Gmail finally enables non-threaded inbox – aka Microsoft might be right

Today, Google enabled an option that will switch off the conversation view and return your inbox back to its non-threaded 1990s glory.


GmailGmail rules cloud-based email. But one “feature” has always mystified and irked a large group of users, including myself. Called “conversation view” Gmail by default sorts emails into threaded discussions. The thinking is that it reduces inbox clutter and keeps things organized by topic. Good in theory. But many complained that it was confusing, and messages were often missed when buried deep in a busy thread.

Well, Gmail users who prefer old school inbox can rejoice. Today, Google enabled an option that will switch off the conversation view and return your inbox back to non-threaded glory. That late 1990s Outlook email feeling can now be had by all.

Employees at Microsoft were quick with the I-told-you-so’s.

Andrew Kisslo, a senior product manager for Microsoft Office wrote in a post (on Technet which is an official Microsoft blog):

Gmail conversation view option
Gmail conversation view option: Now more like Outlook

“For years now, Google has been saying ‘conversation view’ (threaded) was the best way to read email. But apparently users petitioned for this feature so I can only imagine the water cooler chat at the GooglePlex in Mountain View “people and their ‘stupid’ options”.”

Then Kisslo sounds off on Google’s attempt to gain enterprise market share:

“Google’s recent attempts to be a software company in the workplace will challenge their culture. Supporting more users means supporting more requirements. That leads to complexity of features which the company appears to openly dismiss. They almost revel in uniformity and simplicity, almost to a fault.”

The final scorecard:

Gmail – 2 views (conversation or non-threaded)

Microsoft Outlook – 12 different views

The winner?

I still can’t think of any reason why Google is not going to take over the world.

1990s nostalgia available in Gmail
1990s nostalgia available in Gmail
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