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Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Google Unveils Priority Inbox For Gmail

Google unveilled a new feature to its Gmail service that aims to separate a user's important emails from the ones that do not get read often.

People are getting more and more mail and often feel overwhelmed by it all. It's time-consuming to figure out what needs to be read and what needs a reply. Today, Google introduced Priority Inbox (in beta)?an experimental new way of taking on information overload in Gmail.

Gmail has always been good at filtering junk mail into the "spam" folder. But today, in addition to spam, people get a lot of mail that isn't outright junk but isn't very important?bologna, or "bacn." So Google has evolved Gmail's filter to address this problem and extended it to not only classify outright spam, but also to help users separate this "bologna" from the important stuff. In a way, Priority Inbox is like a personal assistant, helping users focus on the messages that matter without requiring them to set up complex rules.

Priority Inbox splits an inbox into three sections: "Important and unread," "Starred" and "Everything else":

As messages come in, Gmail automatically flags some of them as important. Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people users email most (if you email Bob a lot, a message from Bob is probably important) and which messages they open and reply to (these are likely more important than the ones users skip over). And as someone uses Gmail, it will get better at categorizing messages. Users can help it get better by clicking the or buttons at the top of the inbox to correctly mark a conversation as important or not important. (Users can even set up filters to always mark certain things important or unimportant, or rearrange and customize the three inbox sections.)

Priority Inbox will be rolling out to all Gmail users, including those who use Google Apps, over the next week or so. Once you see the "New! Priority Inbox" link in the top right corner of your Gmail account (or the new Priority Inbox tab in Gmail Settings), take a look.

New Google Translate

In related news, Google today made some functional and visual changes to its online translate page, in an effort to make it simpler to use.

Google is currently rolling out several changes globally to the look and feel that should make translating text, webpages and documents on Google Translate even easier. These changes will be available globally within a couple of days.

For example, did you know that you can search across languages on Google using Google Translate? Or that you can translate incoming email in Gmail or take Google Translate with you on your phone? Google has added all these tips on the new Do more with Google Translate page.

Google has created an Inside Google Translate page, where users can learn how the company creates create the translations.

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