A couple months ago Gmail rolled out a new inbox that promised to sort all my email for me. After reading the blog post and watching the intro video (below) I was pretty optimistic that it would work.
But let’s take a step back: what basis do I have for opining on an inbox? Since switching to Gmail in April, 2005 I had carefully cultivated a very detailed filtering system to label all of my incoming messages, many of them skipping the inbox, some being marked as read. The list of filters had grown to over 350 and was regularly purged for ones that were no longer needed.
While my system worked great – I had a manageable inbox of relevant messages and a pretty useful process for quickly reviewing the rest – it had a couple significant issues:
- It required regular maintenance to keep working smoothly
- It was almost impossible to share with anyone else
So I made a backup of all my filters, then I deleted them all and let Google handle all the sorting. And it worked. After using the new inbox for a little over 3 months I have no complaints. The sorting works great. And if it is ever wrong I can quickly move a message to the right tab and Google learns from my correction.
One of my favorite parts: it keeps my notifications in check. By keeping my priority inbox to things that matter I can keep notifications on without being overwhelmed. And that makes email more useful.