Gmail 'Priority Inbox' aims to set aside bologna

New feature sorts mail into three sections: "important and unread," "starred," and "everything else." The latter isn't spam. It's "bologna."


Good news for Gmail users who are deluged by messages and overwhelmed by which ones to tackle first.

Google announced on Monday night a new Gmail feature in beta called Priority Inbox, which sorts incoming e-mail into three sections: "important and unread," "starred," and "everything else."

In a post on the official Gmail blog, Google software engineer Doug Aberdeen said the feature targets e-mail that isn't outright spam "but isn't very important." It separates the important stuff from the "bologna," or "bacn," he said.

Gmail users don't need to set up rules to accomplish the sorting. The feature takes its cues from things like who a Gmail user e-mails the most and which messages are open and replied to rather than being skipped over.

"As you use Gmail, it will get better at categorizing messages for you," Aberdeen wrote. "You can help it get better by clicking the (plus or minus) buttons at the top of the in-box to correctly mark a conversation as important or not important."

Priority Inbox is scheduled to be rolled out to all Gmail users over the next week or so. Users just have to look for the "New! Priority Inbox" link in the top right corner of their Gmail account.

The feature is getting good reviews from those who have taken some early test drives.

"For the past week I've been using Priority Inbox in test mode," said New York Times' Nick Bilton, "and although it doesn't solve the problem of e-mail overload completely, it definitely eases the pain."

Mashable's Ben Parr and others added that the feature helps solve the problem of in-boxes getting filled with hundreds of messages each day, though only a few require immediate attention. "Priority Inbox, while not perfect, is a dramatic step toward solving that problem," Parr wrote.

About the author

Michelle Meyers, associate editor, has been writing and editing CNET News stories since 2005. But she's still working to shed some of her old newspaper ways, first honed when copy was actually cut and pasted. When she's not fixing typos and tightening sentences, she's working with reporters on story ideas, tracking media happenings, or freshening up CNET News' home page.


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