Google lets Gmail users hit panic button with Undo Send tool

Wish you hadn't sent that Gmail e-mail? If you're quick, you can 'unsend' it

Ever have one of those "oops" moments?

You know, when you hit "send" on that off-color e-mail and suddenly realize that you sent it to your boss instead of your friend. Or when you accidentally "reply to all" when you're joking about how useless an e-mail group is.

Now you might be able to take it back with a feature Google Inc. has added to its Gmail service.

Google's Gmail Labs has created an Undo Send button designed to hold e-mails for five seconds -- but only five seconds -- so the sender can pull them back if necessary.

"My theory (which others shared) was that even just five seconds would be enough time to catch most of those regrettable e-mails," wrote Michael Leggett, Google's user experience designer, in a blog post yesterday. "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 we'll grab the message before it's sent and take you right back to compose."

The Undo Send feature is the latest of several Gmail updates announced by Google over the past few months.

In February, Google announced that Gmail could automatically show the location of e-mail writers. The new Location in Signature feature uses public IP addresses to determine the sender's location. Users who want to keep their locations private can disable the option.

And late in January, Google launched an updated version of Gmail that lets users access their accounts without an Internet connection. The updated service, also developed in the Gmail Labs, will give flight to users who have been wanting to get some work done while on a plane, for instance. Now, even without an Internet connection, users can read e-mail, write new ones and archive others, all while 30,000 feet in the air.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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