Posted May 21, 2009 4:34 pm by with 5 comments

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gmail-logoI know it sounds like a feature that designed to predict whether your friends will email (“Reply hazy try again”), or possibly to tell you to switch email clients (“Outlook not so good”—an actual Magic 8-Ball response. Man, I’m hilarious). However, Gmail’s pending project, nicknamed the Magic Inbox, is designed to prioritize your mail by sender—with your best friends’ missives listed first.

Hey, that’s kinda neat, isn’t it? Yeah, it is—until we remember Google’s penchant for declaring anyone you’ve ever emailed a “friend.” However, this might change. Google Operating System highlights the two-year-old technology that might help Google identify your real friends (now there’s a useful app!) from a RarePlay post:

“An interesting experiment Yahoo (and similarly Google) is undertaking internally is called ‘Friend Finder’. Friend Finder analyzes a user’s email traffic and indicates the friends with whom a user has strong email connections based on incoming/outgoing traffic and the frequency and speed in which two parties respond to each other.” While Yahoo has already released an early version of the social application, Google has yet to make an announcement.

GOS identified the Magic Inbox (also known as the “icebox inbox”) by looking into Gmail’s code, which also suggested “we’ll be able to sort messages by priority and save messages in an outbox to be sent at a later time.”

Cool little features like this usually enter Gmail through Labs, but sometimes they roll out features directly into Gmail. Of course, with that “Beta” label on there, they can do that.

What do you think? Is a communications-based algorithm a good way to assess human relationships? Will this be a feature you want to see?

  • I might try the feature to see how it works, but so far it hasn't really piqued my interest due to it not really improving the way I'm sending/receiving emails.

  • I think we all need a little magic in our life. I guess it will be helpful to see those I email frequently on top in my inbox instead of weeding through my incoming to see if there is something I actually want to look at. I like the icebox inbox, I have a lot of mail that could be stored there.

  • Bill

    Next we can tie it together with google maps and all the other “predictive” google technologies, and come up with a 1984 big brother is watching me conspiracy. BTW loved, Outlook not so good…

    Bill R
    Ice Cream Maker Basics

  • well, there are pros and cons. Pros: Presumably it'll reduce spam.
    Cons: I don't want a computer telling me who my friends are!

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