Business Technology

Monday 19 March 2018

Google adds ‘priority inbox’ to Gmail

New feature aims to automatically prioritise important emails to help people manage the deluge of messages they receive every day

Google has launched a 'priority inbox' feature for Gmail to help people manage the email deluge more easily
Google has launched a 'priority inbox' feature for Gmail to help people manage the email deluge more easily

Claudine Beaumont

Google has launched a new ‘priority inbox’ service for its web-based email service, Gmail.

The search giant has developed a complex set of algorithms that can analyse a user’s email behaviour, and rank emails depending on their perceived importance.

Users who switch on the priority inbox function will see their messages separated in to three categories, with emails deemed important and unread bumped to the top of the inbox.

Messages that have been “starred” by users, perhaps as a way of donating importance, or something that they still need to action, will appear next, with all other emails appearing at the bottom of the inbox pane.

Google said that its email algorithms analysed a variety of factors, including a user’s most frequently emailed contacts, and the number of other people copied in to the same message.

The search company also said that the content of the email was also analysed to ascertain its importance.

Google already “scans” emails to deliver targeted advertising, and to filter out messages that could be considered spam.

“Priority inbox is like your personal assistant, helping you focus on the messages that matter without requiring you to set up complex rules,” wrote Doug Aberdeen, a senior software engineer at Google, on the company’s blog.

“Gmail has always been pretty good at filtering junk mail into the ‘spam’ folder, but today, in addition to spam, people get a lot of mail that isn’t outright junk but isn’t very important.”

Google said that its priority inbox feature would be rolled out across all Gmail and Google Apps accounts over the next couple of weeks.

Gmail, which was launched in April 2004, stunned internet users by offering an unprecedented 1GB of free email storage. The service now has an estimated 146 million monthly users.

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