Prevent drunken emails with Mail Goggles

Google introduced a new Labs feature named Mail Goggles. If you turn it on, on late night weekends, the feature will ask you to perform some math problems before you can send an email. We’re not sure how widespread a problem drunk emailing is, but maybe the delay will allow you to sober up and realize when you’re about to CC your entire company on a rant about your boss, or your adventures with the cute guy or girl in the office. It’s enabled for late nights on the weekends, but once you’ve turned it on, you can adjust the time in the General settings.


  1. spadefinger says:

    it does nothing for those of us who drink on no ones schedule but our own. and only a novice drinker can’t do basic math when inebriated. <> “for lightweights only” <>

  2. Simon says:

    I think this is a great idea! Though I would not use time to decide when to question the sender.

    Why not, for example, look for keywords in the email? This would of course require allowing google access to emails but it would only be machine reading it, as I think it does anyway (to serve adds etc.) This way, it could question the sender if they repeatedly use angry or emotional words, as well as if they are sending to multiple recipients. Speaking of which, the user could select which users (e.g. Groups) should raise questions before sending (formal recipients e.g. the boss) and which should not (friends).

    Analyzing both the words used in the email, and who the recipient(s) are/is, this could be an extremely useful feature, and could save a lot of embarrassment!

  3. paul says:

    simon, why stop there!? if you’re going to profile email, you may as well make it “smart” with the ability to generate emails for you based upon the aggregate information of the recipient, mutual calenders, and “to-do” lists.
    once you have a reasonable data pool, you can make a fortune off targeted advertising and match-making technology for finding suitable mates. From there you can breed a more intelligent species based upon past aggregate mail goggle scores, matching low scorers with infertile partners (determined by their search history researching artificial insemination and adoption programs.)

  4. Adam says:

    If I was using this I think I would be smart enough, when drunk, to go into the options and disable it just so i could send the email. It would be easier than trying to figure out some math problems in the time given, that is assuming I was completely wasted.

  5. amk says:

    hmm sparkfun sell a cheap BAC sensor that might be used to prevent surfing under the influence. in fact i see a very nice practical joke developing here…

  6. hi! says:

    maybe this could be on a steering wheel to prevent drunk drivers

  7. Jason says:

    I’m an engineer student… this doesn’t prevent anything.

  8. J says:

    Just put a check box that says “drunk” at the bottom and drop it in the comedy folder if checked.

    That only works if you’re honest when you’re drunk though.

  9. bigk101 says:

    Well slow me down ! Finally , a way to curb office embarrassment ! Thank you very much !

  10. drunken programmer says:

    I have friends who could not answer simple algebra problems stone cold sober…

    I wonder what Hawkins questions would look like:

    Prove the 4 color problem

    Prove Fermat’s last theorem

    Simplify Remmans conjecture.

  11. EE-student says:

    lol, take *that* a step further: When you want to turn it on, it makes you take an IQ test. That way google knows whether to make you solve some simple math like 3+5 or find the next 10million-digit prime number.

  12. Skeat says:

    I think I would just be smart enough to bust out my iPhone and email via gmail or use the calculator on it. It wouldn’t stop me. Not that I have this problem.

    @ee-student: good call

    @hi: It’s just like a key to a drunk driver. It’ll only slow them down.

  13. Wolvenmoon says:

    “Find the value of X, arrange variables alphabetically”


  14. adam b says:

    does anyone else do math better when drunk?

  15. hmong guy says:

    im hmong i can do math in my dreamz this wont help at all.

  16. chris says:

    completely stupid, and such an insult to label all gmail users as people who drink. not everyone drinks, morons.

  17. Mudclopsz says:

    I agree, this is an interesting “tool”, but like spadefinger said this would only really be effective towards lightweights and female drinkers would tend to C.U.I. (Compute Under the Influence.

  18. HI looks very interesting! bookmarked your blog. john brightman

  19. Bobin Sampson says:

    What about me? I shoot heroin into my eyeballs. No way I could do math unless someone is reading to me.

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