Favicons in Gmail? Why Isn’t This in Widespread Use?

My typical daily ritual, like most people that work on a computer begins with the grueling chore of getting those pesky emails read. Today was slightly different. When I opened my Gmail I saw a favicon being utilized in a marketing email. This tiny 16×16 favicon immediately grabbed my attention like a homing beacon. Normally I am very good at filtering out these marketing emails, but this time I had a very difficult time trying to ignore it.

email favicon

These favicons appeared in three places as seen in the three photos. First within my inbox next to my name in the subject line, and as seen below, it was next to my name in the subject line within the actual email.


Finally and most important, it appeared next to the Gmail favicon in my open Gmail Tab.

Email Favicon next to gmail favicon in browser

Naturally this got me very excited. At the time I was thinking that Google had just implemented a new feature in Gmail that I somehow missed. A feature that will allow better branding in email marketing blasts. I felt like a little kid on Christmas as I began my usual Google searches for favicons in Gmail/Email, and hoping to find a way to implement this ourselves. The very first post I saw searching for favicons in gmail was a post from Techcrunch titled, “Gmail, Now With Favicons“.

The article I found was rather disappointing to say the least. At first I thought it was only a month old, but after closer inspection I realized we were in the same month, but 3 years off. The article was dated Saturday, October 3rd, 2009. The author referenced Netflix using favicons in their email, but here we are 3 years later, and I had never seen nor heard of an example of this. I spent more time digging for a more up-to-date article, but I couldn’t find any articles discussing favicons in email after searching for roughly 15-20 minutes.

This could simply be some kind of a symbol that looks like a favicon, but if the idea was proposed for Netflix in 2009, then my question would be: What happened?favicons appearing in gmail

The idea seems to be more dead today than it was 3 years go. Also, why aren’t there more articles out there talking about this? I would think that this is an idea that would many of us would pounce on, but for some reason it never seemed to catch on. Either that or the idea was cancelled for some reason, Google was quiet about it, and the idea slowly drifted away into obscurity. In the meantime I will keep looking for an answer, and if anybody can shed some light on this situation it would be greatly appreciated!