Prevent Yourself from Sending Emails in Gmail

A Feature That's No Longer Available

Red signal sign of stop
Kiyoshi Noguchi / Getty Images

:In 2008, Google Labs began a bold experiment to save us from ourselves. The experiment was called Mail Goggles.

Let's say it's really late, or it's really early, and maybe there are other things going on or maybe not. In any case, you're definitely not thinking clearly. So what's the best thing to do? Compose and send emails! NOT.

These emails sent when you're not your full sharp self can be disastrous, of course. Gmail cannot stop you from typing them, but it can refuse, through the magic of Mail Goggles, to send them unless you've demonstrated your clear head and mathematical (if not email) acumen.

A Great Idea That Is No More

Alas, Mail Goggles has been discontinued and is no longer available.

How Google Could Prevent You from Sending Gmails While You're Not Clear-Headed 

Here's how it used to work:

To have Gmail stop you from sending emails when you are not thinking clearly:

  • Click the Settings gear in your Gmail.
  • Select Settings from the menu that comes up.
  • Go to Labs.
  • Make sure Enable is selected for Mail Goggles.
    • You can find Mail Goggles faster by starting to type "goggles" under Search for a lab:.
  • Click Save Changes.

By default, Gmail would now pop up reasonably difficult math questions together with a countdown timer Friday and Saturday night between 10 pm and 4 am. Solve the problems in time, and you could send the message.

Here's How You Could Make Changes or Adjustments to Mail Goggles

To make Gmail check your clear head at other times or change the puzzles' difficulty:

  • Click the Settings gear in Gmail.
  • Select Settings from the menu.
  • Go to General.
  • Pick the desired days and time interval under Mail Goggles:.
  • Choose the desired math problem difficulty under Difficulty.
    • 5 uses multiplication and division more.
  • Click Save Changes.

And Now, Without Mail Goggles

You are free to compose and send whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want, unburdened by the clarity of thought or emotion. We urge you, however, to consider self-restraint.