It's a funny conversation piece, sure, but Gmail Labs' Mail Goggles feature may be one of the least useful options introduced to the service. Designed to keep you from sending messages you'll regret the next morning, Mail Goggles makes you answer a couple of simple math problems before your e-mails will be delivered during late-night hours. Being that you're at a computer, though, you'd have to be pretty inebriated not to be able to find the calculator function and get past the guard.
2. E-Mail Addict
I'm plenty familiar with the idea of e-mail addiction, but Gmail Labs' E-Mail Addict option isn't exactly like rehab. EA, as the kids call it, blocks out your screen and makes you invisible for 15 minutes once you click it on. All you have to do to get around it, though, is hit refresh. This one's nice for its novelty and amusement factor, but its practical application is pretty limited.
3. Undo Send
File this one under "great idea, less than stellar execution": Gmail Undo Send, as you might imagine, allows you to stop a message from going through after you've hit the "Send" button. It sounds useful enough, but here's the problem: You only have a five-second window to use it. When it comes to realizing you've made a mistake in e-mail, five seconds isn't much. Add some extra padtime (or, better yet, the option to specify how much padtime you want), and Undo Send would be brilliant.
4. Suggest More Recipients
Suggest More Recipients will present you with a list of extra people you might want to include every time you're sending a new message. It bases its suggestions on which people you contact most often. I guess if you randomly like adding people onto recipient lists for no apparent reason, this might be for you. Otherwise, it'll just be an added annoyance on your screen.
5. Random Signature
Presumably voted in its high school yearbook as "least likely to succeed," Random Signature appends a random quote onto the end of every e-mail you send. Unless you enjoy including proverbs you didn't even select at the end of every message -- which I'm sure is something your friends and colleagues adore about as much as the 50 "inspirational" e-mails you forward them every week -- you may want to steer clear of this one.
To be fair, these Gmail Labs features are meant to be experimental, and they can't all be winners. And hey, maybe my least favorite features are the ones you like best. (Come on, though: Mail Goggles? Is anyone actually using that past the initial one-time checking-it-out-and-laughing point?)
The bigger question, perhaps, is what Gmail Labs is missing. I, for one, would love the ability to reorder mailboxes based on different criteria -- to sort messages by sender, for example, or by ascending date.
Got a wish of your own? Leave it in the comments section below. Just be sure to take off your Mail Goggles before you type. Those things make you look plain goofy.
Connect with JR Raphael on Twitter (@jr_raphael) or via his Web site, jrstart.com.