I found a lot of really cool features while digging around in various online services, but one that I discovered in Gmail is particularly awesome. Ever wondered shady website you signed up for sold your email address and who you should be angry with? Well, Gmail has a mind-blowing feature that can absolutely help you with that.
Gmail has this super-secret feature called "aliases." I know, it sounds all cloak-and-dagger, but it's actually quite simple and incredibly useful. Well, I don't actually know if it's "super-secret," but it sounded cool when I wrote it. Anyway, with aliases, you can create unique variations of your email address, and here's the best part—they help you track where the heck those pesky emails are coming from!
Here's how it works. Take your regular Gmail address, let's say it's firstname.lastname@example.org (you can use your own, of course!), and add a "+" symbol followed by any text you want. Seriously, any text at all! For instance, you could have email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. It's like hiding an AirTag in your email address!
Now, let's put it to use. You know how sometimes you sign up for different services or websites, and suddenly your inbox explodes with a barrage of emails? Well, with these aliases, you can assign a unique one to each place you share your email. That way, when you receive an email, you'll know right away which alias they used, and you can pinpoint exactly where they got your address from. Okay, it's not like having an AirTag, but it's the next best thing.
But wait, there's more! Or, well, I guess it's what I think Gmail intended aliases to be used for. These aliases also help you organize your inbox. You can set up filters in Gmail that sort, label, and even forward emails based on the aliases. You can have the aliases filtered into different folders for newsletters, online shopping, and whatever else you created an alias for.
So, go ahead and use those aliases, set up filters, and maybe even write a strongly worded letter to companies you find out are selling your email address.
Give it a shot and let me know how it goes! I'm curious to hear about your experiences with aliases in Gmail.