Gmail has taken a new step forward with the new Priority Inbox in helping to automatically
prioritize your inbox and daily routine. This is something sorely needed for the bulging inbox. How it works is the key thing to know.
Priority Inbox sits below compose but above your regular Inbox you are used to now in Gmail. Mashable explains the sorting it takes on:
At its core, it’s an algorithm; Priority Inbox uses information such as keywords, the people you e-mail the most and your e-mail habits to select the most pressing e-mails in your inbox. Those e-mails are brought to the top of your Gmail and marked as important so that you deal with them first.
Note the fact that Google is taking into account the way you currently work with Gmail for Priority Inbox to function to your advantage. If you use it as a simple inbound silo, it will look at what you read most and from whom to begin the process. If you hardly send email from the mailbox, then the ability to return prioritized content based on names is lost.
One way around this is to mark items (star or use Google Labs) to specify important emails to teach Google. I imagine they are already scoring your content as it stands now, but you can assist and speed up the process. I am not sure how many people use filters in Gmail, but it can assist in Priority Inbox in showing the system how you work with certain content.
The flip side begs the question, if I no longer pay attention to the rest of my email flow, will I ignore you? If I never flagged your content or you choose the wrong keywords, will I miss your email? If you send from a new address will I not see it? How come I am getting some much junk already? Have I oversubscribed and now need Google to straighten my mess out?
Interestingly, some of the major enterprise email systems work email the same way with filters, flags and automatic folders. Gmail was sorely missing this capability for the power users and it is a welcome addition.
You should see Priority Inbox in all your Google mailboxes as an option later this week and even in Google Apps if your administrator enables new features.