Gmail's undo button far more useful than Goggles

Unlike Mail Goggles, a Gmail feature that aims to prevent impaired users from sending e-mail, Gmail's new 'undo' button is actually useful. The feature gives users five seconds after they've sent an e-mail to re-assess it and get it back. And the best part is that the recipient has no idea that anything was sent at all.

In the Official Gmail Blog announcing the feature, user experience designer Michael Leggett lists a couple of common sender-regret scenarios:

Sometimes I regret sending a message the morning after. Other times I send a message and then immediately notice a mistake. I forget to attach a file or email the birthday girl that I can't make her surprise party. I can rush to close my browser or unplug the Internet — but Gmail almost always wins that race.

With the new feature, available in Gmail's experimental Labs section, users who send errant e-mails can quickly hit the undo button, preventing similar mishaps. While five seconds isn't a long time, most e-mail mistakes are realized virtually at the moment of send, making instant retrieval a pretty good idea. As Leggett explains:

This feature can't pull back an email that's already gone; it just holds your message for five seconds so you have a chance to hit the panic button.

It's a far more useful feature than Goggles, primarily because it solves a problem for--what we hope--is a bigger slice of the Gmail user community: Those who make mistakes like missing attachments or including inadvertent recipients vs. those who e-mail while drunk.

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