Gmail’s New Inbox

How do you like the new Gmail inboxes, then?

Google have been rolling out the new Gmail inboxes, whereby your incoming email is pre-sorted into one of five tabs. These tabs, together with Gmail’s definitions of what goes into them by default are:

  • Primary – “person-to-person conversations and messages that don’t appear in other tabs”
  • Social – “messages from social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services and other social websites”
  • Promotions – “deals, offers, and other marketing emails”
  • Updates – “personal, auto-generated updates including confirmations, receipts, bills and statements”
  • Forums – “messages from online groups, discussion boards and mailing lists”

I must admit that the knee-jerk reaction of this grumpy old man was to start chuntering at my screen “… and who do you think you are, intercepting my email and sorting it onto piles. I never asked you to do this“. But I’m starting to get tired of this reaction. Maybe they’re wearing me down (see also this blog a couple of weeks ago). And, anyway, they already “read” my email in order to try and match advertising with what they think interests me.

Having said that, I can easily imagine quite a handful or so of my IT support clients not being happy with this change, so let’s look at how you can over-ride it to go back to the single inbox.

Gmail Inbox Tab Selection
Figure 1 – Selection of Inbox Tabs
If you look at the right-hand side of the list of inbox tabs there is a plus sign. If you click on this a window will pop up as in Figure 1. The way to return to a single, undifferentiated, inbox is to click on the ticks against the four “subsidiary” inbox tabs so that they all become “unticked” (you can’t untick the “primary” tab) and then click on the “save” button. After a few seconds the inbox will return to the old style.

The way to turn the new inbox tabs back on is to click on the “Settings” gearwheel at the top right and then click on the “Configure Inbox” option. This will then re-present the screen that allows you to select which inbox tabs to show.

Gmail Inbox Tabs - moving messages
Figure 2 – Gmail Inbox Tabs – moving messages
You can move a message to a different tab and then instruct Gmail to put future messages from that sender into the same inbox tab (see Figure 2). I’ve noticed, though, that it doesn’t move other previous messages from that sender to the newly-chosen tab.

This blog was written with Gmail’s normal webmail interface in mind. The new inbox tabs are also being rolled out for Gmail apps in Android and iPhone. You won’t see them, however, if you have configured an email client (such as Windows Live Mail or Outlook) to deal with your Gmail.

Google Search is now secure

Google's Secure Search
Figure 3 – Google’s Secure Search
A few times in the last week or two I have noticed browsers not correctly showing Google Search when that is the defined “Home” page and the “Home” button is clicked. Instead, an error of the type “document not found” is encountered. I think the reason is that Google have changed their “Search” to a secure connection so that data between the browser and Google is now encrypted. This means that the web page has changed from to (ie the “http” part has changed to “https”). If you are encountering this problem, then just change your home page in your browser settings accordingly.

And I’d just like to take this opportunity to remind you that the “s” after “http” should ALWAYS be present on any web page in which you are exchanging confidential information – especially financial information.