I’m a longtime Gmail user, but between my BlackBerry and the fact that I don’t get a ton of personal email, I’ve never spent a lot of time working in its web interface. That changed recently when I began piloting Google Apps Premier Edition for me and a couple of other colleague at work – a process I hope to write more about in a future post. But for now, I want to talk about the increase in productivity I’ve seen in the short time I’ve been using Gmail for work, as well as a promising new feature being rolled out today called Priority Inbox.
After using Microsoft Outlook and an add-in called ClearContext Pro to manage my work email for years, the move to Gmail has been refreshing. I’m well acquainted with its labels, filters, and powerful search features, but because I was never able to remember all but the most basic keyboard shortcuts, productivity eluded me. But then one day, Doug Bowman (@stop) made my week by posting this little tip on twitter:
I hopped over to my Gmail tab in Chrome, hit
Shift-? on my keyboard and, as said by Doug, boom:
Now, if I can’t remember the shortcuts for moving to the previous or next messages in a thread, I can just bring up that overlay, glance at the combination, and get back to work. Awesome.
And I can’t tell you how much time I save by not having to take my hand away from the keyboard to point and click for labeling, archiving, searching, reading, composing, sending, etc., but it’s a lot.
As Matt Glotzbach, Google’s product management director for Google Enterprise, told us earlier today, Priority Inbox functions like a reverse spam filter. Instead of looking for spam, however, Priority Inbox tries to determine which emails are most important to you. It examines a number of implicit and explicit signals, including who the people are that you tend to email most often and which emails you star, delete, archive and answer. You can also train the algorithm explicitly with the help of a +/- button. Based on this algorithm, Google then calculates a priority score for every email and will push the most important messages to the top of the list.
Google even has a cute promotional video for Priority Inbox that walks you though how it works.
Outlook – you won’t be missed.