Written by Internet

Gmail’s Worst Feature

The more I see it, the more I hate and loathe Gmail’s utterly awful and relatively recent innovation, its “Consider including” functionality.
It pops into a space under the “To” box when I add an address to an email. I think Google think it’s useful in some way.
It’s not.
Here’s the thing: when I choose to write an email, I know exactly who I want to send it to. I don’t need a computer to suggest who I might want to cc in with it. Even if I regularly send all my email to two people, there are times when I only want to send it to one of them.
As it happens, I’d wager that 90%+ of my Gmail is sent to a single email address. At work, sure, I send email to several people at once, or group mailing lists. But in my personal life, it’s mostly one to one conversations.
I don’t even understand why it’s advantageous for Gmail to suggest additional names for an email. “We notice you’re sending an email to your partner, have you considered also sending it to their parents, their brother, their uncle and their niece?” “Why? No I hadn’t. Thank you for helping me think!”
I’ll give you an example about how utterly useless it is. I regularly send or forward emails from my personal Gmail account to my work email account. Sometimes it might be a link that I’ll follow up later at work. Other times, it’s forwarding something on to myself that will prove useful to either me or someone else at work. I send a reasonable quantity of mail “to myself” in this manner. And I do the same in reverse. It helps me order my life to some extent.
Every time I send a Gmail message to my work account, Gmail suggests cc’ing my boss. That would be utterly inappropriate 99% of the time. If I want to forward something to my boss, I’ll choose to do it myself. Apart from anything else, I prefer to use my work email account for conversing with my boss. Gmail just doesn’t know better.
Gmail also suggests forwarding all these emails to someone I simply don’t know at all. How the algorithm has come up with this name, I know not. It’s possible I once communicated with them, in some way, at some time. But I don’t remember it. And I definitely don’t know them. The algorithm is flawed to think otherwise.
And I can’t switch off this “feature”. I certainly can’t tell Gmail that it got the suggestion wrong. So every email sent to myself like this, without fail, suggests these names that are utterly irrelevant.
Even worse, one slip of the mouse or keypad, and I might actually inadvertently include one or more of them on my email.
Extensive searching just finds lots of other users also looking at ways to either remove it or “optionlize” it. The only thing we can do is use Google “Suggest a Feature for Gmail” site, and suggest that they do this. You have to manually suggest it, and I have done. I suggest you do too if you find it as irritating as I do. I could understand it if this was a Labs feature. A user choice. I can’t think of who might actually want this functionality, but I suppose someone might.
So someone at Google, please at least allow an option to turn it off.
It’s intrusive, invasive (far more so than your advertising based around keywords in the email, which at least pays for the service), and is doing a disservice to Gmail.
PS Yes, there are a few CSS or Greasemonkey scripts kicking around which turn off this “feature”, but surely this should be built into the product?