Google has today rolled out the newest update to the Android Gmail client and it's a big one for fans of the Priority Inbox feature on the desktop. Now when viewing the inbox, users will see the familiar yellow arrows to let them know which messages are important according to Gmail. Users can also view just Priority Inbox items by tapping the label link, then choosing Priority Inbox.
Google has added the ability to control what mail is, and is not, marked Important on the phone. You used to need to use the web interface to do this. Now simply tap the checkbox for a message, then use the menu option to toggle its "importance" status. In the settings, the app can be set to notify via sound or vibrate only on new important messages. This could be great for those that get a lot of mail.
Google also added some more options to the composing process. You can switch between reply, reply all, and forward while composing. There is also a new option to configure the from address in replies if the mail was forwarded from another address. This updated app is available in the Android Market, but only for users of Android 2.2 Froyo and higher. If you have a compatible phone, let us know how you like it.
It's the vicious cycle of modern life. The more important and established you become, the more email clogs your inbox. Google is out to help with a new Gmail feature called Priority Inbox. This new interface, which will be rolling out to users in waves over the coming days, will present messages more likely to be important in a separate area at the top of the inbox.
Gmail decides what is important with a good old fashioned Google algorithm. Mail similar to that which you frequently read or respond to will be marked as important an promoted to the priority area. Users can alter this sorting process, and teach the Priority Inbox what's actually important by flagging mis-categorized items. This new inbox view also makes better use of the starred mail label by creating a starred mail area right below the Priority box.
The jury is still out on how effective and useful the new system is. We just got access to it ourselves, so it's hard to say how it will work out. As usual, Google has a cute animation explaining the feature, which you can catch at the source link. Have you had a chance to use Priority Inbox? How well is it working for you?