CIO Symmetry

Oct 10 2008   1:53PM GMT

Google Goggles may prevent work email regret

Kristen Caretta Kristen Caretta Profile: Kristen Caretta

Google has introduced its new Mail Goggles – and I love the idea.

The application, once enabled, will check your mental clarity by making you solve math problems after clicking send; then, if you can’t solve the problems, the email doesn’t go through. The default settings make Mail Goggles only active late night on the weekends but are completely adjustable. According to the Google Blog, the late-night default settings are there because “that is the time you’re most likely to need it.” The buzz centers around the midnight drunk emailer, the person who comes home and just has to send the ex an “I miss you” email because all those beers really made everything seem so clear — the email equivalent to “drunk dialing.”

OK, that’s one scenario. But it can provide professional protection as well.

Think about it: Maybe you weren’t pummeled by pints on a Tuesday night; instead, you were working late finishing up a project … alone. You’re at your wits’ end, feeling underappreciated. Upset, frustrated, angry – you decide that you’re going to send an email to your boss (or your co-worker … or whoever will listen at this point). In the heat of the moment, you draft a passionate email and hit the send button – and you’re prompted with math questions. After an attempt at ratios and long division, suddenly, maybe you’re not that upset after all. No harm done, the email is cancelled and you aren’t haunted by the ghosts of emailers’ regret as your passive-aggressive words slip away into cyberspace.

With email being the main form of communication within many companies, people in the organization have to be more aware of their emotions in stressful situations. Why? The online disinhibition effect: People behave with less restraint on the Internet than in real-world situations.

This is obvious in some of the email horror stories I’ve read and heard. What about you? Any “friend of a friend” email tales of regret?

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