Mail Goggles: Gmail Gets Silly

Gmail - Settings - - Mozilla Firefox (Build 2008092414)Anything that Google does makes news. Case in point: the Mail Goggles extension to Gmail, fresh out of their Lab. It’s meant to be a sort of double-check on email sending, but I’m not convinced that it’s a good solution, or even that there’s a problem here.

Apparently the point of Mail Googles is to combat drunk emailing, which I wasn’t particularly aware of – at least in my corner of the email universe. After you enable it, Google will require you to solve a handful of math problems to send an email during specified hours (which default to Friday and Saturday nights). Get the answers right, and your email goes out. Struggle with them for a while, and you might have second thoughts about whether you want it to go out. At least, that’s the idea.

Somehow, I can’t see this as being a very effective strategy. It seems likely to me that anyone in the habit of sending emails out late at night, whether they’re drunk or not, will quickly find this extension to be a nuisance and disable it. And making drunk people frustrated with their computers seems like a recipe for broken hardware bills as well.

If you really find yourself regretting emails on a regular basis, you should probably look at one of the recallable email services (like BigString, which we’ve reviewed in the past). These have their own pitfalls, but at least they’re not so intrusive that you won’t actually use them.

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