Gmail ‘Undo Send’: Is This Really Useful at All?

Gmail unveiled a new “Undo Send” feature in its Labs menu this week. When I saw the announcement about it yesterday, I quickly shrugged and moved on. I’ve since been surprised to see how much glowing coverage the feature has inspired across the blogosphere.

“Undo Send” is great in theory: Once you activate it, Gmail adds an option onto the sent mail confirmation screen that lets you grab back a message before it goes out. We’ve all hit “send” and then realized we messed something up, right? So wouldn’t that addition be a nice way to backtrack?

Gmail Undo Send

Of course. But Gmail’s “Undo Send” gives you only five seconds to hit the panic button and reclaim the e-mail. I don’t know about you, but my odds of catching a post-send error in five seconds aren’t high.

If Gmail wants to give you an option to grab back a message, it needs to increase the delay by a bit more than that. I’d say 30 seconds would be the minimum for the feature to have any use whatsoever. People who want their e-mails sent instantly can leave the option off, but if you enable an “Undo Send” feature, you presumably accept the slight delay that comes with it.

“Undo Send” is a good idea, but I struggle to see how often it’ll prove useful in its current incarnation.