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New Gmail to Feature Categories for Social, Promotions, and Updates?


Along with a redesigned app for Android, is Google planning to introduce a new type of organization for Gmail across all platforms? In a series of leaked screenshots sent to TheNextWeb, we may see a set of five category types embedded within our inboxes to help keep things organized. 

The categories are listed as Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums (pictured below). Primary would would be the category for important emails from friends, family members or any other major communication that also may not fit into the other categories. In Social, you’ll find emails related to social networks like Twitter, Facebook or Google+. In Promotions, emails from coupon sites or retailers will be grouped, while the Notifications tab will let you know about bills that need to be paid, flight status updates, or other reservation types that are upcoming. Last, the Forums section could be emails from messageboards or forums.

As you’ll see in the screenshots below, these changes could rollout to updates for the web, Android, and iOS. TheNextWeb suggests we could see these all over the next couple of weeks, but at this point, it seems like anyone’s guess. Haven’t we been expecting a revamped Android Gmail app for months now?

I’m not exactly sure what I think of these new categories. On one hand, I wouldn’t mind if Google took all of the garbage emails I receive and tossed them into a separate category, but you can do this already with a filter or two. I guess the automation here is the point, especially for those who don’t even know what a Gmail filter is.

Of course, there will likely be a way to opt-out of this new feature should you prefer the current Gmail.

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Thoughts on this new way of organizing your inbox?

Via:  TheNextWeb

  • Tom

    Is there any way to turn off these categories permanently? On both my Android phone and my Nexus tablet, “Social” and “Promotions” are always checked. If I uncheck them, as soon as I exit “settings” they become checked again! How do I shut this lunacy off and go back to a plain and simple In box?

    • nunavutlight

      Thanks for asking this! It makes you “think” you can suppress them but they just keep popping right back up. Grrrrrr. I use gmail for home and work. My work stuff had no rubbish like social, promotions, forums etc.!

      • Tom

        In my case I am on the job market with e-mail alerts coming from multiple job boards. This incredibly stupid Gmail “enhancement” now separates the job board e-mails and places some in the In box, some in social, and some in promotions. Now I have to look in three places for my job email instead of one. The Google guy who developed and approved this garbage needs to hung up by his genitals while being lectured on real world usability testing before release.

        • Tom the Iconoclast

          A gentleman on another forum found the answer. This comes from Google Product Forums> Gmail. Credit to Mr. Dalen Talas for figuring this out:

          Go into your web-based Gmail and make sure you have turned off the categories. You go into the Settings menu (the gear), select “Settings” and go to the “Labels” tab.

          Under “Categories” click “Hide” for all of the Categories that you do not want to see. (I hid them all to completely get rid of Categories.)

          Exit your web-based Gmail.

          Now we are going to work on your Android device. In general, what you will be doing is completely clearing out your phone or tablet of everything that is in Gmail. THIS WILL NOT AFFECT YOUR GMAIL ACCOUNT, IT ONLY CLEARS OUT THE PHONE OR TABLET SO YOU CAN START OVER. I was worried at first that I would lose all of my Gmail stuff, but that is not the case. I was led through the procedure by someone else who has done this, and this works beautifully. You will not lose anything.

          On your Android device (phone, tablet, whatever) go to Settings> Apps > Gmail

          Click “Clear cache”

          Click “Clear data”

          NOTE: You will now see a dialog box that says, “All this app’s data will be deleted permanently. This includes all files, settings, accounts, databases, etc.”

          This will only delete what is on your phone or tablet. It WILL NOT delete your Gmail account.

          Click OK

          Now exit Settings and go into your Gmail app. You may have to synchronize if it has not already done so. You will also have to go into the settings for each of your Gmail accounts to reset any special settings you had, such as which ringtone to use for notification, whether or not it vibrates, how many days of mail to download to your phone, etc. Basically it is like setting up a brand new account.

          OH! By the way! Look! NO CATEGORIES!!!!

