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Shortwave helps bring order to clutter in users’ Gmail accounts

by JOY SCHWABACH | April 2, 2022 at 1:43 a.m.

I just whipped through my email in record time using Shortwave for Gmail.

Shortwave was created by two guys from Google who figured out how to declutter everything. Ironically, Gmail is about to get even more cluttered. Take a look at the preview of the version rolling out this month.

I love how Shortwave bundles similar emails together. That way, if the whole group looks like junk, I can sweep it off my plate in one fell swoop. This is stuff I normally would have looked at, wasted time on, been sorry I bothered. But when the subject line of a bundle gives me an instant idea of what's inside, I have more will power. For example, in a subject line labeled "Promotions," I saw "Book TV," "Trippin' Travel," and "DoorDash," along with tiny, recognizable icons for the rest. When I opened it, I got a list of headlines for everything in there. I can click on an item to unravel it without unrolling the rest. I can check each item off after I've read it, pin it or snooze it for reading later or check off the whole bundle. Just now, I dispatched nine items in a few seconds. I feel freer already.

Neatly listed on the left side of the page are the names of people you have recently corresponded with. Click on a name to see your latest conversations. The free version only lets you search for stuff emailed in the past three months, but everything else can be retrieved in regular Gmail. I have notes going back to 2005.

Surprisingly, Shortwave has no delete button. At first this bugged me, but it actually saves time. I no longer fuss over what to delete. Once a day, I go back to regular Gmail to delete whole swaths of stuff. I call it up by clicking the advanced search icon to the right of the search bar, typing in the word "today" next to "date within one day of." Just now, there were 116 items. I selected all for deletion, saving four of them.This sounds like extra work, but takes only seconds.

Shortwave is available for Windows, Mac, iPhone or iPad. On Android phones, go to The paid version is $9 a month and offers team features as well as unlimited search and email history.

If you're wondering whether it's safe to let Shortwave process your Gmail for you, keep in mind that the company passed a Google-mandated annual audit involving a careful look at their security policies.


A reader points out that dry eye is exacerbated by the overuse of electronic devices. He nearly lost an eye that way.

"Dry eye can lead to a retinal detachment, an emergency medical problem," he wrote. "Left untreated, it can lead to permanent blindness in the affected eye. I had this happen years ago." Fortunately, his detached retina was reattached by a specialist.

Many people use eye drops for dry eye. But they can be "hideously expensive," he points out, especially in prescription form. "At best they provide only temporary relief."

I solved my dry eye problem by drinking water. If I wake up at night and my eyes are glued shut, I drink about 6 ounces. Within seconds, my eyes are no longer scratchy. I haven't used eye drops in years. The reader said he tried it too and found relief.

I got the idea from a four-minute video at "We know that those suffering from dry eyes are comparatively dehydrated," they said. "But one can reverse that with rehydration, raising the exciting prospect that improving whole-body hydration by getting people to drink more water might confer important therapeutic effects for patients with dry eyes." They recommend eight cups of water a day for women and 10 cups a day for men. Alternatively, The Reader's Digest recommends a warm compress on the eyes for about 20 minutes before bed.


My niece is getting married. She met the love of her life through a podcast group on Facebook. He messaged her, she messaged back, and the rest is history.

Just be careful who you connect with. I'm watching "Bad Vegan," a new Netflix documentary about a beautiful New York City restaurant owner who started dating a bad apple because she liked his texts on social media. She ended up in prison.

When I looked up "Facebook groups about podcasts," I found groups like "Podcasts We Listen To," "History Podcasts," "Just History Podcasts," "The Podcasters' Hangout," "Podcast Brunch Club," "Podcasts!" and many others. I also found an app for finding podcasts, Podcast Addict. It's been downloaded over 10 million times.


Doing a "factory reset" on your old Android phone is the best way to prepare it for giving away or selling. Unfortunately, some of your personal data may survive.

To prevent this, encrypt your Android phone first. Go to "Settings," then "Security," then "Encryption & credentials" and select "Encrypt phone." Then do your factory reset. On my phone, it's under "Settings," then "System," then "Reset options."


"Which bonuses can I earn multiple times?" Search on that phrase to find a handy CNET article on credit card perks. For example, you might score 50,000 American Airlines miles twice with a Barclay card, if you're willing to wait four years before reapplying for the account you closed.

Joy Schwabach can be reached by email at [email protected]

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