Friday, May 31, 2013

Google adds tabs to Gmail, aims to declutter inbox

ImageGoogle on Wednesday announced a new inbox for Gmail, the company's email service used by over 400 million people worldwide. In a post on its official blog the company said that the new inbox would help users sort their emails better and focus on the communication that mattered to them.

The new inbox, which will be rolled out to users in the coming weeks, will sort mails under five different tabs by default. The primary tab, which will be visible to the user when he logs into Gmail, will be for the genuine and important communication. Email notifications sent by social media sites will automatically go under the Social tab and emails sent by e-commerce sites like eBayor Amazon will go under the Promotions tab. The two others tabs deal with confirmation emails and messages from mailing lists.
Each tab will also show the number of new or unread messages.

"We get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more. All of these emails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done," wrote Itamar Gilad, a product manager for Gmail, on the Google blog. "Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around."

Gilad noted that the new inbox would allow users customization options. "Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what's new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when," he wrote.

In many ways, the new feature is similar to Labels and Filters that users can create withinGmail to sort emails. Through a new Filter, users can set emails from websites like Twitter and Facebook to skip their main inbox. Instead, these mails can be sorted into a virtual folder with the help of a new Label.

However, the tabbed inbox automates the whole process and makes it easier, especially for less-technology savvy users, to sort and prioritize emails in a better way. By putting tabs on top of the inbox it also makes easier for users to access the emails that have skipped the main inbox.

"You can easily customize the new inbox - select the tabs you want from all five to none, drag-and-drop to move messages between tabs, set certain senders to always appear in a particular tab and star messages so that they also appear in the Primary tab," wrote Gilad.

Google said that users who don't like the new inbox would have the option to go back to classic inbox.

"The (new) desktop, Android and iOS versions will become available within the next few weeks. If you'd like to try out the new inbox on desktop sooner, keep an eye on the gear menu and select Configure inbox when it appears in the settings options," wrote Gilad.

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