If you aren’t a programmer you might have never thought about all that stuff in the URL when you visit Gmail, but after years of noticing this, I finally decided to look it up. Turns out it actually does stand for something.

What the shva=1 Parameter Means

According to Google engineer Mike Sego:

shva is an acronym for “Should Have Valid Authentication”

To further explain…

Once you login to Gmail, their servers need to make sure that you’re actually logged in, and adding this parameter tells the Gmail web application that you’re logged in, so the Gmail App doesn’t need to reload and re-check the authentication. Note: while testing we noticed that sometimes Gmail ignores this parameter, and sometimes it uses it.

And just to give you even more useless information…

The #inbox parameter that you can see in the location bar tells Gmail which label to load. Go ahead, change #inbox to #drafts and you’ll see that the page doesn’t completely reload, but just acts as if you had clicked on the Drafts label.

You can even use the URL bar to change to custom labels that you’ve created, and Gmail will act as if you searched. For example, using #label/Books instead of #inbox will tell Gmail to show anything with the label of Books.

And now you know a completely useless, but somewhat interesting fact.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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