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).
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:
THE OLD WAY:
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.
5) MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP, PLEEEEEASE!
THE NEW WAY:
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!”
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.