New Gmail Feature Makes it a Cinch to Unsubscribe

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In a move sure to delight custodians of cluttered inboxes -- but which may present new obstacles for marketers eager to reach untold masses -- Google has introduced a new unsubscribe feature to its popular mail platform.

Whereas Gmail users previously had to hunt for an unsubscribe link typically found at the bottom of promotional messages, a new button will now appear alongside the subject line of these messages -- meaning that users won’t have to leave Gmail (or even open the message) in order to unsubscribe.

While the repercussions for businesses may be grim, Gmail’s head of anti-abuse efforts, Vijay Eranti, told IT World that the initiative aims to make outreach more transparent, as well as to make it easier for consumers to differentiate between targeted promotions and indiscriminate spam.

Related: 5 Tips to Take Control of Your Inbox

"We want our users to not have spam, and we also want you to reach the user," said Google’s head of anti-abuse research, Elie Bursztein, at a conference in San Francisco held by M3AAWG -- an anti-abuse messaging group -- where the new feature was announced last Thursday. 

The button won't appear beside spam, noted The Verge, because responding to those messages would only result in a greater onslaught.

The unsubscribe tool is Google’s latest of several “quick action buttons” launched in recent months, notes IT World. Other shortcuts include buttons that can change restaurant reservations, launch Google Docs and respond to evites.

Also in an attempt to streamline inboxes last year, Gmail introduced a new classification system whereby messages are automatically filed into various categories including “promotions,” “social,” “updates” and more.

Related: No, Gmail's Promotions Tab Didn't Just Kill Email Marketing

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