With a little under 4 days until Google rips Inbox from our loving arms, the Gmail team seems to be in feature overdrive. The latest feature to break cover is a change to how threaded conversations work.
For some people threaded conversations are the best thing to happen to email since SPAM filters, for others it’s a confusing mess that they can’t handle. Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with them, but today’s change may actually move that a little more to the love camp.
Previously Gmail would thread a message in either of the following situations:
- A message is sent in reply to another
- A message has:
- The same sender or recipients,
- The same subject and
- And is sent within one week of an earlier message in the thread.
The recent update adds an additional technical requirement to qualify an email for inclusion in a thread, an incoming message’s Reference header, if present, must reference IDs of previous messages in order to thread.
Or, in English, Gmail will now check an email’s underlying identifiers to see if it’s really part of the same conversation.
What this means is if you get multiple emails with the same subject line it will no longer thread those together. I have to admit this doesn’t happen often, but it does happen, especially with blank subject lines.
Unfortunately, this change does little to make up for the loss of Inbox, at least for those of us who love it and are clinging on until the bitter end.