Gtriage is a new service that aims to help Gmail users suffering from “information overload” due to an overcrowded inbox – a problem affecting the majority of email users today. The way the service works is that it scans all your email messages and to determine which ones are the most important to you. It then tags those messages “Important” with bright red labels so they don’t get missed.
This sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? The only question now is will it actually work?
As heavy users of Google’s Gmail ourselves, we’re always excited to find new extensions, upgrades and programs that add additional functionality or integrate with the popular email service. We’ve tried everything from Gmail gadgets for Twitter and Facebook to Gmail plugins like Xoopit to email mashups like Gist. While we’ve generally been excited with all of these programs when they launch, we have to admit that over time we end up returning to our old ways: sorting through busy inboxes filled with a never-ending deluge of email.
And yet again, here comes another program promising a solution to information overload, a nut so tough that no one has truly found the way to crack it yet. Will Gtriage be our savior? Or just another service that doesn’t live up to its potential?
Gtriage: Machine-Learning for your Gmail
The answer comes from Gtriage’s algorithm for measuring importance. The company calls it “powerful machine-learning technology” – they’ve even cutely nicknamed it Buckminster and Blockhead, represented by two cartoon characters. Blockhead learns the universal characteristics that make email important and Buckminister learns what you specifically find to be important.
This dual approach to measuring importance addresses some of the issues found with other systems – they often don’t understand that frequency of communication isn’t the only factor in ranking email. A person you email with regularly may be far less important to you than someone who only emails once in a blue moon. But having a machine figure out which of those “rare” emails should rank highly is tricky. Will Gtriage know?
According to the company’s website, their system learns about you and improves the longer you use it. Once set up, you continue to use your Gmail as you would normally while Gtriage watches your actions and customizes itself to your behavior. The end result, in theory, is an email ranking program that works without any extra effort on your part. What’s more, Gtriage does all this without requiring any extra plugins or apps. It even works on your mobile.
Will Gtriage Solve Info Overload?
If Gtriage works as promised, it could easily be a lifesaver for Gmail users everywhere. So much so that they’ll even pay to use the service – or at least, that’s what the company hopes. They’ve lined up multiple pricing programs to cater to users with more than one Gmail or Google Apps account. However, right now the service is offered free to Gmail users assuming you have an invite code to get in (you can beg for yours on Twitter here).
This system isn’t the sort of service we could immediately review. It will take time for it to get to know us and our inboxes before we can dub it a winner, a failure or something in between. But the promise it holds has us hoping for the best.