I heard that Google added an “undo” to their send button. How can
that work? I thought you said that once you send an email it’s out of
(This is anticipatory – I expect people to be asking.)
I stand by that statement: GMail’s “undo send” is not really an
“undo” at all. It’s certainly helpful, but it’s not what you might
The undo send feature, which you’ll find in Settings -> Labs, is really more like a “delay before sending” feature. When enabled, it “holds on” to your email for 5 seconds before the email is really sent.
That’s all the time you have to rethink your send.
After that time has elapsed, there is no undo.
It works because GMail doesn’t actually send your mail for 5 seconds. They’re holding on to it before sending it, in case you want to change your mind.
This is actually very similar to a technique mentioned by Outlook users, where you can set up a rule to delay the send of a message by some amount of time. Change your mind within that time, and you can stop Outlook from sending your message.
But I do have to reiterate, once your email has actually been sent, there’s no way to “undo” it; there’s no way to get it back.
(OK, a caveat for the pedants: some corporate email systems – where everyone is on the same mail system such as Microsoft Exchange – do, sometimes, have the ability for a true “remove it from the recipient’s inbox” undo between users on the same system. But this is not available for internet email or for the average user on the internet.)
So certainly, enable the feature – it’s kinda cool, and has already saved several people from sending erroneous or incomplete messages. But realize what it is, and what it is not.
Think before you send. No matter what.