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The Best Gets Better: Gmail and IMAP

Google’s popular web-based e-mail app gets an upgrade.

Gmail and IMAP

The geeks have been calling for it quite literally since Gmail’s inception a few years ago. Yahoo! Mail already offers it. Now IMAP is finally here. What is so exciting? Well, anyone who has been using Gmail as their primary e-mail account (like me!) and accesses it from a multitude of locations (home, office, on their smartphone, etc) has had the problem that what you do in one location is never synced up with what you do in another. For example, if I sort through 50 e-mails that I’ve downloaded into Outlook from my Gmail account (POP access) at home, those e-mails will still be unsorted in the web-based view when I log in at the office.

With IMAP access, your e-mail client (Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, etc) maintains a constant connection to your e-mail account and updates things instantly as you go, allowing you to work both online and offline. So, messages you delete are moved to trash on the server at the same time as you do it on your home PC. Messages you compose and save as a draft on your BlackBerry are saved as a draft on the server, at home, and anywhere else you access your e-mail. It doesn’t take long to recognize how much more useful this makes Gmail, especially for those power users that get a tonne of e-mail every day.

Oh yeah, and it’s all still free. We love Google.

Read more about IMAP and Gmail on the official Gmail Blog

Tim Ayres