The Gmail Trick That’s Been Around for 15 Years—But Few People Know About It

People with more than one Gmail address should take note.

emailRawpixel.com/Shutterstock

When you give someone your e-mail address, do you spend a significant amount of time detailing every single character—all the way down to the dot or period mark? Unfortunately, it’s all for naught.

Dots in a Gmail address don’t matter

While some e-mail providers allow for address variations using dots, Google has decided to ignore periods in its users’ e-mail addresses altogether. Translation: Any combination of your e-mail address and those little dots is sent to the exact same inbox. You own all dotted versions of your address. And you might want to think twice about adding a smiley face emoji to your e-mails, too.

“If the sender added or removed dots from your e-mail address, the message will still go to your inbox,” a post on Google’s help forums explains. “Your e-mail address is unique; people can’t set up an identical account even with a different number or placement of dots.”

For example, the e-mail address [email protected] could be [email protected] or [email protected], and the message will still reach the same recipient.

This rule probably exists to avoid confusion

Although this has been true since Gmail’s conception, many people still don’t know about Google’s little rule. Many will speculate why it exists, however, Slate reports it’s likely Google doesn’t allow periods to avoid email confusion. For example, if all that differentiates one email from another is one character, there would probably be many accidentally mixed up emails for people with common names. That’s a bit scary considering what hackers can do with your email address.

As for the other e-mail providers? The location of the dots matters for e-mails on Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo Mail, and Apple iCloud. Dots don’t matter for Facebook, and they aren’t used at all for Twitter handles. Now that you know to ignore dots in Gmail addresses, learn how you can find out who’s ignoring your Facebook friend request.

[Source: Business Insider]

Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.