Google Gives Gmail Better Mark as Unread Capability
Article by George Norman
On 18 Mar 2009
Gmail, the Google developed email client that most of us use on a day to day basis for its functionality and looks, has recently been tweaked by the Mountain View search engine giant so that it can better address the needs of the user. We already know that attaching files to outgoing messages is more convenient than ever, but what about incoming emails that you want to keep unread? Google, with this recent tweak, has addressed this issue as well.

Software Engineer with Gmail, David de Kloet comments: “Gmail's threaded conversations are useful because they keep your messages in context -- you don't have to look for previous messages to see what people are talking about. But sometimes, when many people are replying to the same conversation, you open a conversation and quickly wish you hadn't because you don't have time to read all the new messages right then. You could mark the conversation as unread, but this makes all the messages in that conversation unread. And the next time you open the conversation you have to remember which messages you already read and which ones you didn't get to yet.”


Now the goal here is to make it easy for the user to access the information he needs, and to make the whole process enjoyable, not frustrating – you will agree that going through those messages and trying to locate the one you did not read is anything but enjoyable, especially if you sent and received quite a bit of emails in that conversation. The team behind the Gmail client decided they could fix this by simply letting you mark specific emails within a conversation as unread.

“Now if you're reading a conversation that had unread messages when you opened it and you mark it unread, Gmail will only mark those messages that were unread when you opened the conversation in the first place, says David de Kloet. “It's a small change, but it's the little things that can make a UI feel right or wrong, and we hope this makes Gmail a little bit more right.”

For the time being this upgrade is only available for people running Gmail on their desktop machines. The Gmail team is aware of the fact that mobile users would like to get it as well and will presumably make the feature available to them as well – sometime in the future.

Tags: Google, Gmail, Mark as Unread
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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