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October 7, 2008 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Google rolls out Mail Goggles, designed to prevent drunk or otherwise impaired emailing by forcing you to answer basic math questions. And no, it's not April 1st.
posted by mattholomew (67 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought a high blood alcohol count was required before posting.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:14 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if we ever block drunk MeFi use, my posting history will shrivel up to nothing.
posted by rokusan at 11:14 AM on October 7, 2008


I suck at math and excel in language. Does this mean I can no longer email my friends with snarky, elitist comments?
posted by mitzyjalapeno at 11:18 AM on October 7, 2008


You have got to be kidding me. That is the stupadits thing ever.
posted by cimbrog at 11:21 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


uh - I mean stupidest. I should have waited before posting that.
posted by cimbrog at 11:21 AM on October 7, 2008


Don't worry, someone will make a bot to bypass these in no time. I hope it'll be called gWingman, or iDrinkBuddy.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:22 AM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Countdown to Palin/Yahoo Mail joke in 5...4...3..
posted by mattholomew at 11:23 AM on October 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


An app like this for cellphones which would verbally ask you sobriety test questions before dialing, say, your ex's number would be awesome.
posted by Auden at 11:23 AM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Consider the Lie Algebra of a semisimple algebraic group over a field of characteristic p, where p is strictly greater than the Coxeter number. Answer the following simple questions about the derived category of D-modules to continue...
posted by Wolfdog at 11:24 AM on October 7, 2008 [15 favorites]


I think I'd have to drunk myself to the point of unconsciousness before I couldn't do basic maths (or at least cut and paste it into a calculator/google itself to solve it for for me)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 11:25 AM on October 7, 2008


New drunk test: rattle off pi to twenty digits. And no, you're not allowed to sing it.
posted by longsleeves at 11:25 AM on October 7, 2008


Don't worry, someone will make a bot to bypass these in no time. I hope it'll be called gWingman, or iDrinkBuddy.

For pure comedy value I prefer the idea of former WoW gold farmers getting paid to solve the problems and translate the drunken ramblings into coherence.
posted by mattholomew at 11:25 AM on October 7, 2008


Great – now they want to know about my drinking habits too.
posted by mandal at 11:26 AM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Positively surreal.
posted by kjh at 11:26 AM on October 7, 2008


If you enable this feature, Google automatically sends you an email saying "You have a problem." And helpfully includes 2,870,000 links to Alcoholics Anonymous sites.
posted by MrVisible at 11:31 AM on October 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


Surely if you can do basic math problems then you have a solid command of what is and is not socially appropriate when it comes to late night email.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 11:32 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


An app like this for cellphones which would verbally ask you sobriety test questions before dialing, say, your ex's number would be awesome.

In the future, you'd just check for vascular dilation by taking a picture of your face with the phone's built-in 20 megapixel, liquid-lens camera.
posted by griphus at 11:32 AM on October 7, 2008


Wait, this isn't a joke? I got an email forward this morning and thought somebody was just trying to be clever...
posted by Space Kitty at 11:35 AM on October 7, 2008


Oh...uh... sorry , man.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:35 AM on October 7, 2008


First time one of my high-school friends got rip-roaring drunk, he spouted trig identities and did calc - integrals, even - in his head.



Right up to a minute before he filled the hallway with puke.



And started playing slip'n'slide in it.
posted by notsnot at 11:43 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Surely if you can do basic math problems then you have a solid command of what is and is not socially appropriate when it comes to late night email

Not really. Drinking seems to lower inhibitions more than it lowers other abilities such as math skills, and at least for me it never lowers my math skills enough that I would fail this. I've been able to do relatively complicated mental math around calculating tips and splitting bills after a significant amount of drinking, for example. A test that measured reflexes and/or coordination would probably be more effective.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:45 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


How does it affect the ability to perceive sarcasm, do you think?
posted by Wolfdog at 11:46 AM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


In totally unrelated news, all outgoing correspondence from the White House will now be sent via mail, fax, or telegram.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:48 AM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


If there was some way to prevent me from looking at my outgoing emails when I'm high, I would appreciate it, because, man, I look at them and think, jeez, am I EVER AN IDIOT.

Sober, the emails seem perfectly innocuous.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:50 AM on October 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


If you're emailing a mathematical proof will it ask you literary or philosophical questions instead? There should also be an option to disable calculator during the hours that Mail Goggles runs.
posted by Rafaelloello at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2008


The last time I got drunk enough to embarrass myself, I successfully had a conversation about polyrhythms. I don't remember any of the content, but I do remember how amazed I was that I could still pronounce polyrhythm. I am pretty sure I can still do arithmetic drunk, but I have a very hard time calculating the proper tip for a restaurant bill without a pen and paper.
posted by mkb at 11:58 AM on October 7, 2008


New drunk test: rattle off pi to twenty digits. And no, you're not allowed to sing it.

