How-To Geek

Gmail Rolls Out "Don’t Forget Bob" and "Got the Wrong Bob?" Features

Yesterday Gmail graduated two features from Gmail Labs to the general set of Gmail features–“Don’t Forget Bob” and “Got the Wrong Bob?”–that help you ensure you’re emailing everyone and that they’re the right people to email.

The first feature “Don’t Forget Bob” makes suggestions when you’re emailing someone that is normally in a group of other people you email. Let’s say that you frequently email your boss, your project manager, and two coworkers at the same time. If you start composing an email and add Bob and Steve to the recipient list Gmail will now suggest Angela and Erica too. Conversely if it looks like you’re entering the whole match–Eric instead of Erica–Gmail will suggest an alternative.

The suggestions occur just below the recipient box–as seen in the screenshot here–to activate them you simply click the link to the alternative name. The feature should be active on all Gmail accounts by now; if not, expect to see it appear by the end of the day.

“Don’t Forget Bob” and “Got the Wrong Bob?” Graduate from Labs [The Official Gmail Blog]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 04/14/11

Comments (8)

  1. Tom

    What I need is a feature called “I’m NOT Bob”. I have a fairly common name and was lucky enough to acquire that gmail address when the service first started. Now I continually get personal emails that were cleary intended for others with the same name as mine. Can you work on that one Google?

  2. Jason Fitzpatrick

    Jason Fitzpatrick isn’t as common as say… John Smith, but I still get emails intended for other Jason’s fairly frequently. Let me tell you… there’s a Jason Fitzpatrick out there who, according to his frequently irritated ex-wife, really needs to start picking up the kids on time and being less of a jack ass. O.o

  3. JohnH

    I get mail for a few other people with my name — confidential business proposals, etc. What is worse is that at least one of them seems to think my gmail address is his own.

    I get copies of this guys DirectTV bills; I get mail from TurboTax inviting me to finish his taxes, etc.

    What do you do when other people with your name aren’t smart enough to use their own email address for stuff? *sigh*

  4. Tom

    I get a ton of e-mail from other people sharing my name too. I’m constantly getting business materials, documents, messages from vendors. And at least one of them also thinks he legitimately owns my e-mail address… I get password reset notices all the time.

  5. rroberto

    Don’t expect any of the above problems with GMail to ever be addressed by Google, let alone solved. All that’s available to solve G-Mail difficulties are a misleading-to-dismissive Q&A and a Forum not even read by Google employees, led alone moderated by it.

  6. tommy2rs

    Yeah I get the same thing on my personal account. All the wannabe “dot” inserters and the Alias users. I like to send their personal emails, bills and anything with financial information to them with a note letting them know I know their business….lol. One lady was sending pictures of her kids to one my imitators. So I sent a reply about knowing who she was sending her kids pictures to and finished off with “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, we who are about to receive thy bounty thank You”. Haven’t had any more from that source…lol.

  7. Johnny

    Boy I am glad that I am not the only one who has this problem… I had to answer mails from worried moms, job proposals, mails from different countries and languages… Yeah, they should do “I am NOT, NOT, NOT, AND AGAIN, NOT Bob!!!” I created my account when the invitations were the only way to get one…

  8. Rich

    This is interesting, as I found this article in frustration from not being able to turn off the “What about Bob?” lab gadget, to find it is permanent in Gmail. Why I was looking for it is that I want to turn it OFF! I have had it enabled ever since it was in labs, yet never once used it (and I do all my mailing through gmail), and today I sent a personal business email to someone and found I had accidentally clicked one of the suggestions, and that person got the email and shouldn’t. Ok, now after the laughter has died down, can someone tell me if you can turn this off if it is a permanent feature???

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