I really like Gmail because it makes email much less annoying. But I’ve been thinking about a feature that I really want in Gmail: I want the ability to delay sending replies/emails until a certain time or date. As a computer science person, here’s how I’d turn that one feature into three features:
- The “Oops” filter. Have you ever hit send on an email at the exact same time that you noticed a typo? Or did you ever get “emailer’s regret” because you sent a snarky or angry email instead of polite one? The “oops” filter would let you delay sending email for a short while (two minutes if you suffer from typo-itis, longer if you tend to flame in emails) until you’re sure you want to send that email.
- Slow down a conversation. If you’re like me, you treat your inbox as a to-do list. And if I can deal with an email in a minute or two, I often do. Then the other person writes back quickly. Then I write back quickly. Before you know it, you’ve traded several emails that you didn’t need to. If someone emails me a non-critical email, sometimes it would be nice to write a reply immediately, but set the email to wait for a few hours before heading to the other person.
- Periodic events. If I know that I’m going to need to collect data from someone at the end of the week or quarter, why can’t I write the email now and set it to ping them when the time is up? If someone says “this bug will be fixed in three weeks,” it would be great to write a “Hey, how’s that bug going?” email and set it to tickle or ping them in three weeks.
Part of me wonders whether the Greasemonkey API for Gmail could do something like this, maybe by storing the date to send an email as some sort of special tag. Part of me wonders whether someone has already created something like this for Gmail.