For the Google Gmail users out there (191 million of you and counting), we thought we’d pass along some little known tips to let you take full advantage of your email service. Of course coming from Google these tips are free and available with every Gmail account.
Each of these tips are best used with Gmail’s filters. If you’ve never setup or used a filter in Gmail before click here for a ‘How To‘ from eHow.com.
The first tip is really a two for one. What we mean is your Gmail address which is normally reached by sending mail to firstname.lastname@example.org can also be reached at email@example.com. If you have to use your email address for something you feel will come back to spam you later, use your @googlemail.com address instead. Setup the @googlemail.com address with a filter so incoming messages to that address are delivered to a ‘read later’ type folder / label to keep your inbox clean.
While the previous tip can be used to separate suspected sites from sites you feel safe giving your email address to, the next tip will actually help identify the sites that are using your email address inappropriately. Gmail addresses allow you to add “+whatever” to your email address effectively creating an alias for your primary address. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com will both be delivered to the same place. This comes in very handy when you order something at a site you think might spam or sell your information later. If you provide the email address firstname.lastname@example.org during your order, you will know immediately when you receive any messages addressed to email@example.com that they used or sold your email address. You can then setup a filter to block out all future emails from that address.
The last tip we have for Gmail users is the fact that Gmail ignores the use of a period in account names that contain a period. For example all of the following email addresses are the same:
- firstname.lastname@example.org, and so on.
Strangely enough the account name must contain a period to begin with in order to use this trick (you can’t add a period into a username that doesn’t already have one) however by giving out an address with a strategically placed period in the name you can track responses similarly to the “+whatever” tip above.
For you ‘Google Apps for my Domain’ users it appears most of these tricks extend to you. The “+whatever” and ignoring of the period in usernames both worked in our tests. Google Apps for my Domain is a great way to integrate Google’s Gmail interface with your own custom domain. If you need help obtaining a domain or installing Google Apps for your domain we’re here to help.