I can only do nine, because that's all my HP-21 used to go up to. 3.141592654
posted by Rafaelloello at 11:59 AM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Drinking seems to lower inhibitions more than it lowers other abilities such as math skills,

Yeah, I had a friend in college who, when drunk, would only ever talk about two things: Thomas Aquinas's epistemology… and his fiancee's hymen.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:00 PM on October 7, 2008


Don't worry, someone will make a bot to bypass these in no time.

But those are easily blockable with a Voight-Kampff test.
posted by brundlefly at 12:01 PM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Ohh!! How about something that still lets you send whatever you want, but purges it and all responses from your mailbox? That way I could still be my same stupid self, I would just never be embarrassed the next day.
posted by Rafaelloello at 12:05 PM on October 7, 2008


I didn't believe this was real, but I looked in my settings, and there it was- a new tab for "Labs". I'm not in need of the Google Goggles, but there are a lot of other nifty things I was able to implement (mark read button, ability to quote selected text in e-mail replies, ability to set beginning and end dates for vacation auto-responder).
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:09 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is is wrong that I'd love to see this implemented 24/7 for Youtube comments?
posted by mandal at 12:10 PM on October 7, 2008 [9 favorites]


I believe this FPP was supposed to go here.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:13 PM on October 7, 2008


An app like this for cellphones which would verbally ask you sobriety test questions before dialing, say, your ex's number would be awesome.

When you break up w/ somebody, just delete their number. Shatty memory trumps drunken loneliness everytime.
posted by LordSludge at 12:14 PM on October 7, 2008


Surely if you can do basic math problems then you have a solid command of what is and is not socially appropriate when it comes to late night email.

Well, I think it's just supposed to make you stop what you're doing for a minute, which is often all you need to realize that you shouldn't really send that email.
posted by inigo2 at 12:23 PM on October 7, 2008


Instead of taking me off the hook when I want to email something I shouldn't, google needs to provide me with an alibi.

"What? No, of course I didn't write that crap about how I'm lost without you."
"No, I don't care what it says, I didn't send it!"
"Look, I couldn't have written it, I was busy closing a multimillion-dollar deal over the right to use my advanced cable system in the space elevator at the time. Here's a letter from that Japanese company on official corporate stationery attesting to the fact."

That would be worth it.
posted by misha at 12:23 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Metafilter needs this.
posted by caddis at 12:26 PM on October 7, 2008


Google should force people to do this all the time. It may improve general math skills. True story: The gas station nearest my house only takes prepayment. Even though I usually want to fill the car up I now have to guess how much will fit.

I prefer to pay for a certain number of gallons since I know how much my car holds. Apparently the system they use only lets them plug in a dollar amount cutoff, not a gallon cutoff.

Since I've been met with ridiculous stares when previously asking for 12 or 13 gallons, I figured this time I'd make it easy:

Me: Hello, I would like 10 gallons of diesel, please.
Attendant: How much?
Me: 10 gallons.
* Attendant gets a calculator and a minute later figures out that $4.51*10 = $45.10
posted by odinsdream at 12:28 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


How about a RMF/Hotornot type "Would I do this person right now?" challenge, where you have previously calibrated all of the photos multiple times while sober, acceptably drunk, and inacceptably drunk? That would work better for me, at least, not only because I'm fairly math-illiterate, but because while drunk, I'd be far more cooperative with pretty faces than with freaking math homework.
posted by K'an at 12:29 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Another feature I never knew they had:

Email Addict
by Michael D

Lets you take a break from email and chat by blocking the screen for fifteen minutes and making you invisible in chat.

posted by caddis at 12:37 PM on October 7, 2008


Where's the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:42 PM on October 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


caddis : Metafilter needs this.

I made my feelings on this subject clear just yesterday. I'm telling you, drunk.mefi; where people could comment in threads, and it would only be visible to others on the subsite, well, it would be huge. I envision it as a sort of textual MST3K but with more alcohol fueled misspellings and tangential derails.

As to Mail Goggles? It's goofy and kind of cute, though I think they would be smart to have a bunch of different kinds of tests other than basic math, because as indicated above, that's not a barrier to drunken entry for some (and difficult for some of us, even when sober.)
posted by quin at 12:56 PM on October 7, 2008


Maverick
posted by mecran01 at 1:04 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Really, I was just kidding, although not that there are not a few comments I regret making over the years.
posted by caddis at 1:04 PM on October 7, 2008


The etymology is all screwed up. Beer Goggles should reformat your incoming email to make it more attractive. Result: "Wow, by helping this person recover his rightful inheritance I can earn thousands!"
posted by exogenous at 1:12 PM on October 7, 2008


Now they need some kind of arm cuff that figures-out your blood pressure so you don't mail in a blind rage.
posted by theManRoom at 1:13 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wonder if that would work for Tracy Ullman?
posted by lysdexic at 1:14 PM on October 7, 2008


A FRIEND OF MINE one time woke up in his bed with little memory of the later stages of his evening. There was a receipt in his pocket from the bar he had been patronizing. He was impressed by three things that he had, apparently, been able to do despite being blacked out:

1. He had remembered to close his tab.
2. He had correctly calculated a generous tip and added it to his total.
3. He had traveled through time and kidnapped a citizen of the future, who signed his name not with a traditional autograph, but rather a complex series of lines and swirls the likes of which have not yet been accepted by mankind as proof of identification, largely because they create symbols which seem to be not of this world. An untrained eye might view them as "scribbles."

