As anyone who follows my articles knows, Google Apps is one of my favorite Google products.  The other day, I logged into my webmail for my personal domain (hosted on Google Apps), and was pleasantly surprised to see a new feature; the Priority Inbox.  While simple enough in concept, the “priority inbox” seems like a pretty promising addition to Gooogle Apps.

As you can probably guess, the priority inbox creates a secondary inbox within the Google Apps webmail interface.  And, based on your reading trends, the Priority Inbox will automatically sort through your email and try to determine which messages are of priority, and thus what is pressing for your attention.  I’ll be the first to admit that the sorting was far from accurate for the first couple of days, but as time has progressed, Priority Inbox has become strikingly accurate in determining which of my incoming emails are of high importance.

Combining my reading trends and my “rankings” on priority (like marking a message as spam or starring it), Priority Inbox has done a much better job at prioritizing my email than I could alone.

One of the things that I find interesting about the Priority Inbox is the fact that it seems to have been released to Google Apps users (none of my standard Gmail accounts have yet to get this feature) first.  This is somewhat unusual for Google to do, and suggests that the product is intended as a business tool to aid people in managing their time more effectively.  More importantly, the release to Google Apps suggests that Priority Inbox is intended to be for inner-organization prioritization.

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What is inner-organization prioritization?  Think about it this way: you are a high-up at a large company.  Who’s email are you going to give priority to; a low-level sales person, or the VP of sales?  To most, the answer to this question is obvious.  But the fact remains that if you get a lot of email, it may be a genuine challenge to prioritize said information.

This concept, referred to as group dynamics is something that can be of great importance in business and organizations.  However, group dynamics are more prominently found in social networks.  And, as I’ve already discussed, it is becoming quickly evident that Google wants to get their hands dirty in the social networking field.

By now you’re probably putting two and two together.  But if you’re not, let me explain this a little further.  By creating technology that aids in group and social dynamics, Google is potentially further preparing themselves to enter the social networking field.  More importantly, by bringing something new to the table, Google could likely attract a lot of users to their new social networking service.


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