15 Educational Apps in 15 Days: Become a Gmail Master with Boomerang and Undo Send

I have a confession to make. I am not good at remembering things. I live by my Google calendar and when I am asked to do something and do not write it down, it quickly falls out of my brain. This is a source of constant frustration for me (and my family) which I try to compensate for (not always successfully) by being super organized with my schedule.

But there are times when something is not quite an event that I want to schedule on my calendar; it's merely a reminder about something that I wish to do later that day or on a different day. In that case, I send myself an email. You might be wondering how this helps since emails are usually received moments after they are sent, not later when one would actually need the reminder.

Enter Boomerang

Boomerang is a Gmail app which allows one to compose an email now but schedule it to be sent later. This is not Boomerang's only feature though. It also allows the sender to Boomerang the message so that if it is not read when sent, it will send the same email again, two days hence. Boomerang has both a Chrome and Android app so one can use it on a desktop, laptop, or on the go. (Sorry, there is no iPhone app yet but one can access it using the Boomerang Mobile Interface.)

Here is how Boomerangs works using Gmail on Google Chrome

After installing the Boomerang Chrome app, a Boomerang icon is added to the top of Gmail. Click on the icon to manage scheduled messages, settings, help etc.

When composing a Gmail message, under the Send Button on the bottom of the message, a second Send Later button will now be available. Use this to schedule to send a message later or to boomerang the message so it will send again after a set amount of time if there is no reply, if the message is not clicked, if the message was never opened or regardless.

Click Send Later to schedule when the message should be sent.

Boomerang has a free version which allows up to 10 "Boomerangs" a month which is adequate for the occasional user and paid versions as well. Here is a full list of pricing plans.

Applications for Education

I have used Boomerang in a number of different ways.

There are times that I am up VERY late composing an email to my faculty or students. I could click send but then everyone will see me working at such an ungodly hour. Who wants everyone to know you were doing school work at 2AM? Of course, I could save the message to Drafts and send it the next day but often I then get busy or forget about it. By scheduling to send the message through Boomerang, I can send it now for receipt the next morning.

There are also times that I wish to email a busy administrator and I know that they always check their messages at a certain time each morning. Rather, than send the email on my schedule, when they might miss it, I can send it on their schedule at a time when they are likely to be better able to read it and respond.

Undo Send

I would be remiss if I ended this post on becoming a Gmail master if I did not also mention Undo Send.

Many of us have had the experience of hitting the Send button on an email and then immediately having regrets. Wouldn't it be wonderful if in the seconds after sending a message you could take it back? Kind of like a Control Z for email messages. See cartoon below.

You can, using Undo Send.

Undo Send has been available in Google Labs for years. At the end of June, Undo Send was officially added as a regular Gmail option. To enable it is quite simple. Just click on the Gmail gear on the top right of your screen and select settings. Then scroll down until you see Undo Send, click enable, and set the duration you have to cancel your sent message, anywhere from 5-30 seconds. Here are more detailed instructions and a screenshot appears below.

After sending every email message, a Window will appear for 5-30 seconds in which you can click Undo and undo sending your message before anyone receives it.

Start using Boomerang and Undo Send and soon you too will be a Gmail master.