Google tool tries to cut through eMail clutter

Google Inc. can sift through more than a trillion web links in a matter of seconds, but can the internet search leader help people wade through their overflowing eMail inboxes? That’s the challenge Google will try to tackle Aug. 31 with the introduction of a tool called “Priority Inbox” in its Gmail service, reports the Associated Press. The feature relies on formulas devised by Google engineers to automatically figure out and highlight which incoming messages are likely to be the most important to each Gmail user. Users who opt to turn on the Priority Inbox will see their messages separated into three categories. “Important and unread” eMail messages will be at the top, followed by messages that have been previously stamped with a star by an account holder. Everything else appears at the bottom. Switching back to the standard view of the inbox can be done with a click on a link along the left side of the web page. Google’s eMail analysis is based on a variety of factors, including a person’s most frequent contacts and how many other people are getting the same message. The content of the message also is factored into the equation. Although it might unnerve some people, the notion of Google’s computers scanning through the content of eMail isn’t new; Google has been doing it for years to determine what kinds of ads to show to the right of eMail messages and to block junk eMail, commonly known as “spam.” With more than 100 daily messages pouring into some inboxes now, people now need help to identify “the bacon and baloney” along with the spam, said Keith Coleman, Gmail’s product director…

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