3 best features of the new Gmail

May 31, 2013: 9:33 AM ET

Changes are coming to Google's popular email service -- and they're good.

Gmail's new inbox approach uses Tabs and advanced auto-sorting.

Gmail's new inbox approach uses Tabs and advanced auto-sorting.

FORTUNE -- One of the most widely used email clients in the U.S. is about to get (even) better.

Over the next few weeks, Google (GOOG) will roll out a new Gmail inbox, with subtle tweaks many users ought to like. Launched in 2004, Gmail has become one of Google's most successful forays outside of its core search and advertising businesses.

As pundits called for the death of email over the years time and time again, Gmail's steady user growth proved the messaging system was anything but dying. Last summer, Google announced the service had 425 million active users worldwide, up 75 million from six months prior. The independent digital advertising company Quantcast, which measures a website's audience, also shows consistent user growth over the years, with nearly 14 million monthly active users in the U.S. alone. Here are three welcome features Gmail users can expect.

MORE: Companies are on the hunt for superfans

Advanced users who already have their email sorted into folders might not find this feature novel, but for the rest of us, Gmail's new approach to sorting out messages could make our digital lives far less cluttered. Inboxes will now be split into five categories -- including Primary (messages from people you regularly contact), Social (messages from well, social networks), and Updates (think receipts and reminders) -- with labeled tabs up top. Users can also customize those tab categories to their liking.

The best part about these new categories is that users won't have to change their behavior. Gmail's algorithms will organize their email for them, intelligently filtering out different types of messages into those different tabs. And as users continue to use it, Gmail will get better at sorting and filtering out all that obnoxious spam.

Don't like it? Opt out. 
Early adopters who can't wait for Google to introduce the new inbox approach can get a head start by heading to their settings, represented by the small cog icon in the upper-right hand corner, and clicking "Configure inbox." From there, it's just a matter of choosing which tabbed categories you'd like to appear, then pressing "Save." And whether users choose this shortcut or wait for the official upgrade, Google's playing it smart. Don't like it? Well, you can always revert back to the previous version, which well, let's face it, wasn't all that bad to start.

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 9.58.38 PM

Can't wait for Google to roll out the new Gmail? You don't have to...

Posted in: , , ,
  • A new kerfuffle behind Microsoft's anti-Google campaign

    To advance its surprisingly negative "Scroogled" campaign against Google, Microsoft is directing people to Care2, a petition site aimed at "making the world a better place." Care2 is reconsidering its terms of service.

    FORTUNE -- The main reaction to Microsoft's "Scroogled" ad campaign against Google has been surprise at the level of negativity. "Fearmongering," The Verge calls it.

    The campaign tells Internet users that they're being "scroogled" by Google's practice of "reading" data MORE

    - Feb 15, 2013 10:36 AM ET
  • How Mailbox became an instant sensation

    With 30,000 new users daily, a new email app (?!) is the only thing Silicon Valley can talk about.

    FORTUNE -- A new email app? Sounds like a snooze. But Mailbox, software for managing email on the go, is generating massive hype, with iPhone users signing up at a stunningly quick rate.

    To handle the influx of potential users, startup Orchestra employs a virtual line, allowing new users onto their servers in MORE

    - Feb 12, 2013 11:36 AM ET
  • Today in Tech: Steve Jobs wanted Android destroyed

    Fortune's curated selection of newsworthy tech stories from the last 24 hours. Sign up to get the round-up delivered to you every day.

    "You're headed for a one-term presidency." -- Steve Jobs to Barack Obama (The Huffington Post)

    "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product ... I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this." -- Jobs on Google Android (Bloomberg)

    * A few tidbits leaked in advance of Walter Isaacson's biography MORE

    - Oct 21, 2011 3:30 AM ET
  • Face it, Google. You're a portal.

    Google built its success on a simple search box that disrupted that old-line business, the web portal. So why is it working so hard to become one itself?

    By Kevin Kelleher, contributor

    FORTUNE -- Google is becoming all things online. Its quest to organize all the world's information has pushed it beyond the search box. Google saw that people loved Yelp, so it aggregated reviews. It saw how we took to group-buying MORE

    Aug 17, 2011 5:00 AM ET
  • Google reaches agreement with FTC over Buzz

    Google has agreed to receive an independent review of their privacy procedures once every two years as well as a user opt-in requirement before privacy changes are enacted.

    In a blog post today, Google (GOOG) outlined an agreement with the FTC over privacy concernes connected to the release of Google Buzz in February of  2010.  Specifically, if users took no action to change defaults, Google disclosed on users' Google profile a MORE

    - Mar 30, 2011 11:01 AM ET
  • Google: China is messing with Gmail

    The search behemoth accuses the communist state of tampering with, but not completely blocking, users of Gmail in China.

    The Guardian reports that China and Google (GOOG) are at it again.  Google is now accusing China of  tampering with access to Gmail from within China. Customers and advertisers have increasingly been complaining to Google about their Gmail service in the past month. Attempts by users to send messages, mark messages as unread and MORE

    - Mar 21, 2011 1:08 AM ET
  • Google user-managed storage launches with up to 16 terabytes of space

    Users of Google Apps will now be able to store up to 16TB of documents and images in Google's cloud.

    For companies, educational institutions and even home users who want to increase the amount of space in their Google (GOOG) Apps accounts, Google today introduced new tiered pricing plans for buying huge swaths of additional storage.

    Storage for Google Docs, Picasa Web Albums, and photos from Blogger can now scale up to MORE

    - Mar 1, 2011 12:57 PM ET
  • Google goes to the tape to get lost emails back

    I wasn't even aware they still used tape backups.

    This particular Gmail outage is proving to be particularly bad, at least for the .02% of Gmail users affected.  However, it appears the end in sight for Google.  In a post on the Gmail Blog Google (GOOG) reveals that it has had to go to tape backups and expect to finish restoring accounts in the coming hours.

    To protect your information from these unusual bugs, MORE

    - Feb 28, 2011 10:36 PM ET
  • Gmail outage passes 24 hours for some (updated)

    A small percentage of people have been without their Gmail accounts since Sunday.

    Imagine if you lost your entire email inbox, sent box, folders –everything.

    A small number of Gmail users logged into their accounts over the weekend to find just that.

    Immediately, Google (GOOG) support forums started filling up and Google's App Status dashboard issued the ominous warning, "We're investigating reports of an issue with Google Mail. We will provide more information MORE

    - Feb 28, 2011 1:01 PM ET
Current Issue
  • Give the gift of Fortune
  • Get the Fortune app
  • Subscribe
Powered by VIP.