when reading a Gmail message in the browser. Muting a message excuses you from seeing further messages in the thread, for instance, an entire guest list's worth of comments for a party you can't attend.

It's a great incidental feature online, but it could become more valuable in the mobile sphere where preserving space and maintenance time is everything. However, using it is a little less convenient. Mute for mobile Gmail is only available at this time from, not from a native Gmail-reader, which, for now, defeats the purpose of Android's Gmail in-box, and of the iPhone's, if you have your mail streaming into it by default. Those who intend to use the feature regularly should affix a browser bookmark to their home screen.

Gmail mute is just one of the many features Google plans to toss over one at a time during the process that Shyam Sheth, a Google Mobile product manager, calls "The Iterative Webapp." In some ways, an application by a thousand updates is an exciting way to witness the development process. In others, I fear readers may bludgeon me with their iPhones and G1s if new releases trickle out every day.

About the author

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.


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