Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gmail Priority Inbox

1337 Librarian here, with your weekly technology fix. First of all, an update from my column last week. Apple did indeed have their press conference, and they announced new version of the iPod Touch, the Nano, the Shuffle and Apple TV. Of particular note was the iPod Touch, which is getting the higher quality screen of the iPhone, plus souped up cameras, video chat and a game center. Meanwhile, Apple TV launched another assault on mainstream television delivery services (like cable and satellite) by offering TV show rentals for 99 cents each. Amazon countered this by offering TV show purchases for 99 cents each. You have to love it when big corporations fight over pricing and products--a lot of the time, the end result is a win for consumers. Very nice.


My post this week is on Gmail's new Priority Inbox feature. What is this, you ask, and why should you care? You should care if you use Gmail (or the University of Maine's email service, which is now powered by Gmail). What it does is essentially analyze your email usage pattern and then sort your inbox for you, putting "important" emails first, allowing you to not miss anything vital. It's got the ability to take corrections, so if it labels something as unimportant, you can fix that.

I've been using it now for a few days, and I have to say that I'm pretty impressed. If you get a slew of emails, it does a good job of acting as a first filter of sorts for you. If you only get five emails a day, it's not going to make that big of a difference. (Do you really need to be organizing five emails, after all?) But if you're inundated, it can be a real help.

Better yet, you can enable it or disable it at will, so why not give it a shot? To activate it, look for the "Priority Inbox" link in the upper right hand screen of your Gmail account. Use it for a bit, then come back here to tell me how it goes. I'd love to get more opinions.

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