For years, we've been hearing stories about how email overload was a problem. One potential solution that is often brought up is the idea of better prioritization of email. Rather than just a time-based list, shouldn't our computers be smart enough to recognize which emails are likely to be more important? There have been a number of projects that try to do this, with varying degrees of success -- but none have gone very far outside of small numbers of users. However, it appears that Microsoft is trying to get into the game, with a relatively simple prioritization system, based on separating out the emails of people you regularly email with, on the assumption that they're more likely to be important than other emails. Again, this isn't a new idea, but having Microsoft actually implement it suggests that it may finally break into the mainstream. The real question, though, is whether or not people have already become so conditioned to traditional email (including their own tricks for email management) that they'll see this system as screwing things up more than helping.
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