Why is this so?
It's done that way to prevent confusion (and possibly impersonation). I'd rather not have
[email protected] get my mail simply because somebody left a dot out when typing my address of
[email protected]. (Note: Neither of those is actually me; I was too late registering to get anything even remotely close to my real name. :-)
Also, you can append anything to your username with "
+something" and it'll still come to you. With this, you can create unique email addresses for certain things and then filter on it or just be able to tell which sites are selling your email address to spammers. (Note: some broken sites don't allow "+" in an email address even though it's supposed to be allowed.)
Gmail doesn't recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they'll all go to your inbox, and only yours. In short:
All these addresses belong to the same person. You can see this if you try to sign in with your username, but adding or removing a dot from it. You'll still go to your account.
One last thing: Google Apps does recognize dots. If you'd like to have a dot in your username, please ask your domain administrator to add your preferred username as a nickname.
It is a lesson in human nature that so many experts simply recite Google's pat answer on this as if an assertion were identical to empirical reality. I am one of the early account holders with the
[email protected] accounts. About three years ago, I began receiving email directed to
[email protected]. By triangulating the information I was able to glean from their dry cleaners, car dealer, etc. I was finally able to contact these people (about 3,000 miles from me, BTW). The DO have the same account as me, minus the period. We were able to determine that only a portion of email "leaks" across accounts. Unfortunately, the fact that I had my account 10 years before they had theirs did not convince them to leave the account to me. Thus, I live with the occasional notice from the bank, school, etc. Because of this, I no longer use Gmail for anything important or confidential.
The most disturbing thing to me is Google's insistence that they could not have made a programming mistake when they clearly did. These folks are arrogant in their faux humility.