Ever accidentally sent a steamy e-mail to your mom instead of your girlfriend or blasted off a nasty e-mail to your boss you instantly regretted? Well, the folks at Google can’t take away your embarrassment or get your job back, but they can now help you avoid the problem in the future.
People with Gmail accounts now have the option to “unsend” an email message. Once you enable the option on your account, you have a five-second grace period (Gmail essentially delays email delivery for that short time on your account). The theory is that five seconds would be enough time to catch most of those regrettable e-mails.
In announcing the new option, a Google writer said, “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 e-mail the birthday girl that I can't make her surprise party.… An e-mail to the wrong Larry pushed me over the edge. I could undo just about any other action in Gmail -- why couldn’t I undo 'send'?”
Yuzo Fujishima (an engineer in the Google Tokyo office) came up with the new option. Turn on "Undo Send" in Gmail Labs under Settings, and you’ll see a new “Undo” link on every sent mail confirmation. Click “Undo,” and Gmail will grab the message before it’s sent and take you right back to compose.