GMail, the most popular (and my favorite) Email service from Google has added IMAP support in addition to the existing POP3 support. One of the advantages of IMAP is that you can sync your mail from multiple clients. With POP3, even if you read a mail from one client, it isn’t reflected on the other client and you have to re-read the E-Mails.
IMAP helps in synching the client operations to the server and this feature is one of the major reasons for the popularity of Microsoft Exchange Server.
You can enable IMAP Access in GMail via the Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP link.
Setup Instructions for most of the popular IMAP Clients can be found on https://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=75726 (Even iPhone can sync with GMail)
I quickly setup accounts on Windows Live Mail and Outlook 2003 to see IMAP access in Action. On outlook once the account is setup, you have to explicitly subscribe to the IMAP folders.
Outlook took almost thrice the time to download the message headers when compared to Windows Live Mail. So on my home PC, I might be sticking with Windows Live Mail to read/sync GMail.
- Starred messages in GMail show up as "Flags" in the Email Client and vice versa
- New folders created in the Client show up as Labels on the web client.
- When you move a message to a folder in the client, the labels are automatically applied.
Also you don’t need to worry about the bandwidth required to download all your GMail mails ! Only the headers are downloaded by default and the mail content is downloaded on demand.
IMAP access will definitely help me save some time at my work place (My employer might say otherwise 😀 ). If GPRS cost comes down in India, I can as well setup the account on my HTC Touch 🙂 (By the way its already synching with GMail over Bluetooth 🙂 )