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Culture & Religion

Will Gmail’s “Unsend” Button Completely Paralyze You?

We've lived for so long having to live with and accept our email blunders. Who of us will choose to take back control, and enable the undo button? Not me.

Google has sent down a savior to fix our email blunders: the unsend button.


It’s a new feature straight from Google Labs, being rolled out to most Gmail account holders (the full rollout will take two weeks). Users will have to enable the feature themselves in order for it to work (you can find it under ”settings” after you click on the cog wheel). After enabling it, users will have five to 30 seconds to unsend their email. No more will people have to suffer the Kübler-Ross model of grief of replying all when you meant to just reply, or noticing a last-minute flub in grammar after you sent that cover letter.

But this feature could throw a wrench into a system most of us have come to accept, which is: Once it’s out there, you can’t take it back. Isha Aran echoes this same feeling in her article on Fusion, writing that “installing an ‘unsend’ feature on Gmail will only throw a wrench in the natural order of emailing.”

In my own life the lack of an unsend button has been a saving grace for my neurotic mind. Important emails have been sent under the impression that there’s no turning back after this moment. On occasion, after spending hours on fine-tuning a resume or cover letter, I’ve asked someone else to push the button. Now they’ll also have to hold me back from undoing what they’ve done for 30 seconds, too? For the sanity of my friends as well as myself, I’m not going to enable it.

I’d like to think The New York Times columnist Adam Bryant would agree. He explains how problematic email can be to productivity, and having an unsend button would only add to the amount of time some of us would waste flip-flopping between send and unsend.

Read Isha Ara’s views on the unsend button on Fusion.

Photo Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/ Getty Images


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