Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Multi purpose email address

It's one of the underhyped feature of Gmail - everyone who has a Gmail username has a multitude of options in terms of the email aliases they have.

Let's get down to business, shall we?

Gmail doesn't recognize dots in your login. For instance, if your email address was demo@gmail.com (note, this email address does not work), inserting a dot anywhere won't matter - the email will come to you.

If I send an email to d.emo@gmail.com or de.mo@gmail.com or dem.o@gmail.com or demo............@gmail.com, it'll still arrive at one place - your demo@gmail.com email address.

But it doesn't end there.

At times, you may want to send invites to a whole bunch of people, but at the same time, you're in no mood to get your inbox cluttered with the countless number of potential emails that may pour in. And you're too lazy to go searching for a website that does invitation handling for you.

No worries - there's another tool for that: add a +keyword, and after it, key in a word. For instance, if I want to invite people to a party, all I have to ask them to do is email me on demo+yes@gmail.com (if they are) or demo+no@gmail.com (if they aren't).

From Caffeine and Quirks!
In Gmail, I can easily set filters and labels, and any email that is SENT to demo+yes@gmail.com will get archived AND labelled to one specific label, and the same goes for the other email address.

It doesn't stop just there - you can use it for filing mailing list subscriptions (I have a jokes subscription that sends me an email with a +jokes email address, and labeling is as easy as it gets in Gmail).

What may be other uses for this? While I don't encourage spamming, certain websites don't accept certain types of email addresses - some websites may not accept email addresses with a +keyword appended, so the dots come in use. Some websites aren't friendly with the dots system - so the +keyword system helps. And if you're a target of spam, just see which email address was used, and you can instantly recognize where the spammer got the address from.

There are a few issues people face. Some say that they're getting someone else's email - that's not the case. The systems have been designed as such that all possible dot-combinations of your username/login are assigned to you from the moment you sign up till the moment you delete your Gmail account (if you ever decide to). If you do, it's most likely a spam attack - but that's a story for another day.

I'll discuss general tips on what to do if you think you're being asked for certain information from Google - or any other website for that matter - in a later post. But for now, I hope this taught you that

a) you don't receive anyone else's email, and
b) you don't own just one email address, but an infinite combination of email addresses - all with one username.

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