Google's Gmail Priority Inbox got a boost of intelligence, telling users why it marked messages as important. The tool's algorithm also sped up responses to manual corrections.
Google made its smart inbox software feature for Gmail smarter and faster
Dec. 6, responding to users' requests.
Gmail Priority Inbox
is an opt-in feature that lets users
designate some messages as more important than others at a time when users are
buckling under the weight of e-mail overload.
The tool looks at whom a person e-mails and chats with most, how often they
e-mail people, and which keywords appear frequently in the e-mails they read.
Once the customization tool categorizes messages, it stacks them in Gmail in
sections marked important, important and unread, starred items, and everything
Google Engineering Manager Pal Takacsi-Nagy said the tool is already paying
dividends. Based on median time in conversation view, Takacsi-Nagy said
typical Priority Inbox users spend 43 percent more time
reading important mail compared with unimportant messages.
Moreover, users are spending 15 percent less time reading e-mail overall
than Gmail users who don't use Priority Inbox, he said. These are the type of time
savings Google envisioned when it launched the product in the waning days of
To provide more insight into why Google categorizes certain messages as
important, Google is now providing explanations for its importance markers,
which tell users if a message is important and unread, important and read, or
When Priority Inbox users hover over an importance marker they will see a
short explanation, such as "Important because you marked it as
important" or "Important mainly because of the people in the
Google also boosted the tool's response time to manual corrections after
users complained that Priority Inbox "didn't learn fast enough,"
Time will tell if these improvements will suit users, particularly the power
Gmail users who use the app as their primary e-mail account.
eWEEK has tested
Priority Inbox and found it to be marginally useful for
someone who uses Gmail as their personal e-mail with moderate messaging.
In the meantime, here are tips and tricks
to using Gmail Priority Inbox.