Is Google getting its ideas from the Ukraine? Maybe

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Google recently introduced a new feature which created a lot of buzz – Anti Phishing Keys or email sender verification. However, it works only in Gmail. But are they gleaning ideas from a few startups out there?

SenderOK– a Ukrainian startup – has been offering this feature for over 6 months as its standard function. Moreover, it works not only in Gmail, but also in other popular web mail services such as Yahoo Mail, MS Hotmail and Live. The plugin extends the functionality of all widely used browsers, and also works in MS Outlook where it has the most advanced set of features.

Google has also announced another “innovation” – email sorting. Turns out SenderOK came up with this feature prior to that announcement as well. The product solves a lot of problems related to email management and social networking for business people.

This is the third Ukrainian startup that has appeared to catch Google on the hop: Viewdle (TechCrunch 50 2008, LeWeb 2008) was first – Marissa Mayer discussed it in her video interview here; UpriseApp was second (it competes with OffiSync that is actively supported by Google; and SenderOK is third. SenderOK launched about a year and a half ago, and its first public presentation happened at last year’s Demopit at TechCrunch 50 (September 2008).

  • Riaz Kanani

    Email sender verification or anti phishing keys is just a visual indicator of whether a sender passes an email sender authenticating technology called DKIM (aka domain keys) – it was invented by Yahoo and Cisco (more here:

    Microsoft has its own authentication standard called sender id.

    Not sure the ukranian company can really be said to have given Google this idea..

  • Viktor

    SenderOK has easy to copy functions, so it’s predictable way…

  • Ilya Zobnov

    Ideas to get rid of email mess and so on are the ones up in the air. To me there is no surprise to see several companies dealing with that.

    But taking note of the resources available to Google, I’d suggest that the timeframe needed to deliver the service would be considerable less for the web giant then for any European startup.

    I’d love to see SenderOK gain a great success, but Google has extremely loyal user-base and popularity, in Ukraine too.

  • Allen MacCannell @ SenderOK

    Images of SenderOK in action across various platforms can be seen at

    Google is validating SenderOK’s outlook on what Email platforms need going forward.

    Obviously Google and the other platforms can spend $millions each *implementing* anti-phishing icon ideas for themselves, but what SenderOK does is implement an individualized (sender specific corporate logo) anti-phishing icon on all the 4 major US-based platforms at the same time.

    And this cross-platform implementation is definitely not easy to copy. Others have tried and failed.

    I realize that Google likes to throw tons of money into purely in-house R&D but what wouldn’t make sense is for another email service to do this for themselves when the wheel has already been invented for them to offer this cross-platform. We’re not greedy and would be more than happy to help others use our wheel that’s already been invented.

    If an email platform provider wanted to actually…say…make money in that corporations would gladly pay to have their emails authenticated with company-specific icons in the inbox…then they could do a lot better than to say they’d only show the icons to users inside their own proprietary email program.

    The cross-platform SenderOK anti-phishing icon solution now needs very large partners to make sure our plug-in gets incredibly wide distribution. This potential partner may already be asking people to download software of their own.

    Right now SenderOK is different things to different people. We are known for sorting and announcing VIP and Important email (by voice) and we put photo business cards in the email header pane for people to see whose sending them email. Like the product of its mother company, WebCEO, the product is useful to different people in different ways.

    But there is no denying the value of this anti-phishing function, in that authenticated email will soon be differentiated from non-authenticated email on most email platforms.

    There is another function of SenderOK that anticipates the future and that is that social networking companies will soon realize that they have to integrate their user profiles with email programs (analyzing senders) or lose significance. xobni has shown this to be a trend and I believe Google Wave will further validate this concept.

    For instance, if MySpace fails to find some way into email programs, by making a deal with Google, Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft or SenderOK…they are going to lose significance as a web-only destination.

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