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Sunday, March 15, 2009

'Mail Goggles' for your kids

Yes, you read that title correctly.  You were probably thinking I meant 'Beer Goggles'; the drunken lenses ground by hours of beer consumption that magically makes the last beast left standing in the bar at closing time look like someone you'd really, really like to take home and, well, 'get to know better'.

While completely different animals, there is a tangential relationship between 'Beer Goggles' and 'Mail Goggles' in that they both refer to making foolish choices while drunk.  I know... that still doesn't sound very kid-friendly... let me explain.

A case of Beer Goggles is a self-inflicted condition that can cause severe lapses in judgment ranging from the serious (e.g. 'hooking up' with someone you wouldn't want to wake up with in your worst nightmare), to the benign (e.g. placing wistful phone calls to old flames in the middle of the night). 

It's this latter, relatively benign, phenomenon that the folks at Google had in mind when they named their gmail add-on; 'Mail Goggles'.  This nifty add-on is designed for people who are in the habit of coming home from bars or parties and sending off drunken emails that might be regretted in the light - and sobriety - of the morning.  Such missives might come under one of two general headings: Sappy 'what happened to us' emails to old girlfriends, or angry rants to past (or present) coworkers... or even bosses. 

What 'Mail Goggles' is supposed to do (once installed and activated) is require the gmail user to correctly complete a serious of basic math problems before it will allow any mail to be sent.  I say 'basic' because, let's face it... some of us would have to take off our shoes and count toes to arrive at the correct answer even when sober...  while others could easily tackle such math problems while three sheets to the wind and still in bed, wrestling with the beast from the bar.

Now while I'm pretty sure that my kids don't have a history of sending out drunken emails, I do find that they spend way to much time corresponding with their friends when they should really be doing their chores, cleaning their rooms... and maybe even [gasp] doing homework! 

So I thought to myself, why not add Mail Goggles to their gmail accounts?  That way, before they can send an email to someone, they will at least have to do a couple of short math exercises.  What could be bad?  Right?

[BTW, if you want to see what other neat stuff you can do to trick out your gmail account, click on that tiny green beaker symbol at the top of your gmail page (the one right next to your email address).  The most helpful one I've found so far is the one that moves your signature up to where you actually write your replies in the message format.]

Posted by David Bogner on March 15, 2009 | Permalink

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Gmail makes me crazy. I really don't like the interface. The label system is not nearly as easy to use as folders, or so it seems to me.

Posted by: Jack | Mar 15, 2009 6:13:28 PM

Making kids do math problems before they can send emails... oooh, how sneaky!

Posted by: Rahel | Mar 15, 2009 6:31:43 PM

You mean your teenage kids are obedient enough to not kick Goggles by going to their account settings and disable that option? 0_o

Posted by: a. | Mar 15, 2009 6:39:16 PM

My brother learned to read because noone would tell him the sports scores. I guess this isn't a bad way for the kids to learn to add.

Posted by: Baila | Mar 16, 2009 7:41:44 AM

I have three email addresses and read them al in different programs. One is for my blog and is read in the Microsoft for Mac environment; it is called Entourage in French (not sure what it is in English). One is for most mails and I read them with Mail, the Mac program. The last one is for school and is the only gmail account I have. I have looked into very few options for all of them, least of all the gmail account but guess I should have a look at 'Mail Goggles'; after all it might be useful to double check when you write to your boss and collegues!

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Mar 16, 2009 9:35:12 AM

oh man, this is so not for me! though it might save a few fashlot, it would drive me nuts!!

Posted by: Rivka with a capital A | Mar 16, 2009 3:38:12 PM

tell Zehava to check her email - my brother wants to discuss a project with her
adam at compuplus dot com

Posted by: Gidon Ariel | Mar 16, 2009 11:55:10 PM


Yes, gmail is great and keeps coming up with more and more handy little features. But, I tried in four different browsers and don't see the "tiny green beaker symbol at the top of your gmail page (the one right next to your email address)."! Where is it?!?!

Posted by: Debbie | Mar 26, 2009 3:21:21 PM

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