Friday, 24 October 2008

Email Bloomers

There was a piece in the news recently about Google, who have set up a facility called Mail Goggles. This is in response to the number of people who have sent emails to the wrong people when Under The Influence. Several people were quoted having sent vitriolic messages to ex-spouses; ex-lovers, ex-in-laws etc., having had a few in the pub. Or at home, which makes it easier to send the emails.

When enabled, Mail Goggles kicks in at a time specified by you and says, “It’s that time of day. Are you sure you want to send this?” It then tries to ascertain if you’re drunk by asking five maths on the screen which you have to answer in a limited time. If you can’t, it presumes you’re pissed and suggests that you send it the next day when you’ve had time to consider the matter.

The writers of the piece were unable to test this out as all of their staff were sober, but many said they wished it had been invented earlier to prevent previous bloomers.

It seems an excellent idea to me. I’ve never actually sent embarrassing emails when drunk as I can’t type after a glass of wine. I have, however, sent them when in a hurry and sober which is infinitely more embarrassing, as I have no excuse.

It made me think, wouldn’t it be lovely if we could apply this facility to our brains, so when we’ve worried something to death, a message would come up saying, “Enough - I’m sick of this. Can you think about something else, please?”

P. S. To activate Mail Goggles, go into Gmail's settings, and turn on Mail Goggles in the "Labs" tab. Then adjust how and when it works in the "General" tab.

16 comments:

Amanda said...

Hi Flowerpot,
The trouble with email, I find, is it is sooooo easy! Just one click of a button and you say something that can't be unsaid. I think I definitely need a permanent 'do you really want to send this' button. Although I've never sent an intentionally nasty email in my life - I do worry sometimes that things can be read wrongly in an email. x

Flowerpot said...

amanda - exactly. I've had and sent emails too quickly and then - bang - it's out there and it's too late!

Sally said...

That's really funny!!

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Now if only that could apply verbally after a few drinks too! It would be great if you went to speak and suddenly there was a mute button applied or words bleeped out when innappropriate!

Flowerpot said...

Sally - I think it's quite a sensible idea. Or could be!

MOB - that's an even better idea. I guess we have something in common there!

Debs said...

It's probably just as well that I dont have to answer maths questions on Google the rest of the time as I would never get anywhere. I'm useless with figures.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

I wish I could insert that facility into my brain. When I'm drunk, I can't even type emails so that's no use to me.

Philipa said...

What a brilliant, brilliant idea! I've sent unfortunate emails - usually reactions when upset. Then you end up in a row that might have been avoided with a deep breath. So an enforced deep breath built into the software sounds a good idea (or maybe being annoyed or hurt enough to tell someone whose asking for it isn't such a bad idea?!) I do agree with Amanda though that emails can be famously misleading and it's so easy to get the wrong impression even when nothing is meant angrily or maliciously. So easy even a deep breath can't guard that.

FP - I've closed permissions on my blog and would like to invite you. Can you email me? If you don't already have my email address then perhaps ellee could give me yours and I could send an invite? Hope that ok with Y'all :-)

Akelamalu said...

What a great idea! I don't think (but you never know) I have ever sent a ranting email whilst under the influence but I have written letters, thankfully they never got posted!

Violets new Vintage said...

I think its a great idea too...I see drunken posts in some forums I read too! Those will last for a long time. Glad I don't drink and post.

Elaine said...

I sent one only last week and then had to say "please don't read it" in the morning. Of course, they read it.

Whoops!

Flowerpot said...

Debs - I quite agree. I can't do maths when sober let alone - well actually it might be easier when pissed!

Flowerpot said...

wakeup - I'm just the same!

Phil - thanks for that and for the invitation. My email is flower.pot@btinternet.com but I will ask Ellee for yours if you don't see this.

Ak - yes, Ive written those letters too. Going hot and cold thinking about them!

Violets - good to meet you. No I dont drink and post either - dangerous business!

Elaine - oh no!!!! But of course they read it - wouldn't you?!!

Ellee Seymour said...

I've heard about this too. Who has never sent an email they regretted late at night?

HelenMH said...

Sounds like a good idea to me! Can you set it to stop you sending ill considered text messages as well?

wordtryst said...

I've sent e-mails to an ex on impulse, but I wasn't drunk so this probably wouldn't work for me. :)

The medium is just too easy. There should be a built in delay to give us time to reconsider - especially at 1 am when we're not entirely responsible for our actions!