A GMail option I’d like to see: “Delayed Skip Inbox”

I use GMail extensively. In my main gmail account, I can send mail using a variety of accounts that I’ve authenticated to allow sending from. So, for example, mail from jonesy at pythonmagazine dot com is actually sent from a gmail interface, even though PyMag doesn’t officially use Google Mail for their domain (not that this would be a bad idea. Hrrmmmm…). I also administer a domain using Google Apps for you domain (well, two, but only one is what you’d call “production”). GMail has become a big part of my life in recent years.

This is not to say that it’s perfect by any stretch. In using it over the past few years (or however long it’s been around – I’ve been using it pretty much since it existed), I’ve come up with lots of ideas that would make it better, but I haven’t written many of them down, so I figured I would start doing that, starting now 🙂

Here’s today’s “I wish gmail did…” entry:

Time-based filter application!

Oh yeah. Some of you know what I’m talking about already I’m sure. From the user-interface perspective, the change is dead simple. On the screen where you define what to do with messages that match a filter you’ve created, just add an option next to “Skip the Inbox” that says something like “Remove from Inbox after…” and then provide a way for the user to define some time period like “1 day” or “1 week”.

The effect should be that incoming messages that match the filter are placed in the inbox, and are then removed from the inbox after the user-specified time period. The user can still see the message after this time period by clicking on the label, just like you do to view messages that have skipped the inbox. It’s a “delayed skip the inbox”.

The idea here is that labels aren’t perfect, and neither are people. Labels aren’t perfect because labeling alone isn’t really enough to declutter your inbox unless you skip the inbox. That causes problems due to peoples’ imperfections: they don’t click on all of those filter labels every day, and messages fall through the cracks. There are still some filters that would be good to just have skip the inbox altogether, but for all the clubs and organizations I belong to, having even a 2- or 3-day delay would be great.

  • http://www.pirnat.com/ Mike Pirnat

    I’ve been craving something like that for ages. Is there *any* mail client that does it?

    Here’s hoping that the “Big G” picks this idea up and runs with it.

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