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Hey, Google… trust me, this isn’t spam

Just like millions of its users, I love Gmail, Google and its suite of services. So much so that I used to have two paid plans up November last year when I finally had the courage to consolidate my digital accounts. (And let me tell you, it’s hard work!)

Despite my affinity towards all things Google, particularly Gmail, there are a couple of aspects that I absolutely hate about the latter:

  • Classifying updates from your favourite blog subscriptions to the “Updates” folder or worse “promotions” folder, which means that the message gets buried under an avalanche of other relatively useless updates, never to be seen!
  • Actively prompting users to “report spam” despite filters (which means you know what you’re doing) that basically say “messages from this domain are safe enough for my inbox.” They don’t even have a “not spam” option for these messages!

You may not think of this as big deal yet, but imagine the same happens with the messages that you send out to a group. What if Google’s spam detecters decide to push your messages to the junk folder? Or warns the users to be careful while opening your message because it could be spam or fraud.

Yes, there are workarounds to ensure that your messages arrive in your Primary tab instead of the Promotions or Updates. And I’m pretty sure someone would figure out a way to get rid of the “report spam” option. But the big question is if we need barriers to intentional communication.

“Google must be doing it right” or “they must have thought through this,” or worse a technical explanation on the way these security filters work isn’t going to make things any better. I believe getting in the way of communication hinders development and hence, progress.