GMail offers personalized e-mail addresses

How masquerading works: An interesting development in the e-mail space on GMail. You can now masquerade your @gmail.com address with any other address that you own. For example, before today, I could send e-mail from my RIT computer science department account (cs.rit.edu), but have the From line read from @sukshma.net. Similarly, I can masquerade my gmail.com address. This is a neat feature for those who own a domain but don’t want to have to pay a hosting company to host the mail server. GMail will now do the hosting for you for free.

Setup your own domain with a personalized e-mail address: There are many benefits of setting up a personalized e-mail address. When building a business network, engineer at professional dot com sounds better than engineer at gmail dot com.

All you need to do is, purchase a domain that you like and you think will represent you accurately. Next, setup mail forwarding from that domain to your Gmail account. You have just ensured that all mail sent to engineer at professional dot com will be directed to your GMail account. The next step is to login to your GMail account, hit Settings > Accounts > Add another e-mail address. Follow the steps to verify that you indeed own engineer at professional dot com. You should now be able to send e-mail from your GMail web interface with your professional address. If your a Pop3 or IMAP user, your e-mail client should also allow you to masquerade your account when sending email.

Finally, GMail provides a huge amount of space as compared to any other provider. That alone ought to convince you

Masquerading and security: When every engineer reads up on SMTP, the first thing you learn is how simple it is to send e-mail over the Internet by faking the sender. Most phishing attempts rely on this detail to con users into believing an e-mail is from a recognized authority.

However, some mail transfer agents (MTA’s) on the Internet have safeguards to prevent masquerading. For example, some MTA’s will verify that the e-mail originates from @professional.com. E-mail sent from your GMail account will fail to pass this litmus test, since the masqueraded e-mail originated from a GMail.com server (and not professional dot com). Note that this is in theory and I have not had the opportunity to test it out yet.

GMail requires you to prove that you do indeed own the address your attempting to add. This safeguard proves that sufficient thought went into designing this feature. It will be interesting to see how they solve the issue with strict MTA’s.

Conclusion: An obvious requirement is to match signatures for every address. Maybe in the near future you could even expect GMail suck in all your e-mail from your original mail host.

E-mail clients have been doing this ever since I can remember. Masquerading is nothing new. However, GMails impact on Internet businesses is definitely huge.

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