Besides the radical “home for work” revamp, Google has one more email-related announcement as part of “Productivity & Collaboration” week at Cloud Next ’20: OnAir. Gmail is adding support for verified brand logos as part of a new standard.
Brand Indicators for Message Identification or BIMI (pronounced: Bih-mee) is an emerging email specification that enables the use of brand-controlled logos within supporting email clients.
In Gmail’s case, the brand logo will appear in the existing “avatar slot” next to a sender’s name and address in the top-left corner of a message when viewing on the web. On Android and iOS, icons have even more prominence by showing up directly in the inbox.
BIMI is meant to increase user “confidence in the source of emails,” and part of Google’s work to improve the email ecosystem and keep people safe. Meanwhile, brands get a new place to surface their logo, and will be able to automatically update branding through one system if adoption grows.
Behind the scenes, the standard is leveraging Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC), which is designed to to combat spammers that forge the “From” address. Incoming messages are verified by authenticating the sender’s domain.
Using DMARC, BIMI will let companies “validate ownership of their corporate logos and securely transmit them to Google.” Other partners include LinkedIn, Verizon Media (Yahoo/AOL), Fastmail, Twilio SendGrid, Validity, and Vailmail.
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.
If everything goes well with the Gmail pilot, Google will make the BIMI-backed verified logos generally available in the “coming months.”