Google+ is not the only "plus" in the Google offering.  Did you know that the humble + symbol can be used in your Gmail email address?

Using the + symbol before the @ sign allows you to create new email addresses at will.  Anything sent to these addresses will appear in your usual email.  But why bother....?

Let us assume you have an email address of samspade@gmail.com  When signing up for your favourite shopping website use the email address samspade+shopping@gmail.com

This has two great benefits....

  • You can create a rule in Gmail asking it to look out for emails to the +shopping email address and file it somewhere other than your inbox.
  • You could use it as a way to ensure someone is not passing on your email address without your consent.  Use a more unique address, say samspade+ABCcompany@gmail.com.  If you use this on ABCcompany but later you receive email from another company using this email address you can be sure someone has shared it, perhaps illegally.

For me personally, the first benefit is the best as I can control how my inbox is populated.

You can have as many pseudo addresses as you like, and it also works with Google Domains (if Google is hosting email for your own domain name).  Annoyingly a few websites will not accept the + as a valid character when typing your email address (send them an email complaining!)

This has been a Gmail feature for years, but very few people seem to know about it -- share the knowledge.

There's one final oddity -- Gmail ignores the dot in the username, so sam.spade@gmail.com is the same as samspade@gmail.com as is sam.s.p.a.d.e@gmail.com -- they all arrive in your email.  An odd quirk of Gmail?!

Enjoy.

 

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