Unsend that unfortunate email

Gmail-Undo-Send (Photo credit: Marybele.com)

It turns out the word ‘unsend’ isn’t an actual word, but it might become one soon. Google is introducing long-functional but until now experimental functionality for Gmail that lets you recall an email before it is actually sent.

Some history: Google used to have a tab in Gmail known as Google Labs, where they would make available all sorts of experimental Gmail functionality ideas that their coders and designers were allowed to work on in their spare time. They were never made official, but people could try them out if they liked. It was closed down almost five years ago, however they had some neat stuff, my favorite being a plugin that used an ingenious method to prevent you from sending emails while inebriated, which would likely end in huge amounts of regret and apologies: When you hit send, you had to work out a mathematical problem before the email would actually send. The difficulty of the problem could be set by the user, and if you couldn’t work out the problem in a set time the email wouldn’t send. Brilliant. Also, full disclosure, I think it’s ingenious because it is, not because I ever had to use it (I don’t drink, so when I do something dumb I have no excuse).

Google is now implementing the big brother of the drunk email-preventer, one that lived in Google Labs for six years, known as “unsend.” The user can set a desired timeframe from a few seconds to 30 seconds, and during that time the email won’t send, giving the user time to stop the email from sending. There are many reasons someone may want this, just let your imagination run wild. (Not that wild, maybe you just neglected to attach a file!)

You’ll have to enable the function as it won’t be a default option, and now that it’s an official addition to Gmail, I suspect that other web-based email services will be offering it in short order.

Going Up