Making a John Q Public account on Google

One of the advantages of working at Google is that you get to see neat products and features before the rest of the world does. But that can also be a disadvantage. Sometimes I’d like to talk about a fun Gmail Lab or a new Calendar feature but I’m honestly not sure whether the outside world can see the new feature. I don’t want to leak something that the outside world can’t see, so I usually I play it safe and end up not talking about any Gmail Labs, for example. I’d enjoy giving more Gmail tips but I also don’t want to show my actual email that might contain secret stuff.

I think I’ve figured out a way to solve this issue. I’ve created a new Gmail account, siliconvalleyuser (at) Let’s say it belongs to John Q Public, a power user living in Silicon Valley. Feel free to send John non-Google-related emails about fictional events: “Hey John, want to come to the party on Saturday?” or “John, here are those pictures from the fireworks this past weekend.” or “Hey John, I saw in the newpaper that you won the California lottery–congratulations!” Then when I want to do a screencast or demo some power feature of a Google account, I’ll have some realistic email to show.

Just one note: please don’t email anything to John about Google. I get way too much email about Google already, and the purpose of this account is to show different features of Gmail or Calendar. To keep this email address completely separate, I created a filter that deletes any emails that mention Google or me:

Silicon Valley User

Again, please don’t email about Google-related stuff, but feel free to email John about interesting fictional things at siliconvalleyuser (at)! I’m hoping that I can do some blog posts or videos with good tips. πŸ™‚

43 Responses to Making a John Q Public account on Google (Leave a comment)

  1. Dennis Magnusson

    That’s just a swell idea, John!

  2. Well I was going to forward one of the Nigerian emails I get…..

    Instead I just ask for some money πŸ™‚

  3. I had done the similar for all the job mails i used to receive , but learnt a lesson to be careful to use [at] to avoid spammers πŸ™‚
    {But who would not be happy to receive mails from Matt Cutts }

  4. It’s ok to send “Hey John Q Public, I prefer to see your secret stuff.”? πŸ™‚

  5. LOL. Damm there goes my opportunity to send you Work at Home emails, oh well you lose out on making a fortune. Oh well back to work for you then….

  6. What a fabulous idea. I look forward to seeing your master tips about gmail and calendar, John.

  7. Do googlers use or, or both, for their work emails?

  8. be ready to get junk mails, John… they are coming your way!! all sent by ‘real-bots”

  9. Why don’t you want to get email from any of the Matt’s in the world?

  10. Look forward to seeing demos. Email sent.

  11. So if you will leak some information as John Q Public, then no one can blame you right? πŸ™‚

    Good idea, but you might hide this post from Google πŸ™‚

  12. From the start of Gmail, I have: mailforregistrations (at) withouth any filter. I’m afraid to go there. πŸ™‚

  13. @ angilina, can anyone really hide from google?

    And Matt, I think that is a great idea. But it would be cooler to see that secret stuff πŸ™‚

  14. Of course, in any screenshots you’ll blur out the From:-fields of those emails, right? πŸ˜‰

  15. got it so we send all of our google related questions to that email address … just try and tell me you never watched life of Brian πŸ˜‰

  16. Hey, John Q Public, is this a brother of John Doe? πŸ˜‰

  17. Definately look forward to learning more about Gmail. It has the best spam filter out there. You actually get your real mail. MSN just filters out everything. Maybe you guys work a deal to handle their email for them for a charge of course πŸ˜‰ They would have happier users.

  18. Test message away…

  19. After about 100 of these, you’ll begin to wish Gmail’s filters supported regular expressions:

    Hi M@ Cut+s,

    I know you asked us not to send any emails about G0og1e, but I was hoping that you’d make an exception for me just this one time. You see… my website puts food on the table for my 17 children, and right now they’re starving because Go0gol has penalized my site for absolutely no reason…

  20. K, sent one in, with a business card from outlook, a link to my facebook photos, a copy of an invite from linkedin (as well as an actual invite). Hopefully those are good examples of stuff to play with..

  21. I think I’ve figured out a way to solve this issue

    “figured out”??? Seems a no-brainer to me. What am I missing, Matt?

