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What just happened? We can't seem to escape blue verification marks these days. With Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and others embracing verified checkmarks, Google is joining the party with its own blue icon for Gmail. It's not just an ego thing, though; the company says these icons will help users identify scam emails.
The blue checkmark will automatically appear in emails from companies that are part of Gmail's Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) feature, which arrived in 2021. BIMI requires senders to use strong authentication with DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) and verify their brand logo "with a VMC, issued by a Certification Authority such as Entrust or DigiCert." This allows senders to display a logo in the avatar slot in emails, next to the their name and address.
Gmail users will now see a checkmark icon for senders that have adopted BIMI, further helping them identify which emails are legitimate and which ones are impersonators.
If you find a blue seal with a white tick in a Gmail message, you can hover over it to see a pop-up that reads "The sender of this email has verified that they own [the domain was sent from] and the logo in the profile image." The pop-up also contains a link that directs to more information about the checkmark.
Google says that strong email authentication helps users and email security systems identify and stop spam while enabling senders to leverage their brand trust.
The Gmail brand verification has now started rolling out. It will be available for free to those with personal Google accounts, all Google Workspace customers, and legacy G Suite Basic and Business customers. Admins can visit the Help Center to learn more about setting up BIMI.
The timing of Gmail's new feature comes as Twitter and Elon Musk are embroiled in a very public verification shambles. The company got rid of its legacy blue ticks last week, and there are reports that Musk has been giving some celebs the verified mark for free after they refused to pay the $8 per month. According to the LA Times, such a move could land Musk in legal trouble for violating US Federal Trade Commission regulations surrounding consumer protection and false advertising.