Removing the GMail "On Behalf Of" Sender Header

Like many of you, I have several email accounts and while using GMail as my primary email client would be nice, one of the things that has kept me from doing so is the annoying "On Behalf Of" that the GMail SMTP servers add to outgoing email. Some of the accounts are work related and the "On Behalf Of" comes across to me as unprofessional.

GMail On Behalf Of

That "On Behalf Of" part is caused by the Sender: header that GMail's SMTP servers add:

Sender: [email protected]
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2009 10:33:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Project Details
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]

Having your personal GMail address show up looks totally unprofessional and prevents you from being able to keep your personal email, uh, well, personal. Unfortunately, Google has already said it's part of their SMTP server specs, so they won't change it.

For a long time, your only option was to use a desktop email client like Outlook or Thunderbird to send email using your own domain's SMTP server. However, this meant accessing your GMail account using IMAP/POP and basically defeated the purpose of the web client (unless you didn't mind switching between the web and desktop client).

When Google offered GMail for Domains (now called Google Apps for Domains), I eagerly set up a free account using one of my domains and tested to see if email sent still included the Sender header. Sadly it did and I abandoned the idea of using GMail as my primary email client.

A few days ago I accidentally discovered that now both the standard GMail and Google Apps for Domains have the ability to specify your own SMTP server when you add an external email address to your GMail account. (Here's the announcement from a few months ago on Google's Blog.) This means you can receive email from [email protected] and also reply to emails from within GMail as [email protected] and the receiver won't know that you're using GMail!

Here's how to get this set up:

Login to GMail and click Settings at the top right. Then click the Accounts and Import tab:

GMail Settings - Accounts and Import

Now make sure the "Reply from the same address the message was sent to" is selected and click "Send mail from another address" to add your external email account.

GMail - Send mail from another address

Fill in the name you want to show up when you send email from this account. This will probably be your name, but it might also be something like "Company Support" or "Sales". Now enter your full external email address in the second box and then click Next Step.

GMail - Add another address - Step 1

On the next screen, select the second option box, "Send through SMTP servers" and fill in the SMTP Server, Username, and Password fields. When you click Add Account, Google will try connecting to the SMTP server using the credentials you supplied. If it successfully connects, you'll be brought back to the Accounts and Import tab with your new account added. Otherwise, Google will display the error it had when trying to verify the SMTP connection details.

GMail - Add another address - Step 2

Now you should see the new account listed on the Accounts and Import tab, along with a note at the bottom showing that email will be sent using the SMTP server you specified:

GMail - New account listed on Accounts and Import tab

Now, you can send and receive email using this external account and the receiver won't see that annoying "On Behalf Of" message! Your GMail address won't even be visible in the email headers if they choose to view the email source (they'll see that the email was routed through a Google server, but Google is well known enough that they probably won't care).

Loading Widget Added to GMail?

I'm not sure if this is new or if I'm only now seeing it because GMail took longer than usual to load:

GMail Loading Widget

I'll admit I don't access my GMail account very often (all my email is forwarded to a "real" email account), but never the less, cool!

Where's the future? Oh, that's where…

I was sitting outside in my backyard yesterday and I saw some nice cloud formations, so I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots.

A good memory is something you can teach yourself to have. Just as you learn a language or new skill, you can learn to better manage your memory. Being an organized person like myself has really helped me remember things easier. I found a good article with tips on how you can improve your memory.

This came in handy today:

gnome-session-remove gnome-panel
gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/panel
gnome-panel &

I really like the GMail user interface, but I'm weary about storing all of my email on Google's servers. I've never liked the idea of putting important stuff in the hands of someone providing a free service. You never know what they will do with the data, or whether or not they will suddenly shut down. I've hosted my email on my own rented server and use an IMAP client to connect to the server. The popular webmail interfaces provided by hosting companies are usually SquirrelMail or Horde. Both are decent webmail clients (I prefer SquirrelMail over Horde), however they lack the instant response that an AJAX mail client such as GMail provides. Today I did a quick Google search to see if I could find an opensource AJAX webmail client that I could install on my web server. Sure enough, two exist: Zimbra and RoundCube. The latter is exactly what I was looking for. Zimbra is a much bigger project, however it also feels bloated. There are too many features and it felt slow. RoundCube is more or less run by one guy, but it's still under active development. Check out the demo's on both sites and make your own conclusions. When I get a chance, I'm going to integrate RoundCube with my CPanel hosting software. This would give all my hosting customers access to this nice AJAX web mail client.

Another really cool site I'd like to mention is It's basically a web based operating system. How cool is that? You can have your own desktop, applications, and files, and be able to access it from anywhere with nothing but a web browser! I believe the idea behind this web based operating system holds a key to what the future of computing and technology have in store. There will come a time when computers are so wide spread that everyone will have access to one, whether it be a public computer (and I'm sure there will be many), or your own private computer. Having a web based operating system, or an operating system that needs nothing but an Internet connection to access, would solve many issues faced by home computer users today. Data would be centrally located, so backup wouldn't be an issue. Of course, when data is centrally located security becomes a huge issue. Big corporations might have their own centrally located server which all the company computers use to access the "office" operating system.

Even now, technology is only in its infancy. The next couple hundred years will see the true technology revolution. When you're in a box, you can't tell how big the box holding your box really is. The same way, we tend to see the past 50 years as the "technology revolution" because we're only comparing it to where technology was before that. A hundred, or two hundred, years from now people will look back and see the bigger picture that encompasses the real technology revolution. Things such as wireless technology and camera's on our cell phones may seem like new and exciting technologies, but that's because we've never had anything even remotely similar to compare them to. If you get a new camera phone with a 10 megapixel camera built-in, you might not be very excited about it, even though the technology required to create a 10 megapixel camera phone is extremely amazing, even to current technology standards. You already know camera phone's exist, so any improvement on such a thing will not strike you as particularly amazing or futuristic.

The present is yesterday's future, and today's future is tomorrow's present. With that in mind, how could we ever live in the present and feel the effects of futuristic changes? I'd say the only way to feel the effects of the future would be to not evolve with the present; to isolate yourself entirely from the world. Or we could find a planet with another, more advanced civilization. I'd choose the latter. 🙂

GMail Review

I was lucky enough to obtain a GMail account to beta test, and damn, I love it!

Ever since I started using Google, Ive always loved how clean and simple it was. The idea of Google Text ADs is awesome too. I never mind browsing a site that has Google text ADs. They dont slow down the speed of the page when its loading, and they dont distract your attention away from the content of the page.

Oh, back to GMail; its awesome! As soon as GMail goes public, I highly recommend you get an account! Thats my mini-review of GMail. =)