Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Google Is On A Roll This Week

Lots of good things came out of Google recently. OK, 2 things. One is interesting, and the other should be highly useful.

One of the reasons I stick with gmail is for the storage space and the world-class spam filter. I rarely have a problem with spam thanks to gmail. I also like that I can get my mail just about anywhere: on the web, in Outlook, on my iPhone, or on just about any other device I might have. The convenience is great.

The interesting thing Google rolled out is the ability to make calls from gmail. I say it’s interesting because I’m not sure I’ll use it much. I can’t get Christina to test it with me. I called my iPhone from gmail and had the boys take it into another room, but they started fighting over who was going to hold the phone and ruined the experiment.

The next thing Google rolled out is called Priority Inbox. This is based on gmail’s spam filter and addresses a very real problem: email overload.

Gmail already has a heavy filtering system built in. You can create folders (or labels) and then filters based on those labels. I probably have 200 filters already, and it seems like I’m creating several more each week. I hate when I’m out, and expecting an email. Every time my iPhone tells me I have a new email, I rip it out of my pocket, enter the passcode, go to email, and find the whole experience anti-climactic. Rather than the important email I’m waiting for, it’s only  the 14th special offer GoDaddy has sent me this afternoon. Like I buy that many websites from them. Or it’s the AFA whining about another secular news organ being biased against Christian interests. Or it’s an automated reminder telling me my cable or cell phone bill is due in 3 weeks. Nothing important, and definitely not the email I was waiting for.

It seems that no matter how aggressively I filter my email, I still have to deal with tons of non-important “bac’n” in my inbox taking up time. I prefer to filter those into other folders then deal with them when I feel like it.

Because I handle email similar to the principles taught in “Getting Things Done”, I don’t mark an email as read or delete it (gmail archive) unless all actions required by that email have been completed. So while I’m out for a while, I can build up a ton of email in my inbox until I get home and can set up new filters so those kinds of emails will skip my inbox in the future.

I’m looking forward to the Priority Inbox. It would be nice to spend less time setting up filters in gmail.

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