Gmail adds Mail Goggles

October 9, 2008 // 1:32 p.m.

Tags: #beta #gmail #google #google-labs #google-mail #labs #mail-goggles

If you've ever sent an e-mail while feeling 'tired and emotional' – read 'after a few too many' – that you've later come to regret, there is now hope for the future: Mail Goggles.

Named for the infamous 'beer-goggle' effect – although expressly designed to keep you out of trouble rather than to get you into it – Mail Goggles is the latest addition to Google's popular Gmail service.

Designed to prevent embarrassing e-mails from ever being sent, the system is fiendishly simple: when activated, the software triggers at certain times – late at night and on weekends by default – and requires the user to complete a series of mathematical questions within a set time limit. The idea, of course, is that if you're sober enough to achieve that then you're probably sober enough to mean whatever you wrote in the e-mail.

If you're particularly poor at mathematics, then you're probably best off not activating it at all.

Jon Perlow, Gmail engineer and author of the Mail Goggles extension, hopes that the software will prevent users from repeating his past mistakes – including “the time I sent that late night email to my ex-girlfriend that we should get back together.

While the feature seems pretty neat at first glance, it's obviously not the neatest solution to the problem – although I guess that monitor-mounted breathalysers would perhaps be a little intrusive. Still, anything that can prevent some of those 'oh-no' moments is a worth addition to the Google Labs stable in my opinion.

Will any of you be making use of the Mail Goggles feature, or do you say what you mean and mean what you say? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

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