So, yeah, I don't think this would stop my friend.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:25 PM on October 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


What we need to do is apply this as a secondary captcha on the mefi contact form.
posted by cortex at 1:45 PM on October 7, 2008


Stupid idea. Gmail should just hold the email for 12 hours, and then email it back to you with a big fat button that staring you right in your fat puffy hangover face asking you if you want to go ahead and send this for reals.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:57 PM on October 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


In common with a few others, I would be happy to see this implemented all the time. But I am an arithmetic snob.

Last evening I found myself in a grocery store just off the local university campus behind a pair of twentyish student types who had, glory be, only five items between them. After the purchases were rung up by the cashier, also twentyish, the pair ahead asked "Can we each pay half?" One produced a debit card and the other a credit card*. The task of dividing $13.44 by two proved beyond the competencies of any of the three of them, and a manager or some other grown-up was eventually summoned to help.

I worry that in thirty years I will be in a hospital bed with tubes running into my veins and these will be the people measuring out my dosages.



* Seemingly the notion of one paying the whole amount and being reimbursed by the other for half later was not an option. Either that or neither had sufficient funds available by card to be sure of being able to pay for a few pieces of fresh fruit and a carton of yogurt.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:59 PM on October 7, 2008


But could the checker identify a portobello mushroom?
posted by exogenous at 2:30 PM on October 7, 2008


I really could have used this in college when I was in the habit of stumbling, wasted, into the computer lab and sending my parents what I thought was a perfectly touch-typed email, except that I'd shifted my fingers one key to the right and didn't bother to READ it before sending, so they got about three paragraphs of
'dp,ryjomh yjsy ,idy jsbr ;pplrf dp,ryjomh ;olr yjod nrvsidr hpf gptnof o svyis;;u vjrvl yjr r,so; nrgptr gotomh oy pgg omyp yjr royjrt/

The downside is I can barely subtract even when sober. So I might have some problems here.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 2:30 PM on October 7, 2008


When eBay builds something to keep, err, people, random people, from drunk bidding, I hope someone lets me, err, I mean people, know.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:10 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


It seems like it would be helpful to be able to add specific address to it's watch list, and perhaps not the maths questions, but more like:

"Are you sure you want to send that?"

"Really?"

"Think about it for a second, really sure?"

"Okay buddy, don't say I didn't warn you!"
posted by sycophant at 3:18 PM on October 7, 2008


I really could have used this in college when I was in the habit of stumbling, wasted, into the computer lab and sending my parents what I thought was a perfectly touch-typed email,

Sysw~ U gCW RIRkkt sibw rgr~
posted by rokusan at 3:30 PM on October 7, 2008


This would permanently prevent me from using e-mail for the rest of my life - and I don't drink.

Sign me up!
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:51 PM on October 7, 2008


Finally, someone's bailing out Main Street from its real problems.
posted by scabrous at 4:22 PM on October 7, 2008


When did google start recruiting from Sigma Bada Idear?
posted by QIbHom at 4:25 PM on October 7, 2008


I worry that in thirty years I will be in a hospital bed with tubes running into my veins and these will be the people measuring out my dosages.

OTOH, I have a friend here in his 20s who can compute in decimal, octal and hex in his head. Then again, he's a programmer. My mom, on the other hand, cannot do basic math without a calculator, and she's in her late 60s. She's always been like that, and to this day doesn't really do email, because she has a mental block about computers and math. She's certainly not stupid, as she has a Masters + 45 and has taught literature for 40 years.

Fret not. Things have always been so.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:44 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a friend here in his 20s who can compute in decimal...in his head

Whoa. Can you ask him with 1 times 1 is in decimal?
posted by DU at 6:07 PM on October 7, 2008


Whoa. Can you ask him with 1 times 1 is in decimal?

Myself, I'm not really a math person. I leave that to programmers and smartasses on the Internet.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:12 PM on October 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I need this.
posted by autodidact at 7:42 PM on October 7, 2008


hey i write my best emails when im drunk. BOOOOOOO
posted by lacol at 2:53 AM on October 8, 2008


mandal: "Is is wrong that I'd love to see this implemented 24/7 for Youtube comments?"

It's not quite the same, but...
posted by Rhaomi at 4:59 PM on October 8, 2008


If only they did this on your mobile phone - then you could avoid drunken calls to/from ex girlfriends at 2am... shibrilliant idea!
posted by SpaWorldOnline at 5:33 AM on October 9, 2008


Putting it to the test
posted by exogenous at 2:44 PM on October 15, 2008


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