Gmail To Launch New ‘Undo Send’ Button
Gmail is to launch an ‘undo send’ feature which will allow users to effectively take back email they have sent in error. If you’ve ever accidentally hit reply-all on an email to friends or colleagues, or sent a message that has left you red faced with spelling mistakes while rushing, then the new button may help to curb your embarrassment.
The feature is being made a standard part of the online Gmail email service and will help you to avoid accidental email situations or a talking to from your boss. The ‘undo send’ option can be turned on from the settings menu on Gmail and it will enable a cancellation period to be set. This can be five, 10, 20 or 30 seconds after an email has sent been sent and during this time the user can retrieve the accidental message. The feature doesn’t technically call back email, but actually holds it back for the predetermined time set by the user. If the button to undo send isn’t pressed within the timeframe, then it will be sent as usual and it will be too late to undo.
The ‘undo send’ button has been available in the settings of Gmail’s experimental Labs but it is to become a permanent feature on the full Gmail site. It was recently added to the Inbox email app for smartphones, creating a useful tool for those who have fallen victim to autocorrect or spellcheck misinterpreting what they were trying to say.
Gmail has 900 million active users, but many of them may not have used the experimental Labs and so it’s likely that they don’t know the feature exists. The Gmail unsend button has been part of Labs for over five years, but in making the button a permanent fixture, more people will be able to make use of it.
Google executive Sundar Pichai said in May that 75% of Gmail users use their mobile devices to access their emails. In order to be able to unsend emails, they need to install the Inbox app rather than using the mobile website, Gmail app or native email apps on their smartphone.
Response to the new feature has been positive, with many users saying that they can’t believe an email client hasn’t integrated this feature before now. While some call for a longer timeframe in which to call back emails (suggestions have ranged from five minutes to 24 hours), this would prove unhelpful for most- all email would be held by the server for the specified time and so urgent messages wouldn’t arrive with the recipient until the next day. It has been pointed out that Outlook (previously Hotmail) did make this feature available to users briefly in the 1990s, but it has since only been available for emails being sent to an Outlook Exchange Server, such as within a corporate network.
The Labs experiments have been described by Gmail as a testing ground for experimental features. These experiments can be tested out by Gmail users and if they are successful then graduate to becoming part of the main Gmail web experience. There are some great features that are available as part of Labs but not on the official Gmail site. The Authentication icon for verified senders can show icons next to genuine emails from eBay and other companies that are often faked. The Canned Responses feature allows users to create their own common replies and access them from buttons within the Gmail email reply form. The Auto-advance setting allows users to advance onto the next email thread once the current one has been deleted, archived or muted without having to return to the inbox, while the custom keyboard shortcuts feature allows for keys to be assigned to Gmail tasks to make navigating through the inbox easily.
The ‘undo send’ button will be available for all users shortly and will appear in the General tab of the Settings menu which is accessed through the cog button at the top right hand corner of the Gmail web app. The option can be turned on by ticking a box and a timeframe of up to 30 seconds can be chosen from a drop down menu.