GMail – Unlimited Email Addresses

by venukb on September 7, 2006

This has to be the coolest feature of GMail. This post at Modern Day Alchemist explains how you can have unlimited GMail Addresses by using a plus-addressing scheme, i.e adding a + after your GMail user name.

Though the post covers details on how to use the feature, I will reiterate it again. (I had to read it 2-3 times to understand and once I did, I was amazed :) )

Here is my simple explanation:

  1. Say if your GMail address is onlinediary@gmail.com
  2. The User name here is : onlinediary
  3. You can add any valid sequence of character literal and append it to the user name via a + operator (You can use _ , . and combination of these also)
  4. So I can have unlimited number of valid email addresses like onlinediary+rocks@gmail.com, onlinediary+is_cool@gmail.com, onlinediary+Underscore_also_works@gmail.com, onlinediary@so_does.dot@gmail.com etc etc etc (Hopefully you guys are not thinking of onlinediary+sucks@gmail.com :D)
  5. And mails addressed to these “plus addressed” email address will still land on your normal onlinediary@gmail.com inbox !!!

How will this be useful ?

I can use this email plus addressed email to categorize or label my mails automatically. Say for all bank related mails I can give something like onlinediary+bank@gmail.com. I can setup a filter that will label and archive mails having this address as a part of “To” field.

(Note that the “To” address will still be the plus addressed name, i.e. there is no stripping of the plus addressed characters)

So next time you signup for some newsletter or when you give your mail address while downloading some software, use the plus addressing scheme. If you receive any spam on this plus addressed email address, you will find out who the culprit is :D

Now why did I say this as the coolest feature of only GMail ?? Because I tested this with Yahoo and MSN and I got this response:

Yahoo

The e-mail system was unable to deliver the message, but did not report a specific reason. Check the address and try again. If it still fails, contact your system administrator. SMTP; 554 delivery error: dd This user doesn’t have a yahoo.com

Hotmail

The e-mail account does not exist at the organization this message was sent to. Check the e-mail address, or contact the recipient directly to find out the correct address. SMTP; 550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable

P.S. For Non-RSS readers of my blog, if you guys have still not subscribed to the newsletter of Online Diary, do it and remember to give the email address as youremailid+onlinediary@gmail.com :)

And if you don’t have a Gmail ID, its high time you had one. Let me know if anyone needs a GMail Invite, I have few to be sent out :D

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