Google Does an About-Face…

♫ Everything, everything, everything, everything..
In its right place
In its right place…♫

Lyrics by Thom Yorke, music written and recorded by Radiohead.

One of the long-standing tenets of Google Mail (or GMail) was that you didn’t need folders – that its search abilities eliminated that need.

Problem is, as the size of your GMail Inbox grew, the ease of using Search to manage your GMail diminished. One was left wishing for a good-old fashioned folder structure that allowed you to stuff emails into them and thereby take them out of your Inbox.

Well, that wall came quietly crumbling down earlier this month as Google changed GMail to allow users to combine “Labels” and “Move To” to simulate folders. By selecting “Move To” and then selecting a label, the email is *finally* moved out of your Inbox and into the “Label” folder (for want of a better word).

Moreover, you can add multiple labels to one email, so it can be found in several folders. You can also use Filters to sort email. For Dan Pinnington, they have added keyboard shortcuts.

The move to a folder-like storage mechanism is is a welcome change and one could only have wished that it had come earlier. I personally have 6700+ MB of email sitting in one whopping big Inbox in GMail. It would have been so much easier to have classified the email into “folders” way back when. After all, some of us like to have everything, everything, in its right place…


  1. If you like folders, you should try the “Better Gmail 2” Firefox extension from Lifehacker. One of its features is “Folders4Gmail”. This lets you create sub-folders and organize your email hierarchically.

  2. Uhmm, why not just label the email and archive it from the inbox. This applys the label (or folder), and moves it out of the inbox. Then you can search within labels.

    I think what makes gmail powerful is the search functionality. Searching by date, label, fulltext quickly is outstanding. If you don’t think so try using Lotus Notes.