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June 2015

Google Undo Send: A chance to save face... or your job

Google's announced a new feature for Gmail users: Undo Send. Once enabled, the feature gives you up to 30 seconds to recall an email that you've sent.

GoogleUndoSendIt's not hard to imagine circumstances where you might find this helpful, indispensable, or career salvaging:

  • You sent a message to a copy list and only intended to send to one recipient.
  • You sent a message in anger and regret having even composed the message the moment you sent it.
  • You sent a photo that you realize is potentially embarrassing for you or the company, you work for.
  • You send a message to the wrong intended recipient or wish to avoid death by autocompletion.

I'm certain you can add to this list. 

I love the service. I think it's particularly useful for organizations that use Gmail and are thoughtful about mis-delivered mail that contains sensitive information. The problem I foresee is simple:

30 seconds is a relatively short amount of time to reflect upon and react to stupid or hasty, and for some, it's perhaps too short a cool down period once angered.

I suspect that Google's seeking to find a sweet spot for recall that balances Gmail user delivery expectations (mail should arrive almost instantaneously) against resources.  

Perhaps I'm an outlier among Gmail users, but I'd really like at least a full minute of reflection or cool down. But generally, kudos to Google for the feature.


Revenge is a dish best served cold… or at dawn

2:30 a.m.

I snap awake to an unwelcomed conversation from the adjacent room. 

“I’m not drunk… in fact I didn’t have enough to drink!”


“What are you griping about?”

“You’re drunk. You’re always loud when you drink.”

The couple continues, loud and unabated. The woman turns the TV on, imagining or perhaps hoping that no one will hear the argument but while CNN somewhat masks what is now an argument, I’m now fully awake and have no control over the audio.

2:50 a.m.

I call the hotel operator to complain. The operator asks, “Can you speak up or turn down your television?” While a confirmation of sorts, I’m not comforted. I explain that the din is coming from room 626 and ask if she can send security to quiet the couple down.

3:05 a.m.

I hear security arrive. The woman apologizes and 626 goes quiet. Moments later, security knock gently on my door to apologize for the inconvenience.

3:10 a.m.

Sounds emit from the bathroom in 626, suggesting that someone is paying the cost of partying to hearty.

3:25 a.m.

New sounds emit from bathroom in 626: the shower. And moaning.

3:45 a.m.

Room 626 goes quiet.

5:10 a.m.

I stop reviewing the report I had opened at 4:05 a.m., when I gave up trying to return to sleep. I put my iPhone in the cradle of the multifunction clock/radio/music player, open iTunes, find my heavy metal songs list, choose a Metallica track, crank up the volume, head to the shower and close the bathroom door.


5:30 a.m.

I finish my shower, open the bathroom door, and answer the phone.

“Sir, this is security. We’ve received a complaint that you’re playing music too loudly.”

“Oh my. I was taking a shower and forgot that I’d set my alarm. I’m so sorry!”

(Pause) “Well played, sir. Enjoy your day.”

Whether the events I describe in this post occurred as transcribed this morning or are pure fiction is immaterial. Either provide the desired catharsis.