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GMail asks, "Got the Wrong Bob?"

Lori Halley 14 October 2009 3 comments

Auto-complete is a convenient and time-saving email feature, but click too carelessly and auto-complete can be a quick route to email embarrassment. Who among us has not accidentally sent an email to the wrong recipient, at least once?  GMail Labs to the rescue!

Gmail has just turned out a handy little experimental feature — “Got the Wrong Bob?” — that may save you a few career-crippling incidents, or at the very least some cringes and apologies.

Useful? Maybe not every day, but just imagine that one slip of the mouse when you accidentally include your old college pal Bob Smith in the list of email recipients for the draft annual report, instead of emailing it to the Vice President, Bob Jones:

If you’re emailing more than two people at once, Gmail will check if you meant to include Bob Smith rather than Bob Jones based on the groups of people you email most often.

screenshot of GMail contact suggestion

If you want to test “Got the wrong Bob?” out, try faking a mistake like this:

  1. Think of three people you often email together.
  2. Compose a message to two of them.
  3. Start typing the third member of the group (for help you can use one of the people we suggest in “Don’t forget Bob”), but then auto-complete on the wrong name.

GMail Labs has also changed the rather boringly named “Suggest a Recipient” feature to “Don’t Forget Bob” since the two features are clearly complementary.

The “Don’t Forget Bob” feature gets Gmail to suggest names from your contacts you might want to include when you email to a group of people. For example, if you usually email your project updates to all of your Board members and you forget to include the VP this week, you’ll get a nudge to check if the omission was intended.

To enable “Don’t Forget Bob,” “Got the Wrong Bob?” or any other of the surprisingly useful experimental features in Gmail Labs, just login to your Gmail account and click the Labs tab under Settings. You can try out a Labs feature simply by clicking the Enable radio button — then, if it’s not for you, disable it again just as easily.

Got an email horror story to get off your chest, where "Got the Wrong Bob?" could have saved your bacon?

Are there other GMail Labs features that you find especially helpful?

Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 14 October 2009 at 7:46 PM


  • Twitter Trackbacks for Wild Apricot Blog : GMail asks, "Got the Wrong Bob?" [wildapricot.com] on Topsy.com  said:

    Thursday, 15 October 2009 at 4:51 AM
  • Catherine said:

    Monday, 19 October 2009 at 4:21 AM

    Just did!  I sent a personal note to the whole mailing list of FON; that's the Friends of Nigeria - former Peace Corps Volunteers in Nigeria.  Luckily it wasn't really personal, as in embarrassing, but still, a bother for those who will get it and not want it!

  • Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

    Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] said:

    Monday, 19 October 2009 at 5:38 AM

    Catherine, ouch! But I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who can make good use of "Got the Wrong Bob?" - and that your email "oops" wasn't an embarrassing one!

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