Google has been working for years to create a system that allows users to undo the sending of emails, so they can be recalled before reaching the recipient. It’s been a journey driven by the demands of users who all too often hit ‘send’ before they’ve finished writing or attaching files.
Gone in 30 seconds
Now, it appears the Californian web giant has achieved its goal, with the ‘undo send’ option being made available to Gmail users – provided, that is, they act quickly. Account holders now have the option of cancelling emails within five, 10, 20 or 30 seconds. Users can choose whether or not to turn the feature on (and which option to select) in their settings.
Once activated, users will see a yellow bar appear at the top of their screen for the length of time they selected. Text inside the bar reads: “Your message has been sent. Undo. View message.” Clicking on ‘Undo’ will revoke the email, allowing users to amend any mistakes spotted at the last minute. Once the pre-arranged time has elapsed, though, the message will be sent as normal.
If messages are ‘undone’, they will return to the drafts folder for further editing.
Fresh from the lab
Whilst the feature is new for many Gmail users, it’ll be positively old hat for those who have signed up to Google’s experimental labs programme. The ability to undo a ‘sent email’ – along with many others being trialled by the search giant – has been offered to sign-ups so they can test and provide feedback, enabling creases to be ironed out before these innovations hit the wider market.
Gmail users who prefer to send emails from their smartphones and tablets won’t have the same level of protection from mistakenly sent emails, however, as the feature is currently only available to desktop users.