    Just one note: please don’t email anything to John about Google. I get way too much email about Google already

    Why did you announce to the World an email address that you don’t want emails sent to? Surely you can get “interesting fictional things” sent to ANY email address?

  22. β€œfigured out”??? Seems a no-brainer to me. What am I missing, Matt?

    Thats not that difficult to understand, Matt does not want to use emails send to his normal address.

    To show more tips he wants to use fake emails, and how to get them sooner than to ask the community.

    Why did you announce to the World an email address that you don’t want emails sent to? Surely you can get β€œinteresting fictional things” sent to ANY email address?

    He does not want questions about Google send to the new address. It is just for showing how gmail works, explaining new features. Don’t getting things messed up.

  23. Thanks for the inside tips – test mail sent (with a bit of un-google related stuff)

  24. Yeah, I understand all that, hence the term “no-brainer” :rolleyes: . Just missing the point of the blog, I guess. Now, if any new gmail features were being mentioned………….that would be a “point”.

    BTW, most people that email someone actually include the persons name. E.g. “Hi Matt”

  25. Great tip….Thank you ! I love your blog

  26. All Matt’s out there, need to create similar dummy account before sending mail to Matt πŸ™‚

  27. What does the Q stand for? πŸ™‚

  28. “Quitaskingquestionsalready.”

  29. M@,

    Hate to bring up the Gugle thing, just wish I had somebody to complain about on another duplicate content go-around. Oops, meant to send this to cilliconevalleyuser:-)


  30. Maybe just change you name to ‘Q’ and feel like you’re in a bond flick

  31. Who is John Galt ??

    Who is John Q ??

  32. Shhh… Nobody knows it is it Matt behind John’s (Sarcasm :p)

    Are you sure Matt, you don’t get indirect questions and mails about Google or you?

  33. Hey Matt,

    A quick, unrelated question… why does Google display the Home Page in the SERPs even though you have an internal landing page specifically optimized for that phrase? It seems as if I’m seeing this in cases where the overall website is very strong. This is somewhat frustrating, because I’d prefer that someone land on a page specifically devoted to a topic, rather than the Home Page. Can you help me out? Thanks in advance…

  34. A recreational-type email address sounds like a good solution for you, ‘John Q Public’. Hope the pseudonym Gmail account experiment pans out.

  35. I am sending an email right now. LOL The subject is “John”

  36. Ok, I get it, this is not a place to complain about the gmail, but I am going to because you are trying to do all this fun stuff with gmail. About a couple of weeks ago, I was writing a long email. I was using Firefox. I use high speed internet, and I while I was writing, my internet was not down. After i finish writing, it took me about 45 min to finish writing that email, that was a very long email! Anyway, as soon as I finished writing email and as soon as I hit the send key, I got a blank white screen. I hit back, it takes me to compose screen. Boom, all my content, BOOM, GONE!! Hmm, very depressing. I am now using email client program in my computer, Thunderbird. Just thought I would let you know…..

  37. Dear John, the tests came back. The baby is yours.

  38. ok

    I will give it a try and write a few lines to you John πŸ™‚


  39. John Q, $foo, $bar, Lorem Ipsum, Hello World… Mr X πŸ™‚

    It would be a day when we will use other names.
    I’m opening two Google accounts in Chrome and Firefox.
    Is it possible to merge different Google accounts and use the same session ?

    Thank you Matt πŸ™‚

  40. Actually, I’m already a big fan of Gmail.

    I forward all my private email accounts to my gmail account, and only check my gmail account in Outlook. Gmail has an excellent spam filter. This way I’m getting the emails from all my accounts ‘cleaned’ by gmail directly in my Outlook inbox, and I hardly get spam anymore! Better than any other spam filter or program I ever tried!!!!

    Really, use gmail as a spam filter for all your other email accounts, it works like a charm!

  41. Hello Matt,

    I’m sorry if this question has been asked before, but does google see any difference as far as ranking between these two urls,


  42. About using Browser Based apps for writing LONG emails.. Here’s a suggestion.. Cut and Paste the text to Notepad or a Word Document.. That way you wont care if your browser crashes.. PAUSE. Copy Ctrl-C and Paste Ctrl-V its easy.. i always do that.. Best Browser invented is FireFox.. i cant imagine anybody using IE from the devil MS.. πŸ™‚