Today Google launched a new Gmail Labs feature called Smart Labels which automatically classifies and organizes your email by putting appropriate labels on your incoming messages. Once you turn it on from the Labs tab in Settings, Smart Labels automatically categorizes incoming bulk, newsletter and notification type emails into three categorizes – Bulk, Notification and Forums.
“Bulk” mail includes any kind of mass mailing such as newsletters and promotional email and gets filtered out of your inbox by default. “Notifications” are messages sent to you directly like account statements and receipts, and email from group mailing lists gets labeled as “Forums.”
I have found my Google Alerts and even my credit card statements relocated into the “Bulk” folder. Emails that get labeled as “Bulk” will not show in your inbox, and can be viewed only by clicking on the “Bulk” label. To avoid missing important notifications that Gmail incorrect labels as Bulk, click on this label and uncheck the box “Archive incoming Bulk (skip the Inbox)” in the top right corner of your inbox.
You can also edit the Smart Labels just like any other labels you have created. You can rename them, hide or altogether delete them.
Last year, Google introduced Priority Inbox – another automatic email categorizing feature – that does a decent job in prioritizing and categorizing my emails, although it tends to err sometimes.
If you notice a message that was automatically labeled incorrectly you can choose to help Google troubleshoot by reporting miscategorizations from the drop down menu on each message. Be aware, that in doing so, you’ll be forwarding the full message to Google engineers for them to read.