A neat tool quietly rolled into Gmail

Google surprise: A neat tool quietly rolled into Gmail

There’s something nifty in a popular Google product, even if you don’t know it’s there.

Gmail attachment checker

Despite my not-always-positive views of the Google, overall I do think they are a remarkable company. One of the great value assets is their ability to create really useful software applications.

Gmail, the popular google version of email on the web, aka: webmail, is one such application. In Gmail, when you write an email, and mention an attachment to your recipient, the webmail application checks the message to see if there is in fact a file attached. That way, you don’t accidentally send without the file you intended to attach.

Here’s an example of what it looks like, from inside a Gmail account:

google gmail file attached checker feature

You’ll see a screen similar to this (minus my in-signature cartoon) when you forget to attach a file in your gmail message.

Try it for yourself. Compose a new mail in your Gmail. Write “attach” or “attachment” or “attached” in an email that you send to any of your contacts (or to yourself if you don’t have anything to send anyone). Don’t attach any file. Hit Send. You’ll see the screen get darker and a window pops up and says:

  • Did you mean to attach files?
  • You wrote “attached file” in your message, but there are no files attached. Send anyway?

And then it offers you to “Cancel” – go back to the message to attach the file you want to include, or “Send Anyway” – without an attachment.

Now, it is a little silly to call the “go back to the message” button “Cancel”. Why not just label the button “Go back to message to add attachment(s)” ? or just “Attach” and make it go straight to the file attachment facility? I don’t know. I guess they have a reason for it, like, the software engineers don’t know how to communicate plain English so fluently now that Marissa Mayer has moved over to Yahoo! All the same, it is a brilliant and handy little feature, ensuring a higher quality experience when sending email from your Gmail account.

So there you have it.  If you already use Gmail, I hope that you enjoy this useful built-in feature.  And I publicly applaud Google for this great tiny evolution of webmail. I hope other email and webmail makers include a similar feature in their own applications, sooner rather than later.

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