Information overload is a reality of the modern workplace. The average corporate worker sends and receives more than 150 messages per day1, an email deluge of varying importance: key project updates from colleagues, requests from higher-ups, appointment reminders, and automated mail that’s often much less important. With so much information to process, simply figuring out what needs to be be read and what needs a reply takes up a lot of time. Today, we’re excited to introduce Priority Inbox Beta in Gmail, an experimental new way of reducing information overload.
Priority Inbox is a new view of your inbox that automatically helps you focus on your most important messages. Gmail has always kept spam messages out of your inbox, and now we’ve improved Gmail’s filter to help you see the emails that matter faster without requiring you to set up complex rules.
Here’s how it works: Priority Inbox splits your inbox into three sections: “Important and unread,” “Starred,” and “Everything else”:
Messages are automatically categorized as they arrive in your inbox. Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people you email most and which messages you open and reply to (these are likely more important than the ones you skip over). And as you use Gmail, it will get better. You can improve the ranking in Priority Inbox by clicking the buttons at the top of the inbox to mark conversations as important or not important.
As a result, your inbox is better organized, and you can spend your time addressing your most important emails right away. When we tested Priority Inbox at Google, we found that people spent 6% less time on email after enabling this feature. This translates to a week’s worth of time saved each year for information workers who typically spend 13 hours per week on email today!2
Luke Leonhard, Web Services Manager for Brady Corporation, says “Like many of our users, I get over a hundred messages each day. Priority Inbox saves me time by displaying emails in order of importance, letting me process them more efficiently than before. The time I save can then be spent on new projects that add value to Brady rather than managing my inbox.”
Over the next week, we’ll be rolling out Priority Inbox settings to users in organizations with the “Enable pre-release features” option selected in the Google Apps control panel.
Helping users manage lots of information has always been a core goal of Gmail, and we’re excited to see how Priority Inbox helps users in organizations mitigate information overload and get to important messages faster.
1. “Email Statistics Report, 2009-2013”, The Radicati Group, Inc, 2009
2. “Hidden Costs of Information Work in the Enterprise Exposed in New IDC Progress Report”, IDC, 2009