Hidden Gmail features lets you fight spam and more

This article was originally written in March 2008, updated with a few more things.

2 Hidden ways to get more from your Gmail

Now who hasn’t faced spam? It’s become a part of our lives dealing with Spam amongst genuine mails. Over the past few years I have heard various ideas as to how to deal with spam. Some suggested having multiple ids, say one for office one for personal use. Others suggest me to keep a separate id to giveaway to banks and other registrations over the internet. However with increasing number of online registrations and user accounts, say for me I have 2x Netbanking, 1x Facebook, 1x ISP Home, 1x ISP Office, 1x Digg, 1x StumbleUpon, 1x Cellular service, 1x eBay … the list is endless! So however my problem is that I now have over 18 email ids and it’s a mess practicing this method. So how about a single email id that lets you change itself every time you give it to someone? Oh yes its here in your very own Gmail!

Gmail has 2 unique (and hidden) features that lets you deal with this situation.

  • Put any amount of dots (.) / ‘full stops’ between your email id, the mail will still get forwarded to the same account! For example: johnnycry@gmail.com is the same as johnny.cry@gmail.com / j.o.h.n.n.ycry@gmail.com or johnnycr.y@gmail.com.
  • Add any suffix to your user id using a plus sign (+), and the mail will still land at the same email id. For example: johnnycry@gmail.com is the same as johnnycry+xyz@gmail.com / johnnycry+bank@gmail.com or johnnycry+isp@gmail.com
Now that’s really cool, isn’t it? But how do I use it?

Smart use for sorting emails and  fighting spam

Well as I mentioned above it’s a smart idea to give a different email id while registering on any website or a formality registration with your ISP or Cellular service provider. So if you feel there might be some really important mails coming from your Bank you can give them your id as johnnycry+bank@gmail.com and create a filter in Gmail to Star any message coming to this id. On the other hand you can also use this when you register for a service and think they might share your information. Later if you start to receive too much Spam on a particular combination, a Filter to skip/delete any message coming to that id can be created!

And if you really cracked your brains thinking, if we can use both these variants together? as in johnnycry@gmail.com = johnny.cry+both@gmail.com, well actually you can! Cheers!

Update: Another query just clicked me, What if I already registered on Gmail with a dot (.) between two words. Eg: Johnny.cry@gmail.com ? Well Johnnycry@gmail.com also belongs to you, so it won’t matter where you put that dot (.)!!

Update2: OG user Sandeep just tipped me with the info that jhonnycry@googlemail.com is the same as jhonnycry@gmail.com !!

Tip for smart use on Internet:

A few more interesting ways to use this gmail feature is while registering on the internet. For example I have multiple accounts on many internet forums and portals like managementparadise.com / twitter. Normally I have a personal account on these networks and a profile for OnlyGizmos separately. However I can use one email id only once to register on these services. So using the (.) or (+) in my email id I can use the same email id twice with these services.

Your comments with more such ideas are welcome below!

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