22 May 2008

Hidden Gmail Gems - multiple personal email addresses

It so happens that recently I’ve been receiving more and more of misdirected information. Some guy with a similar sounding name & put up across another part of the world seems to be a famous physician. Interesting fact is that I get to receive almost all the emails that are directed towards him. So I receive a lot of invitations to parties, snaps of family get-togethers, interesting medical opportunities why - sometimes even discussions on medical terms. A bit in my mind - I’m flattered!

Coming to the analysis part of it, initially I felt it was some clever spammer with his/her own arsenal of tricks. But then one fine day I checked these mails more closely. It was sent to pappupager@gmail.com. However my email address is pappu.pager@gmail.com. So how come I was receiving this mail?

I tried sending a dummy email to pappupager@gmail.com. It landed with a thud right in my Gmail inbox. Surprises! Is this some bug in the Gmail mail agent? After a cursory search on Google, I realised that it’s not a bug – but a mighty interesting feature of Gmail. So I tried sending emails to pa.pp.up.ag.er@gmail.com & pap.pup.ager@gmail.com and whoa – they all came right into my inbox.

Aha beautiful! So how do I make use of this feature? Simple enough – when I signup to say a newsletter from Sun or Better Photography or any other interesting site, I’ll give them the id pap.pupa.ger@gmail.com. To my friends, family and colleagues I’ll be available as pappu.pager@gmail.com. For all financial notifications or bank statements, I’ll use pa.ppu.pa.ger@gmail.com. And then I’ll set up rules in my Gmail account to label and sort the incoming mails – all anyway directed to me. Such a convenience! And just by aligning the dots in my Gmail address. Think of the permutations and combinations of addresses that gives me.

Oh – and regarding my namesake physician across the seven seas. I need to contact him somehow and let him know that though he helped me make an interesting discovery, he needs to inform his contacts about his real email address. Or else he may end up losing a lot of opportunities.

(Psst: If the mail-id pappu.pager@gmail.com belongs to some legitimate user, I’m indeed sorry. Let me know and I’ll update this post. I just fabricated the id out of thin air for explanation purpose.)

1 comment :

  1. This technique has its cons too. I suppose if such is the case, Google should not allow the usage of "." character in the account id creation process