Confidence in Gmail took a hit earlier this month when a serious spam filter flaw sent potentially malicious emails direct to users’ inboxes. Now Google has revealed an ingenious way to win back users’ trust.
In an official blog post called ‘Safety first’, Google has announced a new security standard for Gmail which has the potential to permanently remove the threat of billions of phishing emails. Dubbed ‘BIMI’ (Brand Indicators for Message Identification), it builds authentication directly into company logos and means you may never fall foul of a fake eBay or banking email ever again.
BIMI works by enabling companies to validate ownership of their corporate logos directly with Google. “Once these authenticated emails pass all of our other anti-abuse checks, Gmail will start displaying the logo in existing avatar slots in the Gmail UI.” The second part of this system is genius because it makes it easy for Gmail users to identify verified emails.
Yes, there will be a crossover period as companies apply for these validations but the benefits are so clear that I would expect them to move quickly on this. In fact, there’s an early mover advantage because emails which show their corporate logo in your inbox will catch your attention more easily than those without.
What about downsides? Yes, there are a few. The biggest is that Google is piloting this scheme with G Suite users rather than Gmail users at large. The second is that the pilot scheme won’t become “generally available” for several months. That said, after decades of trying to spot ever more sophisticated phishing emails, waiting a little longer feels like a small price to pay for a potential game-changer.
Coming just one week after Gmail’s ambitious overhaul, it’s safe to say that Google is now on a roll.
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