Our Yesware Gmail account had the new “Priority” features added to it today, so I had the chance to take them for a spin. First impression: Moves my feeling of Gmail from “necessary like a trip to the dentist” to “hmm, this actually could work”. Details below. You all know that Gmail is free, fast and available across platforms. It’s by far the best web based email currently on the market, and the obvious choice for us to use when starting up Yesware. But it’s a long way from a great service. One massive Inbox makes Getting Things Done impossible in Gmail. Requiring Search instead of showing folders as the default navigation is clumsy. And filters are not a good mechanism for organizing the most important communications in your life. By adding Priorities, however, the Gmail team is making a very interesting and helpful move towards improving the Gmail experience. If you turn Priorities on, here’s how your new Gmail box will look:

Gmail with Priorities

The first thing you’ll notice: the formally monolithic Inbox has been divided up into three sections: “Important” “Starred” and “Everything Else”. The contents of the  “Important” category is determined automatically by Google based on keywords, favorite contacts, and other factors which they outline in their blog post.

Training Gmail's Priorities

You train GMail’s importance feature via the initial popup screen,  from within the general GMail interface by using the new “+” and “-” buttons at the top of the main screen,

UI buttons for Gmail Priorities

and  from within an individual email:

Gmail Priorities Close-up


The end result is a new layer of intelligence around the masses of email that we all receive. In addition to the “Star” designation, which you specify after reading the email, Google will add a “Priority” designation automatically. As Google’s algorithms improve, you’ll see the usability of Gmail increase significantly. When Priorities is made available to you, I highly recommend you give it a try. At Yesware, we’re working on ways to make email work better, so we’re excited to see Google’s effort to add some automation to sorting email. Priorities is a great first step to make Gmail more widely usable for the business environment. There are dozens of other ways to improve the most-used business application in the world, and we’ll be letting you know more details soon. Please subscribe to this blog, and sign up for our email at www.yesware.com.

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