What Gmail's New Priority Inbox Means For You

Over the last few days, the Internet has been buzzing with the new beta release of Priority Inbox for Gmail, a new feature which will make dealing with email a lot easier. Who is this for? Should you switch it on? Read on to find out more!

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Priority Inbox is a great feature which basically lets users who get a lot of email, anywhere from 10-1,000 a day, deal with their incoming emails effectively. The great thing about Priority Inbox is that once it's switched on, it will learn from you habits, enabling you to get things done even better.

As someone who receives 20-50 emails a day, Priority Inbox is obviously something that works very well for me. However, since I use Merlin Mann's Inbox Zero technique, which means that my inbox is empty every time I close it, its effectiveness isn't really tested.

However, if you receive a deluge of Facebook updates, comments, replies from blogs, status updates from different social networking sites, Priority Inbox could easily help you clear out the clutter and the noise. Priority Inbox will help you prioritize which emails are important and which aren't.

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Think of Priority Inbox as a quicker way of getting to Inbox Zero. In essence, Gmail will sort the emails you have in your inbox according to some rules which you establish when you set it up. There are some handy '+' and '-' to assign priorities to specific emails. It's a reverse spam filter which sends important messages to the top of your inbox queue. This is based on what you read and what you respond to.

In the browser version of Gmail, you'll find the priority inbox at the top, which is then followed by the items or conversations that you've starred. Then, you'll find your normal inbox. You can easily switch between these views. While it might sound complicated, it's definitely a great way of earmarking emails that you deem as important and disregarding others.

Gmail says that this new feature is for users that get hundreds or thousands of emails a day, like Kevin Rose from Digg. As an example, you could easily give a lesser priority to deal offers, email lists, various updates, social networking updates, etc. These can be received but handled differently than the ones you receive from your boss, colleagues, family, and friends.

The feature will get smarter the more you use it, since it learns from the way that you send and receive email. You can speed it up even further by using the buttons to mark an email as important or not.

[images via Wired, official Gmail Blog, Smarterware]

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