Google: Gmail Conversation View Can Be Shut Up


Google has revealed a way to shut off the conversation view in Gmail, a feature that organized e-mails by topic, sender or subject to keep a single conversation lumped together.

The move to allow users to shut off conversation view, also called "message threading," comes after months of gripes on the part of some users.

"The way Gmail organizes mail into conversations is like cilantro. You either love it -- and, like me, enjoy the nice citrusy, herbal finish it gives to everything from salsa to curry -- or you hate it," wrote Google Technical Lead Wiltse Carpenter in a post on Google's Gmail blog.

Later, Carpenter added: "It turns out not everyone feels the same way. And just as an outspoken minority has banded together in unison to declare their distaste of one of nature’s most delicious herbs, some of you have been very vocal about your dislike of conversation threading."

Google originally wore conversation view as a badge of honor, touting it as an option for enterprises and in Google Apps, its cloud collaboration and message offering, to keep strings of e-mail messages together in a coherent fashion. But consumers quickly sought a way to shut it off and asked for a way to view Gmail with a more traditional inbox.

Some users wanted to shut up conversation view so badly that they took to the Web with a petition. That petition, which launched in May 2009, now boasts the signatures of nearly 2,000 users asking for a conversation view off switch.

To the signers of that petition, Google employee Paul McDonald wrote: "Today is your lucky day. We just started to release the option to turn off conversation view in Gmail. Just go to the main Settings page, look for the "Conversation View" section, select the option to turn it off, and save changes. If you change your mind, you can always go back."

According to Carpenter, the ability to turn off conversation view will be rolled out to Gmail users over the next few days.

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