Why Gmail Is Introducing a Twitter-Like Blue Checkmark

In a time when blue checkmarks are the source of arguments and contention, Gmail has elected to give itself an official — you guessed it — blue checkmark. This distinguisher comes as part of the email system’s Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI) feature, which arrived in 2021.

At that time, the feature required authentication and verification of brand logos in order to use said logos as avatars in Gmail. Now, BIMI is adopting blue checkmarks to help distinguish genuine senders from malicious impersonators.

As Gmail says, this addition will help senders “leverage their brand trust” and prevent spam. The checkmark will be on offer to Google Workspace customers in addition to legacy G Suite customers. Furthermore, personal Google accounts can also get in on the verification action, in the event account owners are eager to brand themselves with shiny blue checkmarks.

It’s worth noting that blue checkmarks could be seen as an oddly deliberate pick by Gmail amid the ongoing kerfuffle surrounding Twitter’s verifier. Long, long ago, in the time before Twitter was owned by Elon Musk, blue checkmarks were a privately granted badge of prestige and authenticity, denoting government entities, official company social profiles and noteworthy people.

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Since Musk took over, the blue badge of verification has seen numerous overhauls to its functionality and form. Certain companies have been granted yellow verification badges (such as the Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account), and average people with no prior access to the checkmark have been given a choice: Pay Twitter money for one or go without. In other words, anyone with a few bucks can become “verified,” though that somewhat defeats the purpose of verification. As such, many users have abstained from subscribing to Twitter Blue, uninterested in paying to “prove” who they are.

With that said, not all who have the blue checkmark are actually paying for it; some have had it foisted on them by Twitter itself, including Stephen King.

It is unlikely Gmail’s new blue checkmark system will cause as much of a ruckus as Twitter’s, unless Alphabet declares users will need to pay $8 a month for it.

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