Have You Ever Wondered What Gmail’s shva=1 URL Parameter Means?

By Lowell Heddings on January 7th, 2013

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/7/13
More Articles You Might Like

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!