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Gmail's New Priority Inbox Feature Knows Which Emails Are Important To You

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Google is rolling out a new beta feature to Gmail users: The Priority Inbox. It's a way for Gmail to learn which emails are important to you and make sure that you see them first. Oh, and it works incredibly well.

I've been trying out the Priority Inbox feature for a bit and have found that it's rather reliable, albeit initially a bit prone to deeming too many things important.

The way it works is that you'll find a link in the top right of your Gmail inbox sometime soon and be offered the opportunity to use the Priority Inbox. You'll be able to fiddle with some settings to get it to look just right:


Once done, you'll start seeing the Priority Inbox instead of the standard inbox—though you can select the other at any point—and your emails will be sorted by importance. The feature bases the importance of an email on whether you've previously read emails from its sender, whether you've emailed that person before, and other mysterious factors. If you ever find that it misjudged an email, you can simple add or remove its importance marker just as you'd add or remove a Gmail label.

It took about a dozen adjustments over the course of a day, but now I'm finding that the Priority Inbox is organizing my emails rather accurately and placing loved ones and my boss on top of the email pile:


As you can see, I was previously using a confusing-yet-effective combination of labels to designate how important an email is to me—the direct label indicated whether I or a mailing list were the recipient while several labels listing companies and individuals marked other importance factors. If the Priority Inbox feature continues to be as good as it's been so far, I'll finally be able to ditch that label system and trust in Gmail.

Now, if Google decides to add another feature to allow me to forward emails based on importance, then I'd be in email heaven. Hint, hint.