Gmail Tabs make Email Enjoyable Again

Gmail, the most widely used email service in the world, has just added a great new email tabs feature.  Since the new Gmail tabs are going to be affecting a lot of people it is something I thought we could be exploring together.

To get a better idea, without me explaining, here is a video Google released on May 29th showcasing Gmail's updated tabs.  The title of the video is “Meet Gmail's New Inbox.”  Google of course uses a great Motown song “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelletes as the soundtrack.

New customizable tabs put you back in control so that you can see what's new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read and when.

I like how in the beginning the video it reads, “Inboxes can be overwhelming” which is sooo true.  However as the video points out “Unless you have the new Gmail inbox.”

gmail tabs

Basically what this means is Google has several tabs for your inbox now and it automatically sorts incoming email into those different tab categories.  What are the different Gmail tabs?

  • Primary – This is for all your important emails from say friends, family, etc.  As Google describes it in the video “One tab for email you really, really want to see.”
  • Social – Essentially any emails or updates from Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  What is surprising to me is that the
  • Promotions – This tab is for any promotions or special offer emails.  So you love Groupon or getting special Amazon deals this is where all those emails would go.
  • Updates – This is where you put any orders you have made from online retailers or shipping information or order status updates you might receive from them.
  • Forums – If you take part in any discussion forums this will sort your emails from them into this tab.  Reply to topic emails will go in here too.

Gmail defaults to using Primary, Social, and the Promotions tabs.  You can add the Updates and Forums tabs if you want or feel the need.  Since Gmail  sorts the emails automatically it may not put the right email in the right Gmail tab category.  If you don't feel like Gmail sorted an email correctly you can Drag and Drop an email into the tab you want.  Any future email from that sender will go into that specified Gmail tab.  So if an email that should go in the Promotions tab goes into Primary, and you drop into Promotions, all future emails go into the Promotions tab.

Personally I have found the new Gmail tabs extremely useful and a huge time saver.  For the most part Gmail is very accurate in sorting emails but once in awhile it will get it wrong.  Hey, it is is a computer doing the sorting and not you.  Still, this makes me love Gmail and all it's other great features even more. Kudos to Google and the Gmail team that came up with the Gmail tabs idea.  As it said at the end of the video, “The inbox has gone Google.”

What is interesting to note is that the pre-filtered “Promotion” tab has caused a lot of internet marketers and those that have email lists to become quite concerned.  Since Gmail rolled out the tab features about 2 weeks ago all of the those emails go into Promotions mostly.  If an email slips by and goes into Primary I usually immediately drop into the Promotions tab.  I don't open these emails nearly as much anymore.  A lot of emails from these people are titled “Urgent”, “Don't leave in Promotions”, “Open if you use Gmail” and more things like that.  It is clear email open rates have gone waaay done Gmail tabs rolled out.  Sorry, but you guys are staying in Promotions since it is making my life a lot easier! 🙂

The only complaint I have is it would be nice if you could customize the tab lables.  A Primary tab isn't a problem but I might want to relabel the other tabs to fit my personal email needs.  Other than I think is is a great Gmail update.

While the Gmail tabs change is not good for companies or marketers, it certainly is for Gmail's 1 billion+ users.  Since Google is always says they are focused on the user experience it is great they back it up with great changes to products.  I totally love the new and updated Gmail tabs and look forward to Google's continued improvements to Gmail in the future.

What are your thoughts about Gmail's new tabs?  Do you love it as much as I do?  Is it saving you time?  If you run an email list have you seen a drop in open rates?  What do you think Google could have done better with Gmail tabs?