If you haven’t heard, Google has a new feature to prevent people from sending late-night drunken emails. Good to know the Labs works  hard on things  whose value is mere publicity hype.

Called Mail Goggles, though it’s actually meant to IMPEDE the drunk’s vision of the world, the feature allegedly ensures a person is of sound enough mind to send an email. It proffers a series of math problems, to be completed correctly within a short set amount of time, before it allows the message to go through.

The whole thing, while good for a laugh, is silly:

  • I had a coworker in college who could edit news copy while drunk. He’d always find an error that a sober person had written, no matter now many Three Wise Men or dollar drafts he’d had. So solving math problems wouldn’t be that big an impediment to users with a calculator.
  • You have to personally enable and set the feature ahead of time. But no one ever PLANS to drunk-message or drunk-call; it just happens.
  • Mail Goggles is only active on late weekend nights. So it’s not going to help the person who really needs this feature: The perpetual lush.

I do think such a feature would make more sense for SMS. After all, you keep your phone with you while bar-hopping, and it’s a lot easier (not to mention more likely) to dash off a late-night text than it is to stumble home, turn on your computer, wait for it to boot, and start sending emails to ex-paramours.

But there IS one thing that Mail Goggles might be good for: Preventing spam. There are studies that show when spam is most often sent (for the life of me, I can’t remember, but it was something like between 3 and 5 in the morning on certain weekdays). Mail Goggles could be activated by Google during those times, preventing robots from sending mass unwanted emails.

They could even call it Marketing Goggles.

Eydie Cubarrubia, Marketing Communications Manger, mobileStorm

“I’d rather you text me” (while sober)