GMail: To Thread Or Not To Thread? Now it’s your choice.

There is one thing about GMail’s web interface that makes it stands out compared to other email solutions, and it’s the thing they’re both praised and criticised for in equal measure. Unlike most email clients, which stack your emails in chronological order and make no obvious links between the conversations they relate to, Google GMail has since the very start had a feature that groups all the emails in the same conversation together into one “thread”, making a whole conversation easy to find and read through in it’s entirety. This feature, called “Conversation View”, has split opinion. Threading enthusiasts say they spend less mental energy drawing connections between related messages and that their inboxes are much less cluttered. On the other hand, email traditionalists like many former Outlook users think conversation view just complicates something that has worked for years.

Today, Google has announced it is finally introducing a new option to cater for those in the latter side of the argument. The Official Google Blog explains:

“We really hoped everyone would learn to love conversation view, but we came to realize that it’s just not right for some people. So today we’re introducing another valuable choice. Users who prefer a traditional inbox can toggle off conversation view to see email as individual messages in chronological order. Some actions commonly associated with unthreaded email can be accomplished with searches in Gmail, so check out our tips on advanced search operators.

Over the next few days, we’ll be rolling out conversation view settings to users in organizations with the “Enable pre-release features” option selected in the Google Apps control panel, and to individuals using Gmail.”

So, To Thread Or Not To Thread? Now, even if you don’t use Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook or any other email client, you’ve now got the choice in your own hands. And whatever you choose, Google’s on your side – as the Google Blog post states: “Whichever side of the debate you’re on, we hope we’re continuously making Gmail more useful to you.”

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