Google To Tweak Gmail To Combat Spammers


Battling the spammers. Google makes changes to Gmail to make life more difficult for those send thousands of emails a day

Alphabet’s Google continues to make changes to its popular Gmail service, with the latest being a move to make it harder for spammers to send messages.

Last week Google announced in a blog post that Google will require bulk emailers who send more than 5,000 messages per day to Gmail users, will have to offer a one-click unsubscribe button in their messages.

That is not the only Gmail change of late. Last month Google announced it was sunsetting the stripped down HTML version of Gmail in January 2024, and from that date people still using the basic version would be switched to the ‘Standard’ Gmail interface used by most people.

Spam, spam, spam

Gmail’s basic HTML version had been designed so it could be loaded more quickly than the much more modern ‘Standard’ version of Gmail, that offers additional features such as a spellchecker, chat, importing of contacts, keyboard shortcuts, and support for rich text format etc.

Besides faster loading, the basic or stripped-down HTML version of Gmail was also suitable for outdated PCs, laptops and mobile phones that utilise slower internet connections.

But this month another Google is making another Gmail change by enhancing the “protections for a safer, less spammy inbox.”

Google said that Gmail’s AI-powered defences stop more than 99.9 percent of spam, phishing and malware from reaching inboxes and block nearly 15 billion unwanted emails every day.

But now, nearly 20 years after Gmail launched, the threats Google said it faces are more complex and pressing than ever.

New requirements

As a result Google is introducing new requirements for bulk senders – those who send more than 5,000 messages to Gmail addresses in one day.

From February 2024, Gmail will start to require that bulk senders:

  • Authenticate their email so that users can confidently rely on an email’s source. Google will require those who send significant volumes to strongly authenticate their emails following well-established best practices. Ultimately, this will close loopholes exploited by attackers that threaten everyone who uses email, Google said.
  • Enable easy unsubscription: Google said users should not have to jump through hoops to stop receiving unwanted messages from a particular email sender. It should take one click. So it is requiring that large senders give Gmail recipients the ability to unsubscribe from commercial email in one click, and that they process unsubscription requests within two days.
  • Ensure the sending wanted email: Google pointed out that nobody likes spam, and while Gmail already includes many tools that keep unwanted messages out of inboxes, it is to add another protection. Google said it will enforce a clear spam rate threshold that senders must stay under to ensure Gmail recipients aren’t bombarded with unwanted messages. Google claimed this is an industry first, and as a result, a user should see even less spam in their inbox.

Kaspersky Lab in 2016 had estimated that more than half of world’s emails was spam and malware.

And spam levels are not getting any better it seems. In 2022 Kaspersky Lab estimated that nearly half (48.6 percent) of all emails sent in 2022 were spam.