Advantages of Google Apps’ Gmail: “Undo Send” Saves My Sanity
Do you remember your first email address? Similar to my first kiss, I’m sure I’ll never forget mine: firstname.lastname@example.org. Like so many others in my generation, I first got my own email account with Microsoft’s Hotmail. Although it was my first personal address, technically it wasn’t the first address I ever used – back in 1997, my father shared his account with the rest of the family. But that’s another story.
My hotmail address wasn’t a professional address, and I signed up for everything online with it. So even though it quickly became 95% spam, I loved it and cherished it because it was my own. My sister could no longer read my messages on the family account, I could write whatever I wanted to whomever I wanted without fear or consequences.
Hotmail was easy to use, but not very professional. Obviously businesses could not give their employees hotmail addresses, and so once I started working in the professional internet world, I was quickly burdened by Linux boxes running mail servers.
At my first job there were multiple domains being served by one machine. Although I enjoyed working with computers, trying to understand exactly how email functioned slowly killed me. Configuring and maintaining sendmail.mc was the bane of my email administrator duties. Dovecot kept randomly shutting down, email would lag, and I became way too familiar with maillog.
Every new feature required new software, modified permissions, edits to the firewall, and changes to that damn sendmail.mc file. (The O’Reilly Sendmail book is over 1,000 pages. I tried reading it once, but I fell asleep after the first paragraph.) My “Notes & Tips” file became bloated with email tricks and tips, and I was quick to loose patience when things that had previously been working for years on end all of a sudden stopped working.
One day around late 2005, a friend of mine sent me a link to a beta preview of a new webmail that offered a whooping 1 gigabyte of free storage. Compared to Hotmail offering no more than 4 MB for free, my interest was piqued. I knew the company well, and was excited to see what kind of services it could offer.
It wasn’t love at first site, but boy did it grow on me.
Undo Send – My Favorite Labs Tool
Today, my love for Gmail is unparalleled. Gmail Labs have saved my life more than once, particularly the ‘undo send’ feature. I probably use it more than once a week, often times for silly things like forgetting to include a recipient, wanting to add a word or two, or sending from the wrong address, but once in a while it truly saves my backside. It’s weird how sometimes you don’t think about what you’re sending until after hitting the ‘send’ button. Just last week, a colleague of mine did a very unfortunate reply to an entire email distribution list, instead of just one person in that list. It was an embarrassing message, and the only thing she could do was send another message right after, excusing herself for the content of the previous email. If it weren’t for the undo send feature, I would have done that same mistake at least twice in the past year, replying to ‘all’ instead of just one person with some sensitive information.
Want to add Undo Send to your gmail? Follow these steps:
- Go to your Gmail settings. (Click the cog wheel in the top right of gmail, then choose settings.)
- Click the Labs tab at the top of the page. (Or just click here)
- Scroll down and click the Enable button next to “Undo Send by Yuzo F.”
- Make sure you keep scrolling down and click “Save Changes.”
Of course, undo send wont let you undo forever. You have a few seconds to hit the ‘undo’ button. Gmail acts like it sends the email, but doesn’t actually deliver it to the recipient until after a few seconds. If you click undo, it never delivers it, and returns it to you for editing. If you don’t do anything, or if you close gmail, it will deliver it normally.
Using Google Apps as an Administrator
The other reason I love Gmail so much is its ease of use when finding an email host for my clients. Google Apps, both for business and the free edition, make setting up a new email account on a custom domain a breeze. No more messing with Sendmail, Dovecot, linux tools, POP3, IMAP, outlook, and understanding complex protocols. When the first company I worked for finally decided to move their email server to the cloud, I was ecstatic. I immediately signed up for the trial of Google Apps, and my managers were so impressed they didn’t think twice about paying for the full year.