New Gmail Feature Saves You from Email Disasters

did you forget bob gmailEver seen that commercial where two guys are in the office and Guy #1 says to Guy #2, "Hey man, did you know you hit 'Reply all'?" and what ensues is Guy #2 having a massive, embarrassment-fueled meltdown freak out on his co-workers? Yeah ...

Or ever sent an email you meant to send to Kathy (your best friend) raving out about you hate EVERYONE in your office to Kathryn (your co-worker)? Eeek! We've all been there at one time or another. It's just an unfortunate side effect of our modern modes of communication, but now Gmail -- the most intuitive, worthwhile web-based email around -- is trying to save us from ourselves with two new features called "Don't forget Bob" and "Got the Wrong Bob?"


According to the Gmail blog, the features ...

prevent you from making two common mistakes: forgetting to include someone on an email, and sending a message to the wrong person with a similar name to the person you meant to email -- like emailing Bob (your boss) instead of Bob (your friend).

They've actually been around for a while, available if you manually went in and turned them on through Gmail Labs. But now the features have been made permanent by Google and if you haven't noticed them in your inbox already, they should be popping up within the next day or so.

I love the fact that Google wants to throw out this safety net for its users, because yeah, as I said before, we're all prone to the occasional slip-up. But on the other hand, I gotta be honest ... I'm not a huge fan of being constantly second-guessed by my email provider.

If you've used the "Did You Forget Bob" feature, you'll see that when you're typing recipients in, you get suggestions below the "To" box. Like every time I send an email to my boyfriend now, Gmail suggests I "also include" my father, my boyfriend's older brother, his sister-in-law and his childhood buddy. Which is actually kind of strange, because I have never sent an email to that ramshackle group of people. But okay, thanks anyway, Google!

That's why, thankfully, if the features irritate you, and make you feel like you're being babysat by your email ... hmm, that's too bad. As far as I can tell, it's currently impossible to disable the features once they've been rolled out to your account. Some Gmail users are pretty peeved about this, because they hate the "Bobs" and want to opt out. (Reminds me of when we were all automatically opted in to Google's dreadful attempt at social media, Buzz!) So, stay tuned -- hopefully in the coming weeks, Google will prove just how it intuitive it is by allowing users to choose whether or not their email saves them from themselves.

Do you think these email features would be helpful for you? Have you ever embarrassed yourself by sending an email to the wrong person?


Image via Official Gmail blog


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