Google is currently rolling out a new look inbox to all Gmail users. I have been using Gmail for some years now as my main email account. The service is excellent – it has always been very good at dealing with spam, I love the fact that the search bar in Gmail works as quickly and efficiently as Google itself, and it’s also a really easily recognisable address – helps when giving your address on the ‘phone.
There have been a number of updates to the look and feel of the site in recent years but a bigger update has just been released. This video demonstrates quite well what the changes are:
What the new system does is automatically sort your incoming mail into these main tabs:
Primary – main messages and conversations
Social – things to do with your social networks – like notifications from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn
Promotions – email newsletters, sales stuff
Updates – new blog posts you’re subscribed to, software updates
Forums – new conversations on any email groups or forums you’re in – like Freecycle
At first I was a bit freaked out – when a software company moves things around it’s a bit like when they move things at the supermarket. When Google changes your email settings it’s more like someone’s come in and cleaned your office and changed your filing system. It felt a little bit intrusive initially. However, after the initial disorientation I am now really liking the new set up. I can see at a glance whether a new email is something I need to pay attention to. If I want I can just keep an eye on ‘Primary’ and leave the other tabs for tidying up at a set time each day.
The phone app has been updated in the same way – although currently I’m finding the web based version easier to use.
You might have to do a little rearranging initially – here is how to move an email from one tab to another in a short film I made:
You can switch the whole thing off if you want but I would encourage you to give it a trial for a week and see how you like it – I’m finding it very useful. It’s like having an OCD friend come round and clean your house!
My friend Lucy agreed with this on Twitter:
Google have made it a little tricky to change the settings on your inbox but you can do it by clicking on the cog on the right hand of the screen and choosing either ‘configure inbox’ or ‘settings’ and then ‘inbox’:
Here are some other articles about the new look gmail inbox:
Stephanie Meyers says email marketers should be worried (good news for us consumers though!)
And an ever useful piece from Hubspot