How does a phrase become a link

A friend of mine sent me an email with a typo in it; she left out a space at the end of a sentence.  

Her sentence with the word "pump."  She started her next sentence with the work "It...", but she failed to put a space between the period and "It" so it read " ..."; she also didn't use an upper case i, though I doubt that matters.  It got underlined after she posted it and it was underlined when I got it.

She noticed it and discovered, on clicking it, that it was a link, to a porn site.  I clicked it and got the same site.

I kinda understand how it works, but no totally.  For example, I put
into the address field of my browser; without .com, the site came up. How does that happen?  

We are both using Gmail, which makes me think Google is searching on keywords in the text and causing links to be generated, to advertisers? But it's only a hunch.

How do URL links, without a .xxx in the name work and can this feature be disabled?
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".it" is the url country code of Italy. So your browser thinks anything ending in ".it" is an Italian website. Similarly ".ca" for Canada, ".uk" for England, etc.
.it is the country code for Italy.     Gmail recognized that a URL was present and created the hyperlink for you.    is a website and also two words with a period between them.

In email you can have a phrase and attach a url to it, usually by selecting it.  You can do that here in these comments by selecting the word/s and clicking the link icon above.,

i.e.    This is a phrase
.it is a top-level-domain for Italy. But you don't necessarily have to be in Italy to have a site using a .it suffix.

Gmail is pretty aggressive about turning possible text strings into links. I'm not sure you can change this behavior very much.

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What your friend did (inadvertently) was to create a hyperlink.  Code on the email page automatically turned the word/phrase into a hyperlink.
Webpage fields are different in the code they accept.  
Here at E-E the coders have made it "simple".  You type a word/phrase in Post a Comment, select it with the cursor and then click the link icon in the menu bar of Post a Comment.  The link icon is just to the left of the quote icon.  
A popup screen asks you to Create a Link by entering the URL of the page to which you want the word or phrase to direct anyone who clicks on it.  Click Next and then when you click Finish you have created the hyperlink.

In olden days when HTML coding was popular people would have to enter the code
<a href="">Visit W3Schools</a> .  When the code was viewed on the finished page, the viewer would see only Visit W3Schools, usually in a distinguishing color.  When that was clicked the viewer would be taken to the webpage .  You can see that the old HTML code does not work on E-E.

But as I said each webpage field can be different, so you have to know what will make a hyperlink out of a word/phrase on that page.
mikecox_Author Commented:
I would  never have imagined that.  My friend thought she had a virus LOL
lol,    a little more clickin' and she might have gotten one.
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