Gmail to Support POP Mail

Gmail starts to download messages (Computer Weekly)

Google will gradually roll out Pop3 support over the coming weeks to Gmail users, allowing them to download e-mail messages from Gmail servers to e-mail applications. Pop3 support will let users transfer server-based Gmail messages to a client-side e-mail application such as Outlook and store the messages on their local hard drive. Users with wireless devices that have Pop3-compliant e-mail clients will also be able to download their Gmail messages to personal digital assistants or mobile phones.

Google is also working on adding antivirus scanning to the web mail service, possibly by licensing an existing technology, and developing an HTML interface to make Gmail compatible with browsers that don’t support JavaScript. Currently, only JavaScript-enabled browsers can access Gmail.

These and other possible enhancements, such as adding further wireless device support through WAP or XHTML, are part of Google’s attempt to turn Gmail, which is still being beta-tested, into the most feature-rich web mail service available. “We want to make it the best e-mail service in every single dimension so you have absolutely no reason to use any other,” said Georges Harik, who is in charge of new projects at Google and whose title is director of googlettes, the term the company uses to refer to this type of effort.

Radicati Group analyst Teney Takahashi said that while Pop3 support was important, Gmail also needed a calendar and schedule manager, which rivals already offer with their web mail services. Yahoo web mail service, for instance, offers a calendaring system that integrates with various versions of Outlook. “Right now, Gmail is very good at managing mail but I’d like to see the service extended to other areas of daily life: managing your schedule and possibly being able to synchronise that with your desktop client, like Outlook, would be very valuable,” Takahashi said.

He also advised Google to consider getting Gmail into final release soon so that Gmail accounts were generally available rather than by invitation only from the company. Pop3 support may signal that Google is getting close to that final-release stage.

Interesting. Honestly, expecting Gmail–or any free service– to replicate all the features of Outlook is probably asking for too much. Before they start adding calendars and such, I’d prefer to see them improve the basic mail functions. Better sorting features, especially some way to distinguish between individuals in a message initially sent to multiple recepients, would be nice, for example.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jeff Quinton says:

    They’re trying to keep up with the Firefox software developers with all the other additions – good article in the most recent Business 2.0 on the development of Firefox.

  2. Eric says:

    Actually, support for a Calendar shouldn’t be to hard- I think they could likely adapt Mozilla calendar, and use the iCal standard, allowing users to store a calendar on their servers, accessible from anywhere.

  3. Coca Bogdan says:

    I really hope that this are going to be for free in the final version as weel, not like Yahoo/MSN are asking money from us every time… money for POP3, money for a bigger storage …etc