After six years of tinkering at Gmail Labs, the Google wizards on Monday rolled out a cure for the ultimate workplace foot-in-mouth syndrome.

Undo Send, a feature now available to all Gmail users, allows you to cancel an email up to 30 seconds after pushing it out into the universe--as long as you don’t experience connection issues or navigate away from the page.

The feature has been available for experimentation in Labs for six years, but now the rest of us can change our settings for a chance to retrieve that typo we noticed at the last second.

Here’s how it works: You type up a snarky response to a co-worker’s email and, instead of forwarding it to your buddy in graphics, you hit "Reply" and sent it right back to said co-worker. But if the Undo Send feature is enabled, you’ll see this:

 inline image

Quick, do not pass Go, do not collect $200--click "Undo" and you’ll be saved countless awkward kitchen interactions or, even worse, professional consequences. The original recipient will remain completely ignorant of your mistake--they won’t even receive a retrieval notification, as they would in Outlook.

Essentially, Google delays sending your email until you: 1) navigate away, 2) click "Undo," or 3) exceed your pre-determined time limit of five, 10, 20, or 30 seconds.

Careful, though--even clicking "View message" counts as navigating away from the page, and you’ll lose the chance to undo. Google also cautions that if you have connectivity issues, you may not be able to retrieve your message in time.

Since you never know when you’re going to need this feature, drop everything now and go change your settings:

  • In Gmail, click the gear in the upper right corner below your profile picture to access Settings.
  • Under the General tab, check the box next to "Enable Undo Send" and use the dropdown to customize your cancellation period to five, 10, 20, or 30 seconds.

But really, why would you choose anything less than 30 seconds? Hopefully we’ve all learned our lesson about sending nasty work emails, but next time your emotions get the best of you, causing you to bang out a prickly reply, there’s still a chance to save yourself--if you think fast.