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Google revises Gmail inbox

Having trouble sorting your Gmail e-mail? Google is introducing a new, automatic way of organizing your mail.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Google announced on May 29th that "Gmail is getting a brand new inbox on desktop and mobile that puts you back in control using simple, easy organization." That's a bit of an overstatement, but Gmail's new cateogories will make it easier for some users to organize their mail.

Google is introducing a new way of automatically sorting your Gmail messages.

Gmail has long enabled users to organize their mail by using labels. With labels you can organize your messages into categories--work, family, to do, read later, jokes, whatever. Google claims that is better than the very similar idea of folders because you can assign multiple labels to a message.

While not getting rid of labels, starting today, Google is enrolling users into an automatic system that places your mail into categories. These categories will appear as tabs on your main Gmail display. The new categories are: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. You cannot add new categories to these default ones at this time.

The Primary category consists of messages from friends, co-workers, family, and anyone else you connect with on a regular basis. As you'd expect from Social's name, all your social network messages -- Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc. -- go into it. Messages from companies you buy from, such as Amazon deals and the like, go into Promotions. In the Updates category you should find online statements, and bills. Finally, your mailing list messages will go into Forums.

Don't like the category Gmail picks for a particular correspondent? By moving your messages to the "right" category, Gmail will learn where you want your messages to go.

If you don't care for any if it, Google will let you switch back to your classic Gmail inbox..

This service is being rolled out slowly and it may not be available for you at this time. To see if you can try it out, go to Gmail and open the gear menu, move to the Settings options and select Configure inbox.

The new look Gmail will be available to all desktop, Android and iOS users in the next few weeks.

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