Grouping contacts in GMail / mailing lists

Posted Monday, May 23, 2005

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GMail already has very interesting features among which storage space, efficient spam filtering and conversation view. But before implementing some fancy functions they should have (imho) dealt with some more usefull features because a minimum of sorting makes searching much more efficient.

Today you will learn a workaround to create mailing lists within GMail. It's quite simple in fact, it only takes a few steps:

  1. Add keywords to your contacts. (You can add them to any field but keep in mind that what you write in the name field is displayed when you send messages, as in "full name (school-mate) <>").
  2. Perform a search on the contact page using the keywords you defined earlier.
  3. Select all the contacts now visible and click "compose". You're ready to use your list!

Two remarks:

  1. If your contacts don't need to know each other's email addresses, cut and paste the contents of the "to" field into "Bcc" so that they all receive a copy without being aware of it.
  2. Once you have sent a message this way, it can be faster to use "reply to all" and edit the subject to your liking. Your choice in this matter.

I hope that this has helped you, now I have to find the simplest way to apply this technique to incoming messages because I really miss a clean contact-based tagging of emails.

[UPDATE: GMail has rolled out categories, but this still helps in knowing where you know people from.]

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