I just noticed that one of the actions I can take on a discussion thread in Google’s Gmail service is to “mute” it. What the heck is that? Something to do with audio playback, perhaps?
Actually, the ability to mute a conversation in Gmail is quite new and it’s a pretty interesting idea: a muted discussion goes directly into your archive without ever ending up in your inbox along the way.
This is particularly helpful if you see a long discussion happening on a topic that you know you’ll want to reference at some point in the future, but isn’t important to you right now. A quick search with Gmail’s powerful search tools, and you’ll have the entire discussion thread neatly archived, without it cluttering up your inbox!
To see how this works, let’s have a look at a message I just got from Nintendo Corporate PR:
You can see that it’s one of the options on the “More Actions” menu. Select it and you’ll quickly get confirmation of what transpired:
Finally, if you then find it in a search, you’ll note that it’s labelled as being a “muted” discussion thread:
Interestingly, there’s no “unmute” action once it’s in your archives. As far as I can tell, the only way to unmute the conversation is to move it back into your inbox. Probably that’s a symmetric feature that will just show up in the near future, so by the time you read this blog entry, it might already just be in the More Actions menu.
Meanwhile, being able to mute a discussion is a cool idea and a worthy addition to the Gmail capability set.