Testing Google’s Mail Goggles Feature

Posted Oct 7, 2008

Out of all of the random features that find themselves in Google’s GMail Labs, I think Mail Goggles top them all.  Mail Goggles prevents drunk people from sending out incriminating e-mails.  If phone companies can integrate this feature for text messages, then that would be very useful.  I’ve sent out many incoherent text messages in my day, some of them being this past weekend alone.  I even have one friend from studying in the U.S. from Dubai who uses 2 separate phones.  One for going out that has international calling blocked and the other for normal, routine calls.  He just switches the SIM cards between both phones.

“When you enable Mail Goggles, it will check that you’re really sure you
want to send that late night Friday email,” wrote GMail engineer Jon Perlow on the GMail blog. “And what better way to check
than by making you solve a few simple math problems after you click
send to verify you’re in the right state of mind?”

Like all other GMail Labs features, I want to make sure to fully test them out to see how they work.  So here goes…

To enable the feature, log in to your GMail account.  Click on “Settings” and then click on “Labs.”  Scroll to where it says “Mail Goggles” by Jon P and click on Enable.  After clicking on Enable, the Mail Goggles settings will appear under the General Settings tab. 

In order to test it out, I created my settings to ask questions on a difficulty scale of 1 between the times of 12AM – 12AM on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Then I clicked Save Changes.  After that, I clicked Compose Mail and tried writing myself an e-mail.  The questions popped up like a charm.  Intentionally writing a wrong answer, below are the results:

“Water and bed for you.  Or try again.”  Haha very clever, Google!  That is just as funny as a message appearing after uninstalling Google Chrome that says “Is it something we said?”  After answering the right answers, it goes through successfully.  If you successfully answer the questions, then every mail you send after that will go through.

Okay, so how tough are the most difficult questions?  I logged out of GMail and logged back in, then changed the difficulty to 5.  Below are the questions on a difficulty of 5 that I received: basic multiplication, division, longer subtraction, and longer addition.

From a user perspective, this feature is very helpful.  I think I may just keep this feature enabled just in case, but it might be also be a great feature to integrate into the labs of Google Android for text messaging.  E-mail is definetely a great start though.  My applause for the GMail team on creating a feature like this.  I’m sure it is very useful for people.