So it turns out Google’s not just reading your gmails, it’s sorting them too.

Here’s the message Google has sent to all its Gmailers:



Of course, lots of people are Gpissed about it, as Winston Ross’s piece in the Daily Beast noted:


While far too many of you spent Tuesday laying odds on the name, gender, and birth weight of a tot you’ll never meet and who could turn out to be a royal pain in the arse, some of us had work to do. So the phased-in arrival of Gmail’s new “Priority Inbox” flew in like the stork, delivering a gurgling little bundle of cuteness and joy.

Or unabated wailing.

That’s the thing about these rollouts of massive changes to the way we buy Groupons and unleash ill-conceived emotional torrents and plan happy hours. They drop like earthquakes, shaking up our e-lives like e-snow globes and then leaving bewildered masses across the Internet to reassemble the shattered remnants.


Or something like that. Anyway, Ross eventually tells you how to reverse the new features and get your old Inbox back. But odds are not all that many people will, which is what Google and its ilk (we’re talking about you, Facebook) count on.

So they can do things like this (via Matt Buchanan in The New Yorker):


Google describes the new format as something that “puts you back in control.” But it has actually taken something away: the absolute sanctity of the inbox. Traditionally, Gmail has displayed ads around the edges of users’ messages. Though Google picked which ads to show based on the content of the e-mails—fodder for Microsoft attacks—the ads were never integrated into the space, seemingly untouchable, in which the mail appeared. The new Gmail, however, reverses course, and puts ads directly into the inbox.


The – what? – Gmads (we guess) “appear under the Promotions tab, and closely resemble actual e-mails; faint text in the subject line that says “Ad” is the only indication of what they are.”

So far, the hardtracking staff has received precisely zero Gmads. But we’ll keep you posted.


John R. Carroll is media analyst for NPR's Here & Now and senior news analyst for WBUR in Boston. He also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town.
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