Gmail user? The new "murder," er, "mute" function will have you crying tears of joy

Lots of folks have noticed that five very cool new features debuted today in Gmail:
1) Enhanced UI, with Reply and other handy features placed at the top of conversations.
2) Notification when new messages have been made in the conversation since you started drafting your reply.
3) Forward an entire conversation (all messages).
4) Send chat messages to your friends using Gmail chat or GTalk even when they’re offline (the messages’ll be held for them).
5) Get Gmail on your mobile phone with a rich app (not just slow Web pages).

[Read more about these new gmail features]

But what I have to share with you is even more deliciously glorious… especially for those of you who are on lots of mailing lists or who have boring (albeit perhaps well-meaning) friends who just won’t shut up.

Friends, Romans, fellow GMail users… I introduce to you…


Oh wait, that’s not exactly right.  Officially, the new feature is called Mute Thread, or “Mute” for short.  Here’s how it works:

1) You’re reading some posts about the elections.
2) You were once excited about reading this stuff.
3) But at least one conversation is now on its 471th message.  You keep hitting Archive but the damn conversation keeps popping up every time someone makes a new post!
4) You’re ready to tear out your hair.  The posters’ hair.  Your keyboard’s hair.  Er, keys.

1) You get yet another annoying message in the same damn conversation that’s already been conversed to death.
2) You press the ‘m’ key.  Unless a message is written *directly* to you (e.g., your name is in the TO spot), you’ll never see that message in your inbox again!

In short, the Mute feature enables you to tell Gmail: “Archive this conversation AND all future posts in it… just have ‘em skip the inbox!”

[See official Gmail info on Mute]

I can think of only one downside to this feature at the moment:
If you filter your discussion list mail into separate labels (say, “Prolific Politics List”) and already have those posts skip the inbox… then the M key will sadly have no effect.  It doesn’t remove labels, it just creates a “get out of inbox free”

But that aside, I think this is a super-awesome feature, and one that—to my knowledge—is unique amongst major Webmail providers.

So, go ahead, indulge in those high-traffic lists again.  And don’t hesitate to threaten any annoying poster, “Dude, if you write one more word about Rummie, you’re getting SO m’d!”

DISCLAIMERS:  I work for Google.  I am not on the Gmail team.




15 responses to “Gmail user? The new "murder," er, "mute" function will have you crying tears of joy”

  1. Hawaii SEO Avatar

    That’s great!

    I just wish they would make the word “To” an active link to your contacts where you could use check-boxes to send the email to 50 out of the 500 contacts you have.

    This disconnection from the contacts is especially frustrating when I want to froward something. 

    I can never remember email addresses and guessing just doesn’t work well for me.

    The only workaround so far is to open another browser, Open Gmail, open my contacts, and look to see what the options are. Then go back & forth between the two browsers until the job is done.

    The other feature on my wish list is to be able to organize my emails and contacts into folders.

    I can give contacts tags… but it doesn’t seem to be very useful.

  2. Sam Davyson Avatar

    The tagging (“labelling”) of contacts is useful. Say you have a gang of friends that you may standardly send forwards to. Say they are everyone to do with your work, or everyone in your family etc. Then you just get them in a group in the contacts area. Then you can just type in the group name in the “To:” field and bingo – all of their addresses appear in the box.

  3. ukio Avatar

    I’d rather like to have the option to activate/deactivate filters.
    I my case I am subscribed to multiple mailing lists too, and some of them are only of interest to me if I ask a question and wait for an answer.
    When I finally get the answer, I mmostly don’t want to receive further messages (sometimes I unsubscribe from the list, then), until I have another question to the list.
    IMHO it would be great to set up a filter that deletes/archives all messages sent to a mailing list. Thus, I subscribe once to the list. Then, if I want to receice messages I disable the archive/delete filter. Once I am satisfied I don’t subscribe from the list, but enable the delete/archive filter until I have another question…

  4. Tami Avatar

    Nice!  But I wish there was a way to make this a true “murder” key—send the messages to the trash, not the Archive.

    I know, I know, we have gargantuan amounts of storage space with Gmail, but I still don’t want dead horses littering my search results when I need to find something in the Archives.  There’s lots of stuff that come on these email lists that I know I’ll never want to see again.  Especially the umpteenth “Me too” post.  Those I truly want to murder.

  5. Romain Avatar

    It seems this pretty good feature is only available in english Gmail for now. Does it work if from my french interface, I tag the message with “mute” ?

  6. Deva Hazarika Avatar

    Just wanted to give a little credit to Omar Shahine for evangelizing this feature for Outlook users for quite some time; it has become an important feature in my company’s product as well: Gmail Mute for Outlook history

  7. Adam Avatar


    It’s possible we haven’t rolled this out yet to all areas.  As someone who lived in Europe (and indeed, loves France!), I do apologize that we don’t always get all features out to our users around the world at the same time.  Trust me, we’re working on closing the gap :-D.

    Thanks for your patience and for using Gmail.

  8. sanjay Avatar

    gmail,google talk for mac . Please !!!!!!

    I dont want anymore features

  9. kamaldeep Avatar


  10. Adam Avatar

    SSB, it’s similar to folders.

    For instance, you could attach a label “Taxes” to e-mail conversations you have with your accountant, so that you could easily find those mails later by just clicking on “Taxes.”

    Some people use labels for social groups (“Friends”), or for reminders (“To-dos”).

  11. Chris Avatar

    I am now saved from unimportant mailing list posts that go on incessantly!  Thank you!

    One would think a more generalizable solution would be the ability to apply a filter to a label, so that you could mimic this mute functionality with a ‘mute’ label and corresponding filter action on the label.  Oh well, this works just as well.

  12. James Avatar

    For mailing Gmail usage is too low, but Gmail generally now in used because of Bloggers and Google webmaster tools.
    Still i though yahoo is on the top of the market.

  13. SEO Florida Avatar

    G Mail currently widely used email system.
    And i don’t find any more problem to access it, it has faster email services. I love G Mail.

  14. Internet Filtering Guy Avatar

    I think the solution to these kinds of keyword searches is “whitelisting” and “blacklisting”  We are very familiar with this, since we incorporate this into our heuristics for our Internet Filtering product. 

    What this means is that if you whitelist a term, and there is crossover with the blacklisted term, the search engine should always err in favor of the whitelist.  That way you will only see what you want and you can make more aggressive blacklisting rules. Actually, most people should begin with a whitelist, blacklist everything else, and work backwards from there.

  15. WiktorKolo Avatar

    I think that Google put too much useless functions in Gmail which we cannot switch off. The mail should be simple and functional. If I want to talk with sb I can use IM. Google wants to make Gmail to look like a Facebook…

What do you think?