Probably the number one email mistake people make is forgetting to attach files. Now users of Google’s Gmail will never have to worry about that again.
Update: Many readers have pointed out that this is not yet a standard Gmail feature but has to be activated in Labs. We never activiated it, so perhaps we’re part of a test roll-out. Or maybe it was just activated by accident somehow. In any case, if it isn’t activated in your account, go into Labs and get it going now! It’s really cool!
Quite by accident today we discovered that Gmail has begun using its contextual advertising technology–the stuff that lets Google show you ads based on the content of your emails–to eliminate this embarrassing error. If you indicate that you are attaching a file but forget to actually attach it, when you hit send Gmail will prompt you with a popup window that says, “It seems that you might have forgotten to attach files. Send this message without attachments?”
For business users, this is a major boost. It eliminates useless duplication of emails and the danger of looking unprofessional by screwing up in front of clients. For job applicants, it is even better. Almost every recruiter we’ve ever talked with says that applicants frequently forget to attach resumes. You can imagine what that kind of carelessness does to your chances of scoring a job.
Putting this already existing contextual technology to use to create value for users is a brilliant move. It’s the kind of feature you never knew you needed but once you have it, you can’t believe it hasn’t existed all along. More evidence that Google is damn good at this internet stuff.