Tech News : New Feature To Declutter Your Gmail Inbox

31st January 2024

Included in a recent major update to Google’s Gmail on Android (for now), a new feature can help users to declutter and remove annoying spam from their inbox.

Select All Option

The new feature (currently being rolled out) enables users to use a “Select all” tick box that appears above (top left) in the inbox (on the Gmail for Android app) when the user long holds on an email. Selecting the tick box then means all 50 emails displayed on the page are be selected at once and then deleted with one tap or organised as required.

Easy Unsubscribe 

Also, Gmail for Android now includes a straightforward way to unsubscribe. Users can now click on an email from a company whose mailing list they have subscribed to and a clear ‘Unsubscribe’ link is now shown top right in the email, rather than having to scroll to the bottom. This could help speed up and simplify the process of decluttering the Gmail inbox.

It should be noted, however, that on trying this out on an (Android) Gmail inbox, it didn’t appear to display the unsubscribe link at the top of certain emails. Google has said that Google Pixel phones are first in line for the changes, and more Android devices will follow.

For those users who don’t see the unsubscribe link at the top of emails, it may also be the case that they don’t have the latest version of the Gmail app.

What’s So Bad About Email Inbox Clutter? 

As highlighted by a Zipwhip study (2020), email box clutter is common with 39 per cent of individuals having over 100 unread emails, and 20 per cent having over 1,000 unread emails. Mailbird’s Email Overload Survey, helps explain how the problem can build up, with the majority of workers receiving between 61 to 100 emails daily, but with only a minor fraction of these relevant to their actual work.

This is an important subject, particularly for businesses, because some of main problems and issues that email inbox clutter can cause include:

– Feeling overwhelmed by too many unread emails has been shown to reduce enthusiasm and create a sense of frustration.

– A loss of productivity and wasted time (and money) can result from having to sift through irrelevant emails, distracting from meaningful and value-adding work.

– The increased stress that can result from a relentless flow of emails and the effort to manage them can heighten anxiety.

– Disrupted focus from constant email notifications can lead to frequent context switching and hinder job efficiency.

– The potential to miss crucial messages that can get lost in the clutter.

New Spam-Reducing Guidelines From February

One way that spam and email box clutter is to be tackled from the other direction is through newly expanded Google and Yahoo guidelines for high-volume emailers, which come into force from 1 February. The Guidelines will essentially force all bulk emailers (5,000 or more email a-day senders) using Yahoo and Google to adhere to strict new rules. The hope is that this could hit some spammers hard, perhaps reducing the amount of spam in our inboxes.

What Else Can Be Done? 

In addition to the decluttering features introduced by email providers such as Google or Microsoft, general good practice that can minimise email inbox clutter includes:

– Getting into the habit of regularly cleaning out old or irrelevant emails (and unsubscribing) and checking emails at designated times to avoid constant interruptions.

– Using folders or labels to categorise emails and prioritise important ones.

– Keeping work and personal emails in separate accounts to manage them more effectively.

– Adjusting email notification settings to reduce distractions and maintain focus on current tasks.

What Does This Mean For Your Business? 

With email still being a critical communications centre for businesses, finding effective, fast, free / low-cost ways to declutter and escape from spam can bring many benefits (as outlined above). In the case of Gmail, users have long wanted better decluttering tools, so these new features are likely to be welcomed and used.

As expected (being Google), it is Android Gmail app users who benefit first and the hope is that the features are extended to Apple’s iOS soon. It’s likely to be the case that for most users, Gmail is not their main business email, and this is likely to be a contributor to the build-up of clutter. That said, various Gmail accounts may be used by many SMEs at various points in their value chains so anything that helps save time, enable them to cut through clutter, and quickly spot the most valuable communications and opportunities is likely to be welcome. Microsoft, for example, introduced several business-focused features in an update in November such as advanced email handling rules, which included multi-layered rules for filtering and managing emails. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Google is now upping its (email) game and is likely to continue doing so, hopefully making our lives easier in the process.