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Read gmail cookies

Posted on 2011-09-05
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Hi Experts,

Is there possible to retrieve email from Google cookie?
Site is 'google.com' and cookie name is 'GAUSR'.
I tried everything but nothing works, so I'm not sure it's possible to read Google cookies at all.

Thanks for any help.
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Question by:Zado
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by:wmadrid1
wmadrid1 earned 100 total points
ID: 36484856
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 36485402
When you say "I tried everything" -- can you please show us what you tried?  
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by:Zado
ID: 36487541
Well, instead 'everything' I should write 'all standard procedures', basically I just played with $_COOKIE, but it just doesn't work. Anyway, it doesn't matter if it's really impossible to retrieve user's email from Google cookie. The idea is, I want to add some subscription (something like newsletter) form to my website and I wanted to insert automatically visitor's email into email input field, so he would need to just click 'subscribe'. If it's impossible with Google cookie, can I do this with any other service's cookie? Facebook, Twitter?
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Expert Comment

by:crazedsanity
ID: 36488625
As explained by the link provided by wmadrid1, cookies are not accessible from another domain.  In other words, unless you're requesting Gmail cookie information from gmail.com, you cannot access it.
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Expert Comment

by:Ray Paseur
ID: 36488715
Required reading here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTTP_cookie

Most users would know their own email address, and most can type it quickly into a "subscribe" form.  I would not try to program around this with cookies.  You would need to become a DoubleClick client (at least) and maybe more to get into the world of cookie sharing.  In addition, you would risk violating the terms of other web sites, many of which have privacy policies that say, "We will not rent or sell your email address."  And there are some criminal penalties for sending unwanted emails.  You would be on very firm ground in defending yourself against a criminal spamming complaint if you could show the date, time and IP address associated with the collection of a client's email address, along with the clear evidence that the client typed the address and clicked a "subscribe" button.

You can write Facebook applications that will enable you to get some of the client's personal information from Facebook.  The FB developers know how to do that. References:
http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/api/permissions/
http://www.facebook.com/terms.php
http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

Best regards, ~Ray
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by:Zado
ID: 36488958
Thanks.
Ray, I don't want to spam, I just wanted to have visitor's email inserted in newsletter form in email input field, then visitor decides if he wants to subscribe (then he simply click 'Subscribe', his email is already inserted) or not. I will read your links now, thanks.
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by:Zado
ID: 36488975
Maybe it's a bit silly, but it would probably increase number of subscribers.
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Ray Paseur earned 200 total points
ID: 36489178
It's not about whether you want to spam or not, it's about immunizing yourself against a criminal charge.  And while you can make an argument that it might increase the number of subscribers, you might want to consider whether asking for the email address would really decrease the number of subscribers.  My guess is that if the user is interested in receiving the communications, they will give you the email address, and if they are not interested in receiving the communications, they will not give you the address, and they will unsubscribe or just delete the messages.

From the perspective of the poor user... Imagine if any script could get any email address by nothing more than having the client visit a web page.  As you're probably aware, the mere action of visiting a page can trigger a form to be submitted.  If the form could be prepopulated with an email address there would be no end to spam!  That's why the law and the technology do not want to allow us to do this.
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Assisted Solution

by:crazedsanity
crazedsanity earned 200 total points
ID: 36489203
It could also turn people away.  Personally, if I saw my email address appear in a form on a website I'd never visited before, I would wonder how it got there.  Typing an email address is a very simple step; if a user can't be bothered to type it in, they probably wouldn't bother reading the newsletter (and would potentially send it to SPAM anyway, which could quickly get your newsletter and/or email server black-holed.
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by:Zado
ID: 36491014
Thanks for your advice.
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