Gmail Gets Blocking Option - InformationWeek

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9/24/2015
08:05 AM
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Gmail Gets Blocking Option

Consign obnoxious message senders to the spam folder with Gmail's blocking control.

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iPad Pro Vs. Competition: What's The Best Business Tablet?
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Google is offering Gmail users more control over the messages they receive.

On Wednesday, the company introduced the ability to block messages from specific senders for Web-based Gmail, and within a week Google will introduce the feature for Gmail on Android devices.

Sri Harsha Somanchi, product manager, in a blog post described the new feature as a way to deal with communication from disruptive people.

Message blocking in Gmail's Web interface shows up as an option under the "More" disclosure triangle displayed to the right of the sender field in an open message. Despite its name, it isn't really blocking. Choosing to block a sender routes the sender's messages directly to the spam folder instead of displaying them in the main Gmail interface.

The blocking option is only available in traditional Gmail at the moment. Those using the experimental Inbox by Gmail interface are out of luck. Inbox has another downside: the inability to prevent images from loading by default, a defense against the uninvited tracking codes contained in many HTML-based messages.

(Image: Google)

(Image: Google)

Gmail's blocking implementation relies on the sender's email address. Unwanted messages from the same sender using a different email account won't be blocked. Thus Gmail blocking isn't so much a spam defense as a harassment countermeasure.

Google is also expanding the availability of its Unsubscribe option, which provides a one-click mechanism for unsubscribing from a mailing list as a link beside a mailing list's sender address. Android users of the Gmail app can now access an Unsubscribe option from the "More" icon (three dots in a vertical line) at the top-right corner of their device screen.

[Read how Google is using AI to block spam.]

Google offers a conceptually similar Chrome extension called Personal Blocklist for blocking unwanted search result listings.

Gmail users looking for greater control over what has become the world's most popular free email service -- over 900 million active users, according to Google -- may wish to consider Gmelius, a Chrome extension that provides a few extra bells and whistles.

Beyond its duplicative Unsubscribe button, Gmelius allows you to remove interface elements such as Gmail ads as a way to reclaim space. It also blocks email tracking mechanisms, allows Gmail searches from any tab, and supports customized hashtagging, among other features.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio

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jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
10/1/2015 | 9:52:53 AM
Re: Gmail Blocking Option
>> While I love gmail a lot, I have to begrudgingly agree about some of the head-scratching UI decisions. 

I think the bottom line is that email is a hard thing to get right -- many companies dont. It's been around for a long time, and many software packages for PCs have come and gone.  

Google thinks it can dress it up in new clothes. Well, maybe, but it hasn't found the right outfit yet. Google likes to build UIs that please the more advanced people -- people who like to tinker with things -- well, ok, but for email, just keep it simple.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2015 | 10:11:05 PM
Re: Gmail Blocking Option
"I'm always intersted in how Google can continue to mess up its GUI for gmail. Inbox is bad enough, but the new blocking feature has come along."

@jastroff,

While I love gmail a lot, I have to begrudgingly agree about some of the head-scratching UI decisions. I get lots and lots of automated e-mails daily from various services and looked for years for an option to 'mark all as read'  so it wouldn't have to click all 20, only to find out that yes, this is only a beta feature that was only rolled out recently. You have to activate it in the 'labs' section or whatever it's called, and then it appears in the 'more options' tab (as you said, still a weird place). Google is known for experimentation. Perhaps they experiment too much with what should be a relatively straightforward e-mail experience.
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
9/30/2015 | 10:06:50 PM
Re: Gmail Gets Blocking Option
Thank the powers that be. This feature is long overdue. Many are probably familiar with the automated mailing lists that say 'click here to remove yourself from this list' and either redirect to the wrong page, or say they've removed you from the list only to receive another e-mail from them a week later. Now, at least we have the same kind of automated tools the spammers are using on us to use against them. I'll just have to be tempted not to ''accidentally'' block some of my co-workers.
kstaron
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kstaron,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2015 | 3:35:36 PM
about time
The only thing surprising about this is that it took this long to get the ability to block a person's email address. I've never hada need of it or I would have missed it sooner. This seems likea basic thing though. If I can opt in to people sending a message to me, it makes perfect sense I should be able to do the opposite.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2015 | 6:12:38 AM
Re: Gmail Blocking Option
I think it's good to have the Unsubscribe option soon which will help in Opt-in marketing emails. This has become an issue in gmail.
shamika
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shamika,
User Rank: Ninja
9/29/2015 | 6:07:56 AM
Re: Gmail Blocking Option
This is a good feature. However I am just thinking about the particular phrase which says: "Unwanted messages from the same sender using a different email account won't be blocked." What is the use of having the block feature without having the above requirement?
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
9/25/2015 | 9:56:28 AM
Re: Gmail Blocking Option
As free email goes, Gmail is reliable. I actually pay for Outlook/Exchange, because when they started giving email away for free it got filled up with ads and service didnt exist.
Broadway0474
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Broadway0474,
User Rank: Ninja
9/24/2015 | 9:59:50 PM
Re: Gmail Blocking Option
jastroff, I agree completely that gmail is about as gracious as an elephant on roller skates. OK, maybe not that bad. But I find it almost purposefully makes it hard to find what I am looking for, and it gives me a headache to use for very long. Which makes me wonder why other web-based email programs then went and started copying the conversation format.
jastroff
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
9/24/2015 | 7:06:26 PM
Re: Gmail Blocking Option
@vnewman2, all good points re: Gmail. Email is such a hard application to get right -- it's complex, yet has an order to it that only Outlook seems to have gotten mostly right. And Outlook was a ripoff of mainframe mailers like MM on Tops-20 in the 1980s. So, no great applause for Outlook/Exchange. The back end is a pain in the neck.

Google is beginnign to remind me of the new Microsoft (ugh) - when it comes to interface development, other than the single Google Search box, they are like a guy who can't dance -- looks awful and steps on your feet all the time.

:-)
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
9/24/2015 | 6:57:51 PM
Re: Gmail Blocking Option
I agree with you @jasroff - when Google last changed their interface it completely turned me off it completely as I dont' "think" in conversation mode by default.  Google, for as streamlined as their browser is, continues to violate two fundamental rules regarding features for email management: make it 1. seamless and 2. intuitive.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
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