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Google: Priority Inbox saving Gmail users time

Gmail's Priority Inbox feature is allowing people to spend 15 percent less time on e-mail, according to Google.

The basics of Priority Inbox in Gmail.
The basics of Priority Inbox in Gmail. Google

Gmail's Priority Inbox, which launched in August and enables users to separate important e-mails from ones that can wait till later, is actually saving people time, Google said in a blog post yesterday.

According to the company, Gmail users who are utilizing Priority Inbox are spending about 43 percent more of their time "reading important mail." Google added that Priority Inbox users overall are spending 15 percent less time sifting through e-mail than those who aren't tapping the feature.

Priority Inbox separates e-mail into three categories: "important and unread," "starred," and "everything else." The feature also includes plus and minus buttons for sorting content. Important e-mails can be promoted to the "important and unread" section with the plus button, while those that were incorrectly categorized as "important" can be moved to the "everything else" list with the minus button. Along the way, Gmail tries to learn what's important and what's not to limit those mistakes in the future.

That doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. In fact, Google announced that along with its newly released stats, it has added the ability for people to find out why a particular e-mail was marked as "important." Users will need to hover their mouse over the respective message to get the explanation.

In addition, Google said that Gmail users thought Priority Inbox was learning too slowly. The company has now "made it much more responsive to your manual corrections." Google didn't divulge any details on how it achieved a faster response time.