Gmail ‘Priority Inbox’ Aims to Sort Email

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Google announced a new Gmail feature this week called Priority Inbox, which sorts incoming email into three sections.

The sections include “important and unread,” “starred” and “everything else.”

On the official Gmail blog, Google software engineer Doug Aberdeen said the feature targets email that isn’t outright spam, but isn’t very important. It separates the important stuff from the “bacn,” he said.

The company said that Gmail users don't need to set up rules to accomplish the sorting. The feature takes its cues from things like who a Gmail user emails the most and which messages are open and replied to rather than being skipped over.

"As you use Gmail, it will get better at categorizing messages for you," Aberdeen wrote. "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."

Priority Inbox is scheduled to be rolled out to all Gmail users over the next week or so. Users just have to look for the "New! Priority Inbox" link in the top right corner of their Gmail account.

Some Gmail users who have given Priority Inbox a test drive said the feature helps solve the problem of inboxes getting filled with hundreds of messages each day, though only a few require immediate attention. The users also said while not perfect, it’s a dramatic step toward solving that problem.