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Gmail inbox experiment auto sorts 'important' messages

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Google has battled back against the dreaded "information overload" with an experimental revamp of the Gmail inbox.

Trumpeted Monday on the Google Enterprise blog, Priority Inbox is an alternative view of your Gmail inbox designed to focus your attention on "your most important messages." The beta offers filtering algorithms that "help you see the emails that matter faster" — without the need to set up complex filters of your own.

Using data such as which people you email the most and which messages you actually open and reply to, the filters automatically separate your “important and unread" missives from “everything else." And you have the ability to shuttle messages into a third "starred" category for later reading.

Naturally, you have the ability to train the filters when they don't quite sort things the way you would have. If a message is in the wrong category, you move it, and Google's algorithms take note.

In-house testing on the beta, Google says, showed that people who used it spent an average of six per cent less time sifting through their inboxes. According to the data-obsessed web giant, that translate to a week saved each year.

If you're a Google Apps user and you've enabled beta programs, you should see the new inbox view within the next week. ®

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