Google Goggles

I am one to openly laud Google. Most recently I’ve praised the company for Chrome, their new web browser. I’m also loving Google Reader—it’s by far the best way to read blogs, RSS feeds, and websites that you check or refresh on a daily basis.

It’s often the smaller touches that make Google memorable. Just the other day I learned about a function you can enable in Gmail that allows you to do what many drunken youths wish they had the coherence to do: Not send that drunken e-mail to your ex-girlfriend, guy you just met, stuffy professor, or idiotic boss.

If you have Gmail, go to Settings/Labs. Halfway down, you’ll see something called Mail Goggles. It comes with a short explanation: “Mail you send late night on the weekends may be useful but you may regret it the next morning. Solve some simple math problems and you’re good to go. Otherwise, get a good night’s sleep and try again in the morning.”

Then you set a time period for when you want this to take affect. The next time you try to send an e-mail—any e-mail, not just a drunken e-mail—within a certain time range, Gmail will prompt you with a short series of timed math problems. If you don’t get them right fast enough, Gmail won’t let you send that e-mail that you’re going to regret in the morning. Not unless you have the presence of mind to disable the Goggle setting.

I think Google should take this a step further. Have you ever written an angry e-mail to someone—again, maybe a family member, ex-girlfriend, boss, or coworker—when you probably should have waited to simmer down a bit? Gmail should have a setting where it detects a key number of angry words in an e-mail you’re about to send. Before the e-mail goes to your outbox, Gmail would inform you that it had detected an spiteful e-mail and would offer to hold it for a few hours before sending it. You could then click “Yes, I’d like some time to calm down” or “No, send the damn e-mail.” This could save a lot of relationships and jobs.

Until Gmail adds a Simmer Down app, just make sure to wear your Google Goggles.