March 21, 2009

Gmail just wants to help

It's late. You've been working all day and then surfing all night. You've spent time updating your blog, hanging on the social networks, Googling some stuff. Maybe a purchase on Amazon. So now it's around 2 AM and you're dog tired. And a friend sends you an email that hits you the wrong way, and provokes the "up yours" response, which quickly comes flying out of your fingertips onto your keyboard, appearing in an instant onto the screen and then you hit send.

Sound familiar? Well, for a while Google's had this thing called Mail Goggles, available in Gmail's Labs section. Someone over at Google figured out that if you had to figure out math questions, the type you can hardly answer when you're wide awake and sobre, you'd be less able to send those ill-advised emails. And hey, if you can do the math, then more power to you -- send that email and be damned. So we'll call that offering #1, which gets a thumbs up from David Pogue after some hands-on experience. Fair enough. Now Google is offering an "undo" option if you still sent that email and want it back. You have to enable it via Labs, but then it gives you a 5 second failsafe to stop the email.

Hmmm...5 seconds. Is that really enough? Heck, it sometimes takes that long to figure out you've made a mistake (then you think about what you want to do...check some web sites...check more emails... bounce ideas off your social network friends, grab a snack, then decide what to do -- it's an involved process).
There really should be an option here to increase the time, but for now, you'll have to act fast if you want to use this.

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