20 February 2010

Remove buzz from your Gmail Sent folder

One of the annoyances introduced to our inbox are the dozens of unnecessary messages flooding the ‘Sent’ folder. Practically every Buzz we send out gets copied there, not only manual messages typed into the Buzz status box, but also from all the connected services. Going there to search for a recently sent email, you can find yourself looking at a long list of your tweets instead.

Of course, you can use search to filter out buzz with an expression like this: in:sent –is:buzz, but typing that over and over is time-consuming. Even if you use Quick Links to save the search, it’s annoying to change your habits, not to mention Gmail search won't let you change the number of results to something more useful than 20. And because ‘Sent’ is a system label, like ‘Buzz’, you cannot remove it from a message like you can with regular labels.

Or at least, you can’t in the web interface, but accessing Gmail through IMAP opens up that possibility. In an IMAP client, all Gmail labels are converted into folders and you can easily move messages around, even out of the Sent folder. The best part is the changes are synced back to the server, so the messages will be removed from web-based Gmail as well.

If you use Thunderbird, setting up a filter will help automate this task. Go to Tools ► Message filters…, select you Gmail account from the list “Filters for” and create a new filter.Thunderbird Message filters for Gmail

In the next window give your filter a suitable name and set it to match both of the criteria “Subject | is | Buzz from <your Google profile Name>” and “To | is | <your Gmail address>”. As a filter action you have a range of choices, but the most useful in this case is to Move the messages that match those two criteria to another folder inside your Gmail account. I chose the same folder/label where the web-based filter archives incoming buzz comments to have all of them in one place. Thunderbird Edit Filter

Save the new filter and make sure you also enable it in the “Message filters” window. Now, when you navigate to the “Gmail - Sent” folder in Thunderbird, run the new filter by going to Tools ► Run filters on folder and the redundant Buzz mail will be separated from mail you actually sent. Let’s hope we will also get an options in Gmail to turn off this unwanted integration with Buzz sometimes soon.


  1. The syntax given for searching inside GMAIL is worng. The correct syntax would be "in:sent -buzz:"

  2. Actually both work just fine and give more or less the same results. Have you tried it?