Real gem among changes made by email providers

Email is the theme of Mackline this week, with a few things happening that readers might like to know.

As indicated in an earlier column, Yahoo New Zealand is going to deactivate accounts which have not been used for 12 months. If you want to keep your Yahoo account, you must log in by July 15.

Yahoo told Mackline that New Zealand users have been contacted in multiple ways, including a ''We want you back'' message to their email accounts, their alternative email addresses and by text message to the users' mobile phone number where provided.

''This provides an exciting opportunity to reward loyal users and new users with the opportunity to sign up for the ID they've always wanted,'' a Yahoo spokeswoman said.

If you have have a yahoo.com, yahoo.co.nz, a yahoo.com.au or any other Yahoo account, now is the time to check.

From Monday, anyone can have a go at finding the ID they want.

In mid-August, users who staked a claim on certain IDs will discover if they had received a new ID.

Yahoo!Xtra accounts are not affected by the campaign.

However, Yahoo!Xtra users may receive an email regarding their yahoo.com if they have listed their Yahoo!Xtra account as their back-up method of contact.

Email guru Debbie Mayo-Smith alerted readers in The New Zealand Herald to a huge modification that has quietly been introduced for the Gmail inbox.

''It seems to me unbelievable that such a huge modification to Gmail [for the better] slipped by unnoticed. Quietly. Without fanfare or announcements. Yet for those who get a large amount of email it's utterly marvellous. Potentially devastating for marketers,'' she wrote.

Google has created an automatic filter which does a good job of separating the inbox in up to five predetermined categories. Users can activate a few or all five tabs, which appear across the top of the inbox.

The five categories are:

• Primary: Email that is sent specifically to you, person-to-person conversations or that you find important.

• Social: Notifications from social sites - such as LinkedIn, Facebook - as well as media sharing sites.

• Promotions: Promotions, offers, newsletters, marketing emails.

• Updates: Personal automatically generated updates, confirmations, receipts, invoices.

• Forums: Messages from online groups, discussions, mailing lists.

The new inbox will open with the primary tab, holding emails that are important to you. When done, you can then go on to the other tabs for easy skimming, Ms Mayo-Smith says.

''Just like Outlook has rules to read and put your email into folders, you can, and have always been able to simulate that with Gmail - using filters and labels.

''While this new tabbed system eliminates the need for many of your old filters - if you used them - you can still keep them with the new inbox to further fuel your productivity in sorting what to read first or not at all.''

Gmail has also introduced one of the best Outlook tricks of drag and drop. You drag an email from one tab to another which re-categorises that email, and all others like it - past, present and future.

''You wouldn't believe how easy it is to change to the new inbox.''

Select the settings gear drop-down, which is located on the top right of your inbox and to the right of the number of emails, and select ''Configure Inbox'' from the menu.

With her business marketing hat on, Ms Mayo-Smith said Google had enabled people to use the ''select all'' button, to delete a category of email with or without reading them. If a newsletter fell into the promotions tab, along with 30 other items, that person could delete all without even giving it a moment of thought.