Thursday, September 2, 2010

How Do I Love Google, Let Me Count The Ways

I got an unexpected surprise yesterday.  I'm already loving it.  You know sometimes its those little things that just really really make you want to keep pushing.  To get through whatever it is that is weighing you down.  And hey, I'm a girl that just loves a new toy!  Google brought me that when my primary email account was offered the new beta Priority Inbox.

While I love organization and everything having a space and being in it's space.  My entire existence is surrounded by unorganized chaos.  Honestly, if it wasn't for the electronic nature of email my inbox would probably look like a newsstand after a tornado.  I jumped at the chance to go to gmail years ago.  The idea of searching instead of the constant sorting, heaven!  Yet now I've got so many lists and things and fwd fwd fwds (thanks Dad) that stuff gets lost in the shuffle.  I use my primary email for everything, event he email from this blog is forwarded to it (I go sooooo tired of checking 6 email accounts daily, seriously much happier now).  I've overlooked stuff from my boss.  Missed seeing something that was time critical.  And after being offline for travel or when I was in the hospital.  The well wishes from facebook alone (which I will be the very first to admit got me through some very dark times), I'm drowning in electronic correspondence.

So if you don't know about Priority Inbox, or you didn't understand the link, here's the short of it.  Google uses it's magic algorithm based voodoo to make a smart filter that learns what you consider important and what you consider not so important.  So far it's been leaning to telling me more stuff is important (like those facebook messages) than I really feel are important, but I've only been using it a few hours, and these things take time to learn.

So now that it thinks it has an idea of the kind of things I find important it promotes those to a special section at the top of my inbox.  Of course being Google, it doesn't stop there.  I can choose what of the important things have the right to be prioritized to this top section.  I can choose just the unread important things, all the important things, anything that hasn't been read, or my starred emails from my existing filter system including selecting specific labels - unfortunately you can't combine different labels into one section.  Below this there is another special section with the same set of options.  There is the option to add a 3rd section (or of course take away the second).  Finally there is the Everything Else section where anything not already displayed is place in the standard order.  Of course all of the sections are collapsible so they can take as little space as you want, or can be automatically hidden when empty, AND the traditional inbox is still accessible in two different ways!

My inbox has several hundred messages in it that I've never bothered to archive.  There are 157 unread messages for a variety of reasons (mostly from list servers that I've just never had time to get to).  It feels soooo very good to have the top section (which I have set to important and unread - the default setting, but if you know anything about me you know I've already played with all the options) tell me
 "Woohoo! You've read all the important messages in your inbox."  
Google you rock!

My inbox may still be chaos, but I know that I'm less likely to miss something even when I don't check my email every hour.  I also know that the important stuff can be tagged and pulled up quickly.  Additionally, if I need more visible emails in section 1 or 2 (or 3) without going to a special page I can easily up the amount shown.  Leave it to Google to leave all the options up to me.  I know it's still preliminary and there definitely wasn't enough messages today to truly test the system, but I'm so excited to be able to put this new system through a serious crash test.  It already has learned to differentiate from different facebook messages (those about friend's posts and mine - not that I realized it was doing that until some were coming in as important and others weren't), I can't wait to see what it does to my fwd fwd fwd loving friends!

Thank you Google!  I'm loving the beta!

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