Undo for sending in Gmail

Google Blogoscoped runs this post speculating about an “undo” option for Gmail.  I’ve touched this topic some time ago in my “You can’t recall an email” post.  The base for that post of mine was purely technical.  What is sent is sent, and there is no way to get it back.

With another look on this issue, I see that technical side can be controlled to a certain degree.  Webmail providers (such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, etc), can indeed delay the outgoing message by a few seconds.  Countdowns and disappearing buttons aren’t an issue either – we have plenty of technology these days (AJAX, Flash) to implement them.  And there is a certain demand for the functionality too – this can be judged by all those browser plugins and extensions, like the one mentioned in the Blogoscoped article.

Still, I’m standing on the side of “don’t do it”.  I think it’ll add to the confusion of the interface and the complexity of the system, without too much benefits in return.  I don’t think that we should have an “undo” for everything either.   And I think that the old way of “sorry, forgot to attach this document” works pretty well and sometimes makes people to actually read through and think over again about what is that they are planning to send out.

What do you think?  Would you like to see an “undo sending” button in your email client?

2 thoughts on “Undo for sending in Gmail”

  1. Lenia,

    In my opinion, “Undo Send” option might be very useful : sometimes it is not about the forgotten attachment but about sending a message to the wrong person or forwarding the message withought deleting the unnecessary (or secret) contents of the original message/ address etc.

    Here, I’m talking on you favorite subject – privacy.

  2. Lana,

    I think that it won’t solve the problem. If now you want to two seconds after you clicked “Send”, then with “undo” button available, you’ll want to undo two seconds after the “undo” operation is not available anymore. :)

    I’ve seen it before, and I guess that’s just the human nature – we often think about consequences only after the action has been done and cannot be undone anymore…

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