Google 'Mail Goggles' Is Latest Frivolous Feature for Gmail

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-10-07 Print this article Print

Everyone in the blogosphere and media is having fun with this one, so I don't want to miss out because this is quite the party feature.

Google Gmail engineer Jon Perlow, who presumably when he was taking a break from working on anything important regarding Gmail, has created Mail Goggles for Gmail.

The feature's name comes from the "beer goggles" syndrome. Perlow has created a feature that lets you practice safe e-mailing, saving you from sending irreverent, vulgar or downright lethal messages that can kill relationships or careers.

When one enables Mail Goggles, it checks whether you really want to send that e-mail by prompting you to solve a few simple math problems after you click "send."

I enabled it through the Google Labs icon and went to test it a little while ago. Mail Goggles is by default only "active late night on the weekend as that is the time you're most likely to need it," Perlow wrote.

As he instructed, I went to General settings and saw that Mail Goggles was enabled from 10 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

I checked the box for Tuesday and switched the start time from 6 p.m. and set the difficulty rating to the highest, 5. I saved and tried to send a message and got a pop-up box, noting: "It's that time of day. Gmail aims to help you in many ways. Are you sure you want to send this? Answer some simple math problems to verify."

I had one minute to answer the problems, but let the minute lapse, only to see a new set of problems to answer and this message: "Oops, looks like your reflexes are a little slow. Try again." I filled in the answers, making sure to get one wrong and saw: "Water and bed for you. Or try again."

I'll take the water and bed, please. No seriously, answer the questions correctly and you can hit "send." It worked.

Mail Goggles will definitely appeal to university and college users. I would have loved this utility a decade ago, but there's no question I get more bang from the swath of Gmail features Google added in June from its Labs.

But let's face it: When was an e-mail app ever this much fun? Never. Sometimes there's no fault finding in a few good laughs. Gmail continues to amuse even as it gets more productive. I'm disabling Mail Goggles now, but it's nice to know it's there when I need it.


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