Google has just made a few people very, very happy. Gmail users will have the possibility to disable the conversation threading feature, one of Gmail's stand-out but also controversial features.
"Conversation view is perhaps Gmail’s most hotly debated feature. Threading enthusiasts say they spend less mental energy drawing connections between related messages and that their inboxes are much less cluttered," Dong Chen, Software Engineer at Google, wrote
"On the other hand, email traditionalists like many former Outlook users think conversation view just complicates something that has worked for years," he added.
"We really hoped everyone would learn to love conversation view, but we came to realize that it’s just not right for some people. So today we’re introducing another valuable choice. Users who prefer a traditional inbox can toggle off conversation view to see email as individual messages in chronological order," he explained.
So in the next few days, everyone will have the option to disable the conversation view and get their emails in traditional, chronological fashion.
The conversation view was one of Gmail's strong points when it launched. Long email conversations now occupied just one slot in the email list rather than filling the entire page.
It's clearly a very useful feature, especially with the ever-increasing amount of email being sent and received.
However, for some users, it doesn't work. While some of the critics don't like it just because it's different, there are cases where the traditional view is more useful.
For example, when receiving emails from the same contact, which may be similar in nature, but unrelated, you may want to see them all to make sure that you don't miss out.
With the conversation view, all would be grouped together, and you'd only be able to see the very latest message.
Google Apps users will also get the new option, but it will only be enabled for those who have selected the "Enable pre-release features" option.