Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tech Column: Boomerang Your Gmail

by Bill Adler

Today's tech column is for Gmail users. (If you don't have Gmail, skip to the end of this column -- there's something there for you.) If you're a Gmail user, you already know that Gmail is perfect. But what if it could be even more perfect? What if Gmail was gourmet ice cream in your favorite flavor, the best ice cream you ever had? Who doesn't lust for the richest ice cream? And what if this incredible flavor of ice cream was delivered to your door in August, packed in dry ice? Wouldn't that be even better?

As great as Gmail is, there's a Chrome and Firefox browser add-on that adds a few features to Gmail that Google left out, most notably, delayed sending. The add-on is called Boomerang,, and with it you can schedule your outgoing mail for any time in the future that you want. (You can also unschedule your email if you decide you want to send it right away.)

Delayed sending of email has many uses, not least of which is to postpone sending that angry email. It's happened to everyone: We dash off an irate email, only to wish we could take back a few words. With Boomerang you can write that angry email while you're still fuming to get it out of your system, but then revise and send it when you've returned to a calmer condition.

Boomerang will also return an email to your inbox if you don't get a reply in a period of time that you specify. Very handy, indeed: You don't have to create a reminder to follow-up because Boomerang will do that for you.

You can use Boomerang to send yourself reminders in the future, as well. Very handy.

Boomerang can "disappear" an email from your inbox and return it in the future when you're ready to deal with it. I use that feature all the time to keep my inbox neat and tidy: Rather than my inbox being my to-do list, I just vanish emails until later.

Boomerang,, comes in several sizes: Free gets you basic features, such as 10 boomerangs a month; $4.99/a month gets you unlimited delayed messages, as well as notes.

Some email programs, such as Outlook, have delayed sending built in. If you're not a Gmail user and you don't use an email program with its own built-in delayed sending service, give LetterMeLater a whirl, It's easy to use, useful, handy, and free. LetterMeLater fills the same gap that Boomerang does, though it's a stand-alone service. (That is, it's not an add-on that works from within Gmail.) LetterMeLater will also let you set up recurring emails.


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," . He tweets at @billadler.

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