Unified Communications Featured Article

Gmail Labs Giving 'Smart Labels' a Test Run

March 09, 2011

Google keep trying to make Gmail more user-friendly. When the company realized that vast numbers of users never quite took to its nested “conversation view” organization, Google offered another choice: the more traditional list that those of us who spent years using Microsoft Outlook had come to expect.

Last year, Google launched its Priority Inbox service that (when turned on) automatically sorts incoming e-mail and to helps users prioritize e-mails in order of importance and helps manage the deluge most of us get on a daily basis.

Today, the company is launching a complementary feature in Gmail Labs called Smart Labels to help users classify and organize their Gmail. Once you turn it on from the Labs tab in Settings, says Google, Smart Labels automatically categorizes incoming Bulk, Notification and Forum messages, and labels them as such.

“Bulk” mail includes any kind of mass mailing (such as newsletters and promotional email) and gets filtered out of your inbox by default (where you can easily read it later), “Notifications” are messages sent to you directly (like account statements and receipts), and e-mail from group mailing lists gets labeled as “Forums.”

The goal is to make your life easier, even if you already use filters, says Google blogger Stanley Chen.

“You may find that you can replace your existing filters with Smart Labels. If you're picky like me and still want to hold on to your current organization system, Smart Labels play nice with other labels and filters too. On the Filters tab under Settings, you'll find that these filters can be edited just like any others. From there, you can also edit your existing filters to avoid having them Smart Labeled or change whether mail in a Smart Label skips your inbox (which you can also do by just clicking on the label, then selecting or unselecting the checkbox in the top right corner),” wrote Chen.

The feature is a work in progress, apparently, and Google is encouraging feedback. “If you notice a message that was automatically labeled incorrectly and want to help us troubleshoot, you can report miscategorizations from the drop down menu on each message (in doing so, you’ll donate the full message to our engineers so that we can improve the feature). Give it a try and send us feedback on how we can make it work better for you!”

It's worth a try. Anything that helps make the mountain a molehill is welcome.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for unified communications. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee

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