    • Derek

      I have the same issue. It lets me deselect them, but once I leave the menu, they are automatically reselected. No way to unselect them it seems.

    • Derek

      Tom, I just uninstalled the gmail app from my phone, reinstalled it from the Play store, and when I went to the settings for categories, they were already unchecked. Before doing this, I went to the desktop version of android on my computer and unchecked them as well. I think the settings get pushed out to your other apps, but not sure why it was broken like this. Hope this helps.

  • Updates

  • Nooo

    I have my large list of labels and these additional “categories” just mashed into my list. Those functions to hide these new labels are not working. I don’t need them but they are still in my list of labeling emails. I rate it F or 3 out of ten 10.

  • Steve Kieffer

    Why the hell cant Google leave well enough alone!!??

  • SewWhat

    IMO…Rather than a pretty new rewrite…. Google just needs to incorporate the ability to create NEW labels within the mobile app itself rather than having to go online to make one so as to be able to sort mail on mobile. If they made it easier then more people would utilize labels. I use them for everything but it’s a real pain when I want to start a new label. I have to go on my pc or navigate to the full Google site on my phone JUST to make a new label.

  • Derek Jones

    Maybe I’m missing it and need someone to point it out, but it would be nice to mult-delete on the GMail App.

  • hoochiecoochie

    What is the wallpaper ?

  • DoucheBag

    Where’s my BITCH AT?

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  • Y8

    may be the new version of Android in Gmail help the customer check mail in good condition because they can connect to other website they want and share information

  • many things in the lab die out. But this one i believe would come out of labs

  • artsr2002

    One thing I wish they would add would be a way to select several emails say from a specific date down that I can either mark read or archive all at once. I had a BlackBerry where I could highlight an email with the trackball, click the trackball and the option “Mark Previous as Read was available. This marked all emails read without having to click-to-highlight each entry AND THEN mark them as read. I liked that feature.

    Perhaps, they could make it where you press/hold on an entry, then without lifting your finger you just slide your finger down and it highlights those emails instead of clicking each one. That would be good too.

    • Derek Jones

      I’m glad someone else is asking about this feature. I thought I had some how missed or didn’t know how to do something as heavily used and normal as mult-select. I don’t get how Google neglected to include this simple action in the existing Gmail app.

  • Chris

    Looks like we will get a taste of the iOS app on android. Thats good. I always prefer the iOS look to the android look. Google apps on my iPad really stand out.

    Not sure about the whole social stuff. I dont use google plus, but if it includes e-mails from other networks that might be good.

  • A dedicated group just for forums! Ha! I highly doubt the general populace gets enough emails/updates from forums to need a special top level section just for emails from such sites. This is built by engineers though, who, like most of us, think everyone spends half their day in forums 🙂

    • Chris

      and they wonder why they are still single

  • feztheforeigner

    I would prefer a regular inbox, I’m not really into all this atomization…

  • EdubE24

    I’ve been using Mailbox on IOS and it is amazing. Needs to come to android soon!!

  • Off topic:
    Anyone know of a playstore/apk download for that analog clock widget? My sony flavor of android doesnt have it Thanks :3

    • Hoffman

      Try Clock JB+ in Play store.

  • Maff

    This is a Gmail Labs feature that has been available for months.

  • This is in the lab settings already if you want them under smart labels I think. The categories are social, notifications, and promotions. I guess google just updated notifications to updates.

  • Angela Marden
  • That sounds pretty awesome. Then I don’t have to have custom labels for all that crap and knowing google, it should work pretty damn good.

    • Jarom Bradshaw

      Yeah, I stopped using labels because I was tired of labeling read emails but this does it itself. Looks good, can’t wait!

      • Christopher Bement

        Labels have worked that way for a long time, you have to check the box upon label creation…

        • You people are crazy… All put downs aside though, Labels when used with filters and color coding are awesome. Many businesses’ reason for moving to Google Apps over Exchange is the powerful Labeling in Gmail

          • Chris

            some people are just too damn lazy

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