Processing Spam Google Style

A feather-rice dreamcatcher blowing in the wind

During the sci-fi movie 2010, Heywood Floyd asks David Bowman a question: "What's going to happen?", to which Dave Bowman replies, "Something wonderful"!

When the battle against Spam is finally won, I suspect Bowman's reply could be equally fitting. What's more, maybe that day is not as far off as we might think.

Why? Unexpected human ingenuity is the one single quality that confounds all predictions; it's the ever elusive "spanner in the works". And when we combine the power of creative imagination with clever inventiveness perhaps not surprisingly, we often get something called Google.

In fact, the folks Google never cease to amaze me with their seemingly endless ability to solve old problems in new ways. Take email Spam for example. During the last few years, I've tried various providers with the goal of cutting down on the Spam received. Of all those I've tested, Google's Gmail / Google Mail now seems to be the most effective.

Up until a few months ago, most of the mail I wanted got through to me without any problems and most of the email I didn't want was dutifully sent to the great Google online incinerator known as the "Spam folder".

Once there, at the time of writing, email Spam can either sit for 30 days to give you multiple chances to search and check the folder and then be automatically deleted by your loyal Google Delete robot. Or, you can enjoy a new sport as the mood takes you, and delete entire batch yourself ahead of schedule.

Or, we can delete individually or entire pages of Spam as required whenever you feel like "skimming some stones across the pond online" courtesy of Google. Die-hard "Spam splat enthusiasts" tell me this is also much like shooting at tin cans — except Google provide you the online equivalent of an Apache Gatling Gun.

What's more, if your entire Spam folder contains tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of unwanted messages, if like me, you think you have better things to do, you can delete the entire contents of the Spam folder with a single mouse click.

Something Wonderful! How Can More + More = Less + Less, Then Maybe Even Zero?

Some years ago, I used to be a little cautious about deleting Spam en masse, unsure if any genuine emails or "false positives" may have become trapped in the wrong net. What's more during the last 6 months, more Spam than ever is being sent. The good news is, more Spam also means more clues which lead to better detection. Perhaps that might explain why I've not had any wrongly classified emails while using Gmail / Google Mail. How cool is that?

In addition, in Gmail, you can create your own filters quickly and easily to give even more Spam busting power if needed. 

So naturally I wonder whether in their true cool style, has Google been introducing "intelligent Spam detection" into their Gmail / Google Mail systems. Or, has their existing filtering technology just learned enough about me to just know which email that I want to keep?


  • Are we seeing the forerunner to email heaven: pure automatic deletion of what is not required so we never even need to see it?
  • What if every single new pattern or trick designed to bypass Sp*am filters is identified and stored within a universal, instantly accessible database within minutes of detection anywhere across the Google Mail network (and in time, all networks)?
  • Does the next stage involve a true universal One Language Intelligent Network Translator (OLINT), so that no matter what language Spa*m is sent in, it is interpreted and understood to the extent that the results will be the same: a gentle, quite, uneventful death without ever being viewed by the intended recipient. Sweet.

Think of the "intelligent multi-lingual Spam detection and automatic deletion" goal as something equivalent to re-cycling a batch of paper without having to take it to a recycling bin. Except here, we re-cycle and restore bandwidth and those "tired" dots of light pixels originally lost to Spam into shiny new pixels and life force (= more bandwidth) for the Web.

Talk about saving the planet: is an ecological online miracle in the making? Perhaps, just perhaps, the Google equivalent of Arthur C Clarke's HAL 9000 super-computer already knows.

What if those canny folks at Google are close to providing a truly effective resolution to the pollution of Spam? Apart from the obvious, how will that change our world? Certainly something to think about.

In the meantime ...

What About Today: Google's Email Filtering Master Stroke That Ensures You Need Never Miss Email You Want

Most of us who use email on a daily basis know that sometimes, traditional email filters can simply mis-interpret a wanted email message or e-newsletter as Spam and therefore, risk automatically destroying wanted information. To this, among other expletives, we may say: ouch!

However, fear not: some months ago, Google Mail introduced a neat feature that seeks to ensure you can receive all email from wanted sources. Here's how: perform the following steps:

  1. Log in to your Gmail / Google Mail.
  2. In the top right, choose "Settings".
  3. Choose the "Filters" tab.
  4. Scroll down and choose the command "Create a new filter".
  5. In the "From" box, do either Step 6 or Step 7 depending on what you want.
  6. If you want email from a specific email address to always get through to you, irrespective of words and phrases it may contain, type the email address you want. Or ...
  7. If you want to receive email email from multiple email addresses from a specific domain name, type @ followed by the domain name. Example That means, any email address that truly belongs to will get through to you if you're using a Gmail or Google Mail account.
  8. Choose the button "Next Step >".
  9. In the "Never send it to Spam" box check box, click the box to insert a tick mark.
  10. Choose the "Create Filter" button. Gmail / Google Mail then displays the updated Filters list. You latest filter should be listed at the end.

Although I've outlined the process in 10 steps, in practice, you can set up a new filter in seconds.

TIP: If you've opted to follow the route of creating a profitable web business online using the plans outlined within, as an online business provider, you'll also work with email regularly. If you haven't already opened a Google Mail email account, I urge you to do so immediately. Then set up filters for wanted customers and clients below. That way, you can be sure as you can that you won't miss email communications from those important people with whom you do business online.

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