I received a mail from Google+ saying that someone I knew recently joined Google+. The email had an interactive red-box which allowed me to add the user to my circles. As far as I am aware, emails do not include running JavaScript.

The original email:

The original Email

On hover:

On hover

Final result:

Final result

How is this achieved?


This is a specific integration between Gmail and Google+. If you'll look at those messages in a regular email client, you won't see this interactivity. Only if you read them with Gmail web ui, Android or iOS Gmail clients.

As for specifics of how it's achieved, I imagine that is Google's 'secret sauce'. :)

  • 1
    Are you sure? Isn't it simple HTML and CSS? Or just a bit of JavaScript?
    – terdon
    Mar 3 '13 at 7:47
  • @terdon look at such message with any other email client, even those that support html/css/javascript and you won't see those interactions.
    – Mxx
    Mar 3 '13 at 7:48
  • Is it possible for someone to reverse-engineer their "secret sauce" and run javascript inside Gmail?
    – Nemo
    Mar 3 '13 at 7:51
  • @Capt.Nemo that's a really vague question. What exactly are you trying to do?
    – Mxx
    Mar 3 '13 at 7:52
  • 1
    @Mxx 1) Perhaps they are and 2) Perhaps they try
    – gerrit
    Mar 3 '13 at 11:17

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