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I am curious about Google's Gmail "snippets". From most emailers, the snippet is the first few words of the email, or in some cases, the Google A.I. seems to pick out what it thinks is an important sentence to display (which usually it gets right). But from a few emailers -- notably Facebook -- somehow, the snippet displayed is not even mentioned in the email. For example --

Gmail shows "snippet" of an email I received.

The email from Facebook, about a post my friend made on Facebook, displays text from his post; but the email itself contains nothing about being diagnosed with cancer: The email displays no content related to its Gmail "snippet".

When I search for info on Gmail Snippets, I find instructions for turning on and off in "settings", and I find advice for email marketing people about tailoring the email to display an effective snippet (like, don't have your first line be your unsubscribe link); but I have found nothing about how to make the snippet be unrelated to the content of your email.

When I view source with ctrl-U, all I see is a wall of CSS and (what I think is) Javascript. When I ctrl-F to search for "cancer" and "diagnosed", it comes up empty.

When I ctrl-F to search for "cancer" in the message, it says it found one instance, but nothing is displayed: Searching finds something but it is not displayed.

When I forward the message to an old text-only system where I have an account, I do see the snippet as the very first line of the message (prior to a bunch of Facebook links and then CSS and HTML that doesn't render on the text-only interface).

So, how is Facebook doing this? Are they using a 0-size font, or something? (I think they are not using a font color that matches the background, because then it would be displayed, highlighted, by ctrl-F.) I think that cannot be it, because I would see the markup on the text-only system. Is there some rule that you can hide text from human view in Gmail, if it comes before the HTML? This has been bugging me for a few weeks, so thanks for any insights.

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