Thursday, January 16, 2014

Meet the New Inbox from Gmail

Gmail just released a change to their inbox that would be a welcome change to people who feel a little overwhelmed by the deluge of email in their Inboxes. This article will walk you through the key features and how to use this immediately.

Essentially, Gmail Inbox can displays up 5 tabs - each tab representing a broad category of email communications that you can potentially get in any given day. The 5 categories are:

1) Primary

Email that falls under this tab would be 1-to-1 email conversations between a sender and you. In addition, any emails that dont fall under the other categories would be placed under the Primary tab.

2) Social

These will be emails from the all too familiar social media sites, social networks and online dating sites like YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook.

3) Promotions

This should be a popular category as it groups emails relating to deals, offers and other marketing campaigns.

4) Updates

This can be the auto-generated updates from sites you subscribed to as well as updates from a person. Examples could confirmation, statements, bills and receipts.

5) Forums

This would be email related to forum messages. Google Groups, discussion boards and mailing lists.

How to Configure

I have multiple Gmail accounts, but only one was automatically configured upon login. So if you have a Gmail account and it is still showing the old interface, you can try the steps below.

First inside Gmail,  click on  Settings (Gear icon) and select Configure Inbox.

You will be presented with options to select one or more of the 5 tabs - Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forum - to appear in your new Inbox. As you hover over each of the option, you can see a preview of the actual email from your Inbox that will fall under that category. Click on Save once you are done.

The screen to configure the new Gmail Inbox
The 5 tabs in the new Gmail Inbox - Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums

Gmail will load the new settings in 10 seconds and you should see a splash screen like the one below.

Gmail new Inbox splash screen
Splash Screen to announce the conversion to the new tab-based Inbox from Gmail

Your new Inbox should look like what is shown below.

View of the new Gmail Inbox with the 5 tabs - Primary, Social, Promotion, Updates and Forums
The tabs as they appear in the new Gmail Inbox

Try this and see if you feel less overwhelmed by you email. If you dont like the new Inbox interface after trying, you can always go back to the Configuration screen and deselect all tabs. Its that simple!

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