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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Gmail IMAP Support

Gmail seems to be rolling out IMAP support. IMAP is short for Internet Message Access Protocol and allows you to access your Gmail emails from other clients, like Outlook or Thunderbird. Wait, wasn’t that already possible for some time using POP (Post Office Protocol)? Yes, but IMAP is superior, as Google explains in their help entry:

Unlike POP, IMAP offers two-way communication between your web Gmail and your email client(s). This means when you log in to Gmail using a web browser, actions you perform on email clients and mobile devices (ex: putting mail in a ’work’ folder) will instantly and automatically appear in Gmail (ex: it will already have a ’work’ label on that email).

In addition, IMAP provides a better method to access your mail from multiple devices. If you check your email at work, on your mobile phone, and again at home, IMAP ensures that new mail is accessible from any device at any given time.

Google also state that IMAP offers a more stable overall experience, less prone to losing messages or downloading them several times.

Here’s how you can check if IMAP is already available for your Gmail account; click Settings, and check if the fifth tab is named “Forwarding and POP” or if it’s already named “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”. If the latter is the case – DownloadSquad has a screenshot showing this – you are lucky and can start configuring your IMAP client if you wish to. (If you don’t see IMAP in Gmail yet you might also want to try logging out of Gmail and logging back in, though that didn’t help here and may just have worked coincidentally for some of you.)

[Thanks Or, Jon Henshaw and Chris Gilmer.]


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