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Gmail offers 'undo' email option

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The folks at Gmail Labs obviously dedicate a healthy amount of brainpower to the prevention of regrettable emails sent through their service.

Gmail logo

Custodial hearts at Google who've brought us Mail Goggles to stave off late-night drunken e-correspondence have now introduced an Undo Send option to their web-based email lineup.

Gmail's User Experience Designer Michael Leggett illustrates the team's M.O.:

"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 rush to close my browser or unplug the Internet - but Gmail almost always wins that race."

Enabling the Undo Send option gives the user a scant five seconds to let wiser heads prevail. The catch is that Undo Send doesn't kill an email that's already been sent, but instead just holds the message while the five-sec clock ticks down.

To this reporter, that doesn't sound like enough time to dismiss an ill-sent email - but Leggett claims that even just five seconds does the trick for him and already has saved him several times.

Undo Send was developed by Yuzo Fujishima, a Google engineer in the company's Tokyo office.

Gmail users can switch on Undo Send in Gmail Labs under settings. The rest is pretty easy - if you're quick:

1) Click 'enable' on GMail Labs tab in settings.

2) Author regrettable email message.

3) Realize you've made a big mistake within five seconds.

4) OH %&@# OH %&@# OH %&@# ...phew!

5) Atone for your wicked, wicked ways.

Follow this link to enable Gmail's five-second grace period. ®

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