The service recently added free phone calls from your browser. It long ago made spam a thing of the past, something other email services have now almost caught up with completely.
And now, with the new Priority Inbox, Gmail is taking care of bacn – those annoying yet not unrequested emails that tend to clutter our inbox, getting in the way of emails you need to attend to now. This is done by dividing your into “priority emails”, “starred emails” and “everything else.”
Enabling Gmail Priority Inbox
Open up your Gmail and you just might find an invitation to use Priority Inbox. It will be in the top left, beside the settings button. Go ahead and click it if you want to use the new service; check out the screenshots below if you’re not sure yet.
Enabling the service will refresh your Gmail session, bringing you to an inbox divided into three categories: Priority Inbox, Starred and Everything Else.
Longtime Gmail users will doubtless recognize the “Starred” section. It simply shows messages you’ve starred in the past.
The new priority section, however, is different. It is programed to only show you emails that you actually need to respond to quickly. For me, this means email from other MakeUseOf writers as well as iSupportU clients. In the “Everything Else” category I can find newsletters from companies I subscribed to, forwards from friends and the occasional survey I might be interested in doing. Stuff that isn’t important, but isn’t spam. Like this:
You can hide any one of these categories by clicking the “minus” button to their right. Or, if you want to go back to your standard inbox, you can just click “Inbox” in the left panel to bring it up.
You’ll find a configuration page for the feature in “Settings,” once you add it. It looks like this:
As you can see, the three main fields on the priority page are completely configurable. You can remove the “Starred” field, or replace it with emails from a particular tag. This could be useful if you manage more than one email address with your Gmail account, and want to keep the email in seperate categories.
Naturally, a feature like this is only useful if you actually stay on top of your email. If you’re the kind of person who has 51,576 unread emails they never intend to get to, Gmail Priority Inbox probably isn’t for you.
I, however, find the feature quite useful as a personal organization tool. My email acts as a to-do list in many ways; I only keep things I need to respond to there and archive or delete everything else. The priority inbox feature hides stuff I don’t need to be thinking about, allowing me to stick to only the stuff that matters while I’m busy without giving me the option of reading the other stuff later.
Additionally, the built-in starred view in this mode allows me to keep longer-term projects in view everytime I look at my email. My new job as the editor of MakeUseOf’s PDF Manuals leaves me with many long-term projects I need to keep track of. I keep emails related to these projects in my Starred section to help me remember to follow up with the writers periodically.
But enough about me. What do you think you could use the Gmail priority inbox feature for? Or are you already using it? Feel free to discuss any of this, or how you’re just sick of tech bloggers talking about how great Gmail is, in the comments below. I’ll join right in, because I love hanging out with you guys.