A Gmail Labs feature, created on Google's famous "20%" time (where employees get to spend a proportion of their time working on personal projects) has introduced the option of multiple inboxes in Gmail.

Octavian Costache, the Google software engineer that created the option explains how it came about - and how it works - in a blog post:

"I'm seriously into filters and labels. All the email I get related to Flash goes under my 'flash' label, everything about paragliding goes under 'flying', and they all skip my inbox because that's how I like to stay organized. But when new email arrives I have to switch to the 'flash' label first, then click on 'paragliding', etc. I wanted a way to see it all at once".

"So when I heard about Gmail Labs, I started implementing a Labs feature in my 20% time that would help me (and you!) spend less time monitoring important messages that may end up getting filtered away. Starting today, you can try Multiple Inboxes, a Labs experiment which makes it possible to have more than one 'inbox' in your default Gmail view".

Gmailers who want to try it need to turn on "Multiple Inboxes" in the Labs tab under "Settings", then can configure what they want to see, as well as set the number of messages displayed and the positioning of their panels.