New GMail System Helps Prevent Email Embarrassment

Share this article

email embarrassmentFor all it’s convenience, email is a dangerous medium. It’s 9pm Friday night. You’re moaning to your friends about working late and click send without thinking. Monday morning arrives and there’s a “Did you mean to send this message to me?” email sitting in your inbox. From your boss. Oops!

A new GMail feature might help you. “Got the wrong Bob?” is a Google Labs add-on which analyzes the contact groups you email most often and identifies potential conflicts. For example, if you regularly send messages to Tim, Angela and Bob Smith, a new email to Tim, Angela and Bob Jones will alert you that it might be a mistake:

email embarrassment

The system was devised by Google engineer Yossi Matias:

I often came across messages sent by mistake because Yossi is a common name in Israel.

One was a communication between two people. They were having a conversation about the future of a colleague but had accidentally included him in the emails. So I thought that maybe we can provide a feature that can recognize this.

“Don’t forget Bob” is a similar add-on which analyzes your send list and highlights recipients you might have missed. To switch on either system:

  1. Log on to GMail and click Settings at the top-right.
  2. Click the Labs tab.
  3. Scroll down to the add-on and click Enable.
  4. Hit Save Changes.

Could this system help you? What was the most embarrassing email you sent to the wrong recipient?

Craig BucklerCraig Buckler
View Author

Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.

emailgmailGoogle Tutorials & Articles
Share this article
Read Next
Get the freshest news and resources for developers, designers and digital creators in your inbox each week
Loading form