Gmail “BIMI” verified brand logos soon: Like blue checks for email

Chris Burns - Jul 21, 2020, 12:40pm CDT
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Gmail “BIMI” verified brand logos soon: Like blue checks for email

This week Google revealed that Gmail will soon get verified brand logos to increase trust in the platform. Google’s announcement appeared during Cloud Next ’20: OnAir, during Productivity & Collaboration week in general. This system would bring a “brand logo” next to the standard avatar space in the top-left corner of an email message.

If you’re using Gmail on the web, you’ll see this icon in the upper left-hand corner of an email from an official source – like CNN, as Google used in their first demonstration of the system. If you’re using Gmail as an app, for mobile operating systems like iOS or Android, you’ll see a logo like this in your inbox, in your list of new emails.

This new system is called BIMI, or Brand Indicators for Message Identification. Google described Brand Indicators for Message Identification as “an emerging email specification that enables the use of brand-controlled logos within supporting email clients.”

This BIMI specification works with DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance.) That system is already in place, made to stop malicious emails from fooling average everyday citizens. With DMARC and BIMI, the age of phishing with forged email addresses will – hopefully – be over.

Google’s intention is to put BIMI logos into play by the end of 2020 – or in the “coming months” as they said, more specifically.

“We’ll be starting the BIMI pilot in the coming weeks with a limited number of senders, and with two Certification Authorities to validate logo ownership: Entrust Datacard and DigiCert. To prepare for the post-pilot launch of BIMI and to generally help secure the ecosystem, we encourage organizations to start adopting DMARC.”

For the average email user, this system will be a by-default sort of situation. If it works as it should, you’ll simply be more secure and safe, while Google (and other email clients using the system) do all the heavy lifting.

The BIMI website is up already, with notes about the companies in the group. LinkedIn, Fastmail, Twilio SendGrid, Validity, Vailmail, and Verizon Media (with AOL and Yahoo!) are all onboard already.


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