back to article Gmail auto sorts bulk mail, notifications, forum messages

Google has introduced a new Gmail tool designed to automatically identify and sort certain types of messages, including "bulk" mail, group mailing list "forum" messages, and notifications such as online account statements and receipts. This past August, in an effort to battle the dreaded "information overload", Mountain View …


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  1. GettinSadda
    Thumb Up

    Just tried it

    And with no training it hit probably about 95% correct

    This could work well (fingers crossed!)

  2. Chris Hatfield

    Great Innovation, but IMAP duplication nightmare?

    GMail just continues to get better and better. <3

    However, have heard of many IMAP clients duplicating messages that have more than one label (e.g. "inbox" "forums") , so that could be a problem?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Isn't that the point, IMAP uses folders and if you have more than one label, then that message will be in more than one folder. What is the alternative, only have it in one folder? IMAP clients are built to IMAP specs, not how Google sees how IMAP should work.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Google sees what I see.

        Folders are a taxonomical nightmare. Labels ... not so much.

        We're talking emails, not pieces of paper. They can go in more than one "drawer". IMAP needs to catch up with the 21st Century.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Creepy much?

    Right... well now this is just too creepy. Google's looking far too deeply into my e-mail, even if it's all algorithmic and what have you. I don't need Google sorting my e-mail for me. Is there a opt-out?

    If not that's the end of it, I'll be taking my e-mail elsewhere.

    1. Mike007


      "To use it, you must turn it on in the Labs tab in the Gmail setting interface."

      So to answer your question yes you can opt out, by NOT going in to the settings and enabling experimental features then turning on smart tabs...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Obviously I meant when the service goes live for everyone. Google Labs is where Google tests new features before going live, isn't it?

        But now that you mention it, I'd also like to know if they are already doing this kind of automatic sorting and the labs thing just makes the UI change.

        I'm OK with google being paid handsomely by advertisers to match ads to keywords on my messages, however this is going too far for me.

        1. Dave Bell

          Check the Spam Detection

          As the article said, it's duplicating what you can do with filters, but it looks as though it's using some of the detection techniques they already apply to Spam. And some of this doesn't need anything more than looking at the headers.

          The keyword matching for one mailing list I'm on is interesting--fiction in 1930s pulp style, about seaplanes. We were discussing whether the natives would regard aviation safety as a religious duty, and I saw adverts for spanners, parachutes, and a company selling clerical clothing.

          Somebody drew a picture.

  4. DaveyDaveDave


    Obviously they're already doing this sort of analysis, and far more besides, which is how the ad matching works. If that's really too much for you, then yes, you'll have to move your email somewhere else. Only after you've firmly affixed your tin foil hat, of course.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Obvious? I think not

      Well I'm sorry but it's not obvious at all to me, maybe because Google doesn't even have a privacy policy to explain what they do with Gmail (but have for their other products).

      I don't even use Gmail online, just the ActiveSync interface which has no ads, so why analyse any of my information at all, is it used for anything?

      This is not a matter of tinfoil hat, being able to mine the worlds personal (and even some corporate) communications is a real and enormous power which no single organization, let alone for-profit company, has ever held before. In wrong hands the consequences are unimaginable.

      Yet Google only appears as this huge black box, with sometimes creepy outputs like these, brushing all concerns under their "don't do evil" rug.

      The services may be free, but it's what we do and publish that pays them $29 billion a year in revenue. I think we're being naive if we don't demand to know more.

  5. JaitcH

    Sounds better than Opera mail - but I still don't trust Google with my mail

    Any content of any computer server in US territory can be copies/acquired by the US government without the need of a judge and under imposed secrecy - which is Reason 1 why I won't use Google.

    Secondly, notwithstanding their benefits to society, I won't entrust them with my mail as I don't know what they do to it/with it.

    Still, this latest mail App seems to be more user friendly than Opera Mail 2 - Version 1 was great for my use by Version 2 never worked as I needed it to. Thunderbird 2 did.

    My e-mail provider, somewhere in Scandinavia, runs a smart system and it automatically pre-sorts some categories for me - I was amazed how much 'junk' mail arrives each week - all stored away in a folder. I can also preset filters which is, in a way like this Google App, so I am very happy thank you.

    1. Dino

      torchuring email...

      re: I won't entrust them with my mail as I don't know what they do to it/with it.

      I totally agree.. I mean waterboarding email - plays havoc with the laptop all that water!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You should remember that... can't actually trust _anyone_ with your email. If it's in an email, I assume it's possible to be read by anyone, just like a post card. That's why I get exceptionally annoyed when a website I've just registered with sends me my password in plain text (not to mention the fact they shouldn't actually know my password, just the hash).

      Most of the time however, nobody important (or at least nobody you know) will actually read your email. But you should forget any illusion you may have of your email being secure unless everything is sent strongly encrypted, and that decryption only occurs on your client and not on their server. It doesn't matter that your email is in Scandanavia, if I happen to sit on one of the hops it passes through (something you have absolutely no control over) then I can read it. Remember that.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Some good points on both sides.

        To me the the uncomfortable bit of this feature is that Google will now be collect reports and be "taught" by the users themselves about the type of each message, a crucial bit of help they didn't have before. In addition I can't see how this helps them target ads, so why do it?

        If the categories become further broken down I'll not be pleased. It would just look like the perfect service for a .gov (foreing or not) to grab on to.

  6. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I switched a few weeks back

    hotmail inbox - 37 spam messages and a few in the inbox not marked as spam.

    Import everything to Gmail and i have 1 spam message and none in my inbox.

    Brilliant =]

  7. deshepherd


    "So to answer your question yes you can opt out, by NOT going in to the settings and enabling experimental features then turning on smart tabs..."

    ... I expect google will still be scanning all your emails (isn't that the deal for getting the "free" service) and the choice you have is to enable the "look what we've found" option.

  8. Rob 101

    OK, so seems to work

    But unfortunately it lumps all of my subscriptions together etc so will be sticking to my custom filters.

    Not bad though. What it could do with is the additional option to remove the inbox label to keep things tidy looking.

    1. zedee

      rt: remove the inbox label

      You remove the Inbox label by archiving the message - access archived mail by clicking the "All Mail" label.

  9. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up



    Please note though - it's not called 'Smart Labels' but 'SmartLabels'. It took me a while to find it in Labs as searching for 'Smart Labels' does not bring it up.

  10. g e

    Yeah but

    Where's the Automatically_Mark_as_spam_and_hide_everything_in_russian filter?

    Huh? HUH?

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