How Gmail Stops Spam

My spam has gone down like a million % since switching to Gmail from Yahoo mail. This amusing video shows you some of the techniques Google uses to keep spam out of your inbox. Just about all the spam we get is as a result of the forward set up from our old yahoo to our new gmail account. We hate spam and loves the Gmail.


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  1. kingoman says:

    Gee, it couldn’t be related to the fact that your yahoo address had been around a lot longer and you’d given it out to a lot more people than your gmail address which I’m guessing is new and you’ve only had time to give it out to a few people? Hmmmmmmmm.

    I’m not saying gmail might not be better, but this is far from a useful comparison.

    You should bill Google for the advert.

  2. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    Videos like this make me want to shell out $700 to own just one share of Google stock…

  3. arachnophilia says:

    you’d think someone would have thought of this sort of stuff a long time ago. props to gmail.

  4. maztec says:

    My mail server uses most of those techniques. However, the technology of using a million+ users to filter . . that is awesome (and confirms what i suspected Google has been doing all along).

    I suspect it is a bit more indepth than what they say. A single user reporting something as spam isn’t going to change the behavior of a message. However, a thousand users usually means it is actually spam (wonder how many people you need to game their spam engine). I imagine they both dynamically and manually fine tune their spam engine by the messages added to the spam folder and removed every day.

  5. thirday413 says:

    I recently made the same switch and I LOVE me some gmail now… handy…..the little in email im works wonders

  6. newlywed says:

    i use google apps, and my spam is basically non-existant anymore. i’ve used the same email addy for about twelve (! omg i’m getting old) years now, and the spam in my inbox was over 50-60 a day. now, it’s one to two a week, with it all chugging into the spam filter folder! only one boo-boo so far with a .mac addy from a friend that went to spam.

  7. huadpe says:

    @arachnophilia: The stuff they do isn’t particularly new, it’s just done well. They have a few billion pages of written material to test their OCR against, as well as having millions of users reporting what is/isn’t spam. Those datasets (and some good engineers) make the implementation of basic anti-spam techniques better.

  8. louisb3 says:

    @maztec: Obviously they’re simplifying.

  9. newtonite says:

    Blurb says you can forward email from Yahoo to Gmail? How? I didn’t think they allowed that.

  10. SoFlaSnowMan says:

    I love Gmail — it captures an average of 50 spams a day for me.

    The only problem I’ve had with it is when I accidentally hit the “Report Spam” button instead of the “Archive” button on a Bank of America bill payment notice. Thereafter, all such notices ended up in the Spam folder (without my knowing it). I didn’t find out about it until DirecTV threatened to cut off my service for non-payment! :-(

  11. HalOfBorg says:

    I love Gmail and all the stuff mentioned in the video….but describing it as “amusing” is being rather generous. :)

    An important point to note.

  12. ptkdude says:

    The music in this video made me want to watch “Billy’s Dad is a Fudge-Packer” yet again. :-)

  13. swunder says:

    I heart Gmail!

    The funniest thing about the spam folder is that when you open it, it always gives you a SPAM recipe!

  14. LAGirl says:

    gmail rules! i switched over a year ago. rarely get spam. the ones that do get through to my spam folder are pretty tame. no one asking me to enlarge my penis, work from home or help a nice christian lady with her puppy in nigeria.

  15. PaulMorel says:

    I use Yahoo and I get maybe 5 pieces of spam a year.

    Not sure why you were getting so much, but I think that your opinion on Yahoo’s spam blocker is outdated.

    It’s funny how some people can write on a blog like Consumerist and still think that certain humongous corporations are better than others. Like people that think that Apple is ‘better’ than Microsoft, or Nintendo is better than Sony, or that Google is ‘nicer’ than Yahoo.

    It’s the same s#%t in different clothes.

  16. dodonnell says:

    I want to know where I can get that “Learn Esperanto” book!

  17. TheSeeker says:

    I have Gmail and Yahoo. I get spam from both. I had gotten spam on my GMAIL account shortly after signing up for it and not having used it.

    I have never used my Gmail for anything other than emailing very few and specific individuals – no companies, no newsletters, nothing, but yet spam comes in.

    Funniest thing is, I setup a Yahoo account just for newsletters, freebies and crap – for the free samples that The Barganist tells about.

    I get NO spam in that email account. And even no email from Walmart where most of the samples come from.

  18. MommaJ says:

    The spam filter on my Yahoo account works almost perfectly, pulling at least 100 spam emails each week and letting through only one or two. The only downside is that it occasionally (very occasionally) captures a real email (but only if it’s from a new source), so I feel that I have to eyeball the spam inbox weekly to be sure I haven’t missed anything. I think Gmail appeals mostly to those who always have to have the latest whatever.

  19. KJones says:

    That’s not all there is wrong with yahoo. My email was cut off early this year with no warning and for no reason. When I tried to find out why, the response was, “Pay us $30 and *maybe* we’ll find out what happened”, ie. no guarantees and no honesty. And don’t contact the BBB, they won’t do bugger all to help on free services.

    It turns out they did this to many other long-term users. Back up your old emails from yahoo and go somewhere else before your emails are held for ransom.

  20. jimconsumer says:

    GMail’s spam system is not as great as they make it out to be. In fact, it really sucks. Why?

    No whitelisting. Even if you setup filters to tag messages, if GMail decides it’s spam it goes to spam anyway. WTF is up with that? I’m sick and tired of my daily logwatch reports going to spam. No matter how often I tell GMail “not spam”, they go to spam anyway, day in and day out.

    I might as well not even have a spam filter, since I have to sort through my spam folder anyway to dig out my logwatch reports as well as emails from any new contacts. I have GPL’d software and when people contact me, it *always* goes to spam. Every %$#^ing time. So what’s the point of a filter if it captures so many legitimate messages?

    Whitelisting is such a basic feature, I cannot believe GMail has not implemented it. The fact that I have virtually no control over the spam filter makes me angry beyond belief. However, the rest of GMail is so great that I put up with this.