Gmail users rejoice! Thanks to the nifty roll-out of “Priority Inbox” by Gmail, fighting spam has never been easier. We know that Google has rolled out some pretty advanced spam filters; but they’ve never filtered out the bulk of newsletters, store promotions and Aunt Irma’s forwards like they have today. With just a few simple tweaks, you’ll be able to customize your inbox to suit whatever it is that’s most important to you in Gmail.
Here is Google’s how-to video about the service:
Where this news is pretty amazing; Farhad Manjoo at Slate offers a bit of a reality check.
Still, Priority Inbox is a work in progress’even after you train it for weeks to capture important messages, it’s not going to be perfect. Technically, sussing out valuable mail is a very different kind of problem from fighting spam. Spam-hunting benefits greatly from crowdsourcing’when millions of Yahoo or Gmail users flag a message as spam, it (and messages like it) gets filtered out for everyone. But the crowd doesn’t have much to say about what messages you are likely to find interesting; these are more personal decisions, and they’ll require more creative approaches by software engineers. Gmail has made a great start in this effort, but I hope Priority Mail gets competition from Microsoft, Yahoo, and other e-mail companies. We’re all going to keep getting more e-mail, and we’re going to need all the help we can get.