Google's Priority Inbox Sorts Gmail For You

Mail is split into three categories: important and unread, starred and everything else, which helps unburden users from the overwhelming amount of mail they receive, wrote Doug Aberdeen, a Google software engineer, in a post on the company's Gmail blog.

"People tell us all that time that they're getting more and more mail and often feel overwhelmed by it all," Aberdeen wrote. "It's time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply."

Google calls mail that isn't very important "bologna" or "bacn" and has evolved Gmail's filter to separate the "bologna," mail that is subscribed to but not read very frequently, from more important mail. "Priority Inbox is like your personal assistant, helping you focus on the messages that matter without requiring you to set up complex rules," Aberdeen wrote.

Gmail uses a variety of filters to predict which messages are important, including how often a sender sends you mail and whose mail you tend to open first and reply to, according to Google.

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"As you use Gmail, it will get better at categorizing messages for you. You can help it get better by clicking the "plus" or "minus" buttons at the top of the inbox to correctly mark a conversation as important or not important," Aberdeen wrote.

Priority Inbox is currently in beta after being tested internally and with select users. It is being rolled out to users over the next week. Once you see a "New! Priority Inbox" link in red at the top right corner of your screen, you can try it out.