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Friday, March 20, 2009

Gmail Gets Undo

Paul Buchheit, ex-Google employee and initial guy behind Gmail, has been mentioning for quite some time how neat it would be for all apps, including Gmail, to have an Undo feature. Looks like his voice has been heard, at least for Gmail, which now added undo. You can enable this by going to the Gmail Labs section and opting in to the “Undo Send” feature.

When you now press Send on an email (say, something with the headline “I am quitting my job!” or so), you’ll be returned to your inbox, but above the messages you’ll see “Your message has been sent.   Undo   View Message”. After five seconds, the Undo disappears. The “magic” in this is that your email actually hasn’t been really sent already when you hit the Send button, despite what the dialog says, but that it’s hold back for this amount of seconds in case you change your mind. (Of course, there is a chance you’ll be moving your mouse towards the Undo aiming to press it and have it suddenly disappear a split-second before you click... there is no timing indicator or fade-out to warn you. Also note, as the Gmail blog mentions, should your browser crash in that time frame, then your email will be sent in anyway.)

There’s one trade-off to this feature, namely that emails you send will reach the recipient those 5 seconds later; this should be mostly insignificant (and there’s still instant messaging as alternative), but in some situations this delay could be noticeable.

On that note, I have a question. How many of you often only start to proofread your email after you hit Send?

[Thanks Manoj Nahar, Dan, Josue R. and Niranjan Bendre!]


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