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May 21, 2009

Gmail Magic Inbox

Gmail's code reveals an upcoming feature called "magic inbox" or "icebox inbox", which is likely to prioritize the messages sent by your friends and other contacts you email frequently.


In 2007, RarePlay reported about the social features that would be included in email services. "E-mail providers like Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and others are now incorporating social networking functionality in their email offerings in mapping out the relationships between people and how are they related (social graph). An interesting experiment Yahoo (and similarly Google) is undertaking internally is called "Friend Finder". Friend Finder analyzes a user’s email traffic and indicates the friends with whom a user has strong email connections based on incoming/outgoing traffic and the frequency and speed in which two parties respond to each other." While Yahoo has already released an early version of the social application, Google has yet to make an announcement.

Some other messages from Gmail's code suggest that we'll be able to sort messages by priority and save messages in an outbox to be sent at a later time.


Gmail still have important features to be released before removing the "beta" tag:

22 comments:

  1. They should first fix the way contacts are being managed :| (and this could provide a fields stating relation... but hay, google is google - if it's not auto-magicly-matic it doesn't count :/

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  2. Most of my mail is from Spammers or E-Lists. Will they now be marked (and prioritised) as my friends??

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  3. I don't agree much on leaving "beta", if they want to make a final product before removing beta then it will stay there forever, why not remove beta now and in a year or 2 release Gmail v2.0 or v3.0 !!!

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  4. I think this would work totally the wrong way. the people who email me the most have the least priority. my best friend for example never emails me, because we always talk on im, or sms, or the phone, or irl. the one time she emails me would likely be very important, so I would want it to be prioritized. and there's no algorithm that can know what I do outside of my email. (and no, I don't use google talk)

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  5. I'd love to see this done using attention bond mechanisms. But the trick is to do this in a way that plays well with the infrastructure and is usable. Still, I think it's the most promising way both to fight spam and to prioritize non-spam.

    http://www.itu.int/osg/spu/spam/contributions/Spam%20economics-faq.pdf

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  6. Disclosure - I'm VP of Product for Boxbe

    Boxbe has already implemented a system like this on top of Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and AOL Mail. Our product prioritizes email from contacts and people you send email to. All the rest gets moved from your Inbox to a folder (tag) called your Waiting List for you to peruse whenever you like.

    You can find us at http://www.boxbe.com

    @Daniel Tunkelang - our CEO, Thede Loder wrote the ABM paper you cited above. Thanks for the shout out.

    Cheers,
    Randy Stewart

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  7. I'm waiting for Gmail to add a system for managing Bacn. That would be amazing.

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  8. I'd have to agree with earlier comments with regards to amount of email and importance. My friends and family with the exception of my mom's email which goes directly to spam (sorry mom)...never email me as much but are more important when I get them. For Google to sort this for me would mean boob cream and Viagra emails will be at the top of the list.

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  9. Why would spam be ranked at the top suddenly? Gmail has always been good at filter out spam and this magic inbox feature is looking at how you INTERACT with your email contacts. I don't reply to my emails spammers...do you?

    /Mikael

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  10. this would make the gentoo mailing list my best friend.

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  11. Feature has launched... it actually previews your email page for you, so if you have a slow internet connection then you don't have to wait - and be disappointed to find that you really have no friends.

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  12. The link to Yahoo social features stuff is broken.

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  13. SenderOK is a plugin that already sorts email according to factors described while using a smart algorithm that includes a lot of other factors. The plugin also puts photo business cards inside the email. It works fine with GMail + Hotmail, Yahoo!Mail and Outlook.

    Bloggers should compare what Google has with http://www.senderok.com

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  14. Duh! what's so magic about sorting emails by frequent contacts or friend list?!

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  15. @Uncopyrighted:
    That lab feature is unrelated.

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  16. Most of my mail is from Spammers or E-Lists. Will they now be marked (and prioritised) as my friends??

    The answer is no, thoes email will go the spam folder first.
    This is only for email that passed the spam folder to inbox

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  17. If Gmail is following after SenderOK's email plugin (www.senderok.com), your prioritized email would include that which you quickly answered before as opposed to read but not responded or deleted without reading. If your long lost friend is in your address book, their email would also be prioritized. Very little can be done about prioritizing a long lost friend whose email address you don't yet know...except that SenderOK will notice if you visited your friend's website recently and their email address is from that domain.

    However, if your friend makes it to the inbox, he or she will be above all the email, like Twitter notifications, that you may have specified as No Priority (in SenderOK's plugin for Google at least - we still don't know what Google will announce itself).

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  18. No software is ever bug free, and most software goes through a versioning process where sufficient tests indicate that it is of usable quality that will not result in severe data loss. Then the version is incremented and a new beta period begins. Why can't Google just adopt this methodology with Gmail. We know Gmail will get more features--that doesn't mean it can't go out of beta and add more features later in an incremented version. Unless if no one's spent the time to do sufficient quality tests on Google before new features have been weaved in--but I highly doubt Google does that with Gmail. So just take the Beta cap off for a while.

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  19. shes smokin hot- id like to tap that thing and discuss Beta at more length

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  20. Several people mentioned that this feature wouldn't prioritize that once-every-two-month email from your friend that you normally IM with. If/when Google implements this feature, it should obviously be adjustable so that you can add those occasional-yet-important emailers to your priority list.

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  21. Many applications are having this feature now.... boxbe.com I saw just few days back.

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