Monolith149 Daily

Another place to see what KG is doing...

Gmail Inbox Mistake

Well, that was a mistake. To a large degree I really like Gmail’s new Inbox IOS app, and the desktop version doesn’t look bad either. I’ve used it on a rarely-used account and recently added in anther, more-often-used account so I could try out more interaction. I heard someone on a podcast say, It doesn’t really affect your regular Gmail interface interactions so you can use both at the same time. That seemed to be the case to me, so I thought, okay, I’ll just fire it up on my main Gmail account.

That was a mistake.

So it does have an effect in a particular way. I should have seen it. The Gmail model is to treat messages like to do items and mark them as “Done” when you are finished with them, instead of marking them as “Read.” Marking as “Read” is still there but it’s independent. Of course, “Done” is yet another label though it doesn’t show up in the list of labels so maybe it’s more a kind of state. However, you can search in the regular Gmail for “label:done” and it will find your done messages. (That’s giving away the ending).

With the Inbox app, you can go through and use the little “sweep” icons to sweep away large collections of messages as “Done,” all in one, uh, swoop. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to let me do more than one month at a time. I finally got tired of that, but then went back to check the Gmail view.

My mistake was thinking “Done” in the Inbox app meant “mark as Read” in the Gmail app, which was wrong. So I’d moved hundreds of messages out of my Inbox to who knows where. Well now we all know they no longer had the Inbox label and now had the Done label or state. (And, yes, I’m now going to stop using the quotes around all of these states and labels). Also, as we all should know, in Gmail, you don’t move anything but only ever add and remove labels.

Well, that was a big change. Part of my Gmail organization, written about recently, is how I keep some things in the Inbox and some bypass it and are only in labels.

Now I’d moved the Inbox-only items completely out of site, read or unread.

Thinking quickly, too quickly, and acting too quickly, I realized I could try the search “label:done” and find them all. So I just took that list, clicked the upper left box to check all on the screen, then checked the little link that always pops up that says, “Select all messages that match this search…” to select all of the Done items. Then I just added the Inbox label back to them.

Except now I move a lot of messages (again, hundreds) into the Inbox that formerly my filter had kept from ever being in the Inbox. My levels of email importance, and the underlying sorting, are something like this:

  • Only in the Inbox
  • In the Inbox but with a label
  • Only in a label (not in the Inbox)
  • Only in a label and marked as read on delivery

I should have included that list in my previous post.

I was finally able to mostly clean up this mess by selecting the various labels, select all of the messages, which now had the Inbox label, and click the Archive operation. Archive is Gmail-speak for special operation that just removes the Inbox label.

I should never have believed that the Inbox app would be harmless and wouldn’t have some effect on my regular Gmail account. Gmail desperately wants to manage my email for me (to the point of just taking it over) and, as much as I really like Gmail and think it’s by far the best email solution, I have to beat it down hard with a big stick every time it raises it’s head and tries to attack my email with unwanted help. It’s exhausting.

That’s a metaphor for Google in general and will probably eventually lead, in some large part, to their downfall.

I still like a lot about the Inbox app and it’s interface and I’ll keep experimenting with a much less important account.