Google rolls out new Gmail Inbox with automatic sorting of emails.

Last month, at the 2013 Google I/O event, Google announced that Gmail is going to get three new built-in features -- namely Gmail Actions, Google Wallet, and Google Hangouts -- that will make our email usage much more intuitive and responsive.

Now, the search giant is releasing yet another major function in its free email service: the new Gmail Inbox. Or what I call, “Inbox 2.0”.

If you haven’t heard about it last week, Inbox 2.0 is Google’s way of helping you organize all the clutter in your inbox. Simply put, it’s like having a personal virtual assistant sorting through your entire inbox and labeling them by important, social, promotions, spam, etc..

While we still use SaneBox for this (think Gmail's Priority Inbox on steroids), these new features further validate the issues people are having maintaining sanity with email, is a great customer-driven move by Google, and further complicates the jobs of email marketers (facepalm!).

Getting the Shiny Package

According to the the Gmail Team, the new inbox is gradually rolling out to all Gmail users, both desktop and mobile. But if you’d like to check if you’re already eligible to use the feature, here’s how to get started:

First, login to your Gmail account. Click the “Settings” box found at the top right portion of your inbox, the one with the gear icon near your profile pic. If you already have the new inbox, you’ll then see a “Configure inbox” option.

After clicking “Configure inbox”, a pop-up window is going to give you instructions on how to configure your new inbox tabs. If you hover over each tab option, you’ll see that the Primary tab is for “Person-to-person conversations and messages.” Social, on the other hand, is for emails coming from all your social network channels.

You’ll also have the option to include “starred” messages under the Primary tab. Other tabs available are Promotions, Updates, and Forums.

Once you’ve clicked on the “Save” button, you’ll then notice that that tabs you’ve chosen are now appearing above your email messages.

It’s important to note that choosing just the Primary tab won’t let you use the new inbox. You’ll have to select at least one more tab to be shown.

Getting Back Your Old Inbox

If you’re one of those users who are still uneasy in “switching”, or just don’t like the new interface, you can always revert back to the old look by clicking on the “Settings” box again, choose “Configure inbox”, click all the boxes that are checked, and save. Once you’ve uncheck every tab option, except for the default Primary, you’ll then be able to remove the tabs above your messages.

And if you’re still using Gmail in its “raw form”, which means you’re not using anything to organize your inbox, then it’s time that you explore some existing options to better manage your incoming messages. Trust me. Take the leap.

Of course, Gmail’s Priority Inbox is already an organizer out of the box. It’s been designed to “automatically identify your important incoming messages and separates them out from everything else.”

But one of the best ways in taking control of your inbox is by using Filters. But before you start using that option, it’s best to study how to create Labels first. Once you’ve created labels, it’s much easier to take advantage of Filters because you’ll now be able to tell Gmail where to put a certain type of message.

If you’re having trouble following Google’s tutorials, then try this one from Mashable.

The Art of Fighting Email Clutter

With the increasing number of mobile users around the world, getting connected with other people is easier and faster than ever before. And one of the “old” communication tools that are likely to strive in this social media-crazed generation is email.

It’s plain to see then why email is important to Google. These newly revealed features in Gmail are probably just a hint of what’s more to come. Just scratching the surface of the eventual evolution of email.

And Yahoo is also getting the memo. Look at how they’ve recently announced the discontinuation of their Mail Classic.

But the common question that’s been always ask by email users is this: how can I make my inbox more organized, clutter-free, and less of a time waster.

The Gmail Team is not the first to tackle such a million-dollar question. Apps like our favorite, Sanebox, plus Mailbox and are already providing email users a way to achieve the elusive “inbox zero”.

Let’s take Sanebox as an example. Their app is automatic (and integrates with Google Apps and Gmail). Meaning, everything is done in the background, like putting all unimportant messages in a folder called “Sanelater”.

However, unlike the new Gmail Inbox, Sanebox is a paid app. But on the upside, they promise to “never read or store your emails.” And its users are online personalities like Robert Scoble, KissMetrics’ Hiten Shah, author and speaker Tony Robbins, and Path’s Dave Morin.

[Sidenote: Check out their 100 Email Hacks to keep fighting for Inbox 0.

Wrapping It Up

Google is making a great customer-driven decision with this, while Yahoo is playing catch up by shutting down their Mail Classic to drive revenue to read your email. It will be interesting to see what Microsoft does in wake of all this, while they continue to throw money at their annoying Scroogled advertising campaigns, saying “ is different -- we don’t go through your email to sell ads.”

Anyways, Google is playing chess, while Yahoo and Microsoft are playing checkers.

Outside of the privacy bubble, we can see clearly that Google, or specifically the Gmail Team, is really intent in taking email communication to a whole new level. And in the process, making us still believe that email is indeed not dead.


Are you already using the new inbox in Gmail? What’s your experience so far?