Google's war on unwanted email got a new weapon on Wednesday, making it easier for you to dump your unwanted email newsletters, notifications, and advertising. Soon, you'll see prominent unsubscribe links right next to the sender's email address in bulk mail that works its way into your Gmail inbox.
Some users were already seeing this new feature, but Google's announcement brings the new unsubscribe power to a larger segment of Gmail users and messages.
The new links aren't specially set-up by Google. Instead, the company is just surfacing the unsubscribe links that many bulk email notices already include at the bottom of the messages—usually in tiny lettering.
Before Gmail's change, searching for a way to unsubscribe was usually something of a chore, requiring you to scroll down the bottom of lengthy messages. The unsubscribe link could also be deliberately hidden with techniques, like barely legible font sizes or coloring that made the links difficult to spot.
While Gmail's new feature will be a huge help, you may not see it on all your bulk messages. If you are getting bulk email without an unsubscribe link or one that uses fancier language than "unsubscribe" the new feature probably won't work.
A bulk email sent to me from Humble Bundle, for example, didn't offer an unsubscribe link at the bottom. Instead, it used the term "update subscription" right at the top of the message, which Gmail was apparently unable to identify.
Nevertheless, for the vast majority of bulk email Gmail's new feature should work just fine.
You are most likely to find Gmail's surfaced unsubscribe links under the social and promotions tabs of your inbox. Google introduced tabs that categorized your mail under headings such as "Social" and "Promotions" in May 2013. The new inbox organization was billed as yet another way to fight unwanted or superfluous mail from distracting you from more important messages.
Adding Unsubscribe links isn't as fancy as other recently added features, such as Google+ Photo integration or saving attachments to Google Drive with Gmail for Android. Nevertheless, giving Gmail users the ability to unsubscribe from unwanted email right at the top of the message is a huge time saver and may actually inspire some folks to cull their email newsletter load.