Gmail Now Offers IMAP / Push Email!

October 23, 2007

(Update 11/26/07: Chatter has been updated, and this has been fixed! See related blog post and updated instructions on how to configure Chatter.)

(Update 11/20/07: A new beta version of Chatter Email fixes problems with Gmail’s IMAP. I’ve begun using Gmail once again, and I love it!)

(UPDATE 10/30/07: Problems with how emails look after going through Gmail’s IMAP has forced me to go back to Fastmail. See related blog post.)

Gmail now allows people to connect via IMAP — effectively giving people the “power” to instaneously push Gmail emails to their mobile devices, computer programs, and favorite webmail services. And if you’ve been a regular reader of my blog, you know how much an advocate I am of using Chatter on Palm Treos, using Gmail AND Fastmail.fm. Now that Gmail offers IMAP, you can just drop Fastmail and use Gmail by itself.

Wonderful! I’ve been so looking forward to moving from Fastmail to Gmail.

Here’s how you can set Chatter to do IMAP with Gmail (at least until Chatter is updated to automatically configure Gmail with IMAP):

  1. You need to configure Gmail to allow IMAP. Within Gmail on the computer screen, click on “Settings” then the “Forwarding and POP / IMAP” tab. Then click on “Enable IMAP”. (NOTE: if you don’t see this yet, then try logging out and then into your Gmail account. Sometimes this will do the trick. If you still don’t see this, then wait a bit longer …)
  2. Within Chatter on your Treo, pull down the top menu and select “New Account”
  3. In the “Quick Setup” window, under “Choose the account type …” drop-down menu, select “Generic IMAP Account”
  4. You’ll be taken to “Account Definition.” Under the “Define” tab, fill in the following. Name: (type in a nickname for this account); IMAP Server: (type “imap.gmail.com”); Login Name: (type your email address including the “@” — i.e., “johndoe@gmail.com”. If you have a Google App account, use the account domain name and email — i.e., “john@johndoe.com”); Password: (type your Gmail password)
  5. Under the “Deliver” tab, make sure the following boxes are checked: “Sync Messages”, “Keep Flags Synced”, and “Use SSL”. Everything else is up to you.
  6. Under the “Other” tab, the settings are up to you.
  7. Under the “SMTP” tab, and after saying yes to “Do you want to create a SMTP profile?”, set the following: Server: (type “smtp.google.com”); Login Name (make sure your gmail email address is spelled correctly here); Password (type your gmail password); Return Address (same as your gmail email address); Full Name (type whatever full name you want here). MAKE SURE there is a check next to “SSL”.
  8. Click on OK.
  9. Chatter should now connect to Gmail — and you will now be able to receive and send emails via your Gmail account.

Update: here’s the official announcement from Google about Gmail getting IMAP.

Update #2: here’s my original blog post explaining how to set up Chatter on your Treo with Fastmail and Gmail. I’ll do a new blog post soon with this info, but leaving Fastmail out. Bye bye Fastmail, you were good to me, yet it’s time to say bye.

Update #3: here’s an official blog post from Palm saying that while Versamail won’t work nicely with Gmail’s new IMAP access, Chatter will indeed work well.

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25 Responses to “Gmail Now Offers IMAP / Push Email!”


  1. […] 27th, 2007 EDIT (10/23/2007): Gmail now allows direct IMAP connection via Chatter!  See link for instructions on how to configure Chatter to work directly with […]

  2. Alison Says:

    With IMAP it allows you to sync mails between different devices too (handheld, various home PCs etc). Write mail on one, can access it on another device offline later. One step beyond POP3.


  3. […] 30th, 2007 When Gmail began allowing IMAP access, I thought it’d be the start of a terrific relationship. Like the beginning of every […]

  4. Nick Says:

    for SMTP settings, I use server:imap.gmail.com
    and check TLS, not SSL. works well for me.

    one question, do flags sync for read messages? if i read a message on my computer via gmail.com, chatter still sees it as unread. thanks!

  5. Proud Geek Says:

    Hi Nick – yes, flags not sync’ing seems to be a problem between Chatter and Gmail. In fact, this problem was the smaller of several major problems between the two that quickly drove me back to Fastmail / Chatter. I recently wrote a blog post about these problems – see the link in the “Updated” sentence at the top of this blog post.

  6. Nick Says:

    Thanks, wasn’t sure if you’d witnessed the ‘mark as read’ flag problem in addition to the other flags you mentioned. I’m sure this will get fixed fast if marc from chatter gets involved.

  7. Pedro Says:

    A beta version of chatter is available. Check Chatter forum.

  8. sturgis Says:

    I think you guys are confused here.
    This is not push email, is pull, which is quite different.

    You can pull imap (email is in the server and folders too) from any computer/handheld).
    You can also pull pop (email then is either copied to your computer/handheld and normally removed from the server. Folders are local, not in the server)

    Both are fine. Imap sure is better, but push is different.
    Push is the server pushing the email to your device, not in the other way around. This is a very peculiar setup. You have two free companies offering you free push service: http://www.emoze.com (for gmail and gmail apps) and http://www.consilient.com (for any imap or pop). The first one is far better. My personal opinion.

    Good luck

  9. laad Says:

    No comment
    so i would like to launch push mail with gmail for my subscribers. what are the conditions for launch it?

    thanks!!

  10. Daniel Marquard Says:

    This article is very misleading. Google doesn’t and has never offered PUSH services for Gmail.

  11. Mike Says:

    Google IMAP supports “PUSH” in that it supports IMAP IDLE. It all depends on your definition of PUSH. I define PUSH as I see an email as it hits my inbox on the server. Some people add a requirement that an open connection doesn’t need to be maintained, disqualifying IMAP IDLE. I don’t.

    See:
    http://blogs.sun.com/chienr/entry/gmail_supports_imap_idle
    http://www.isode.com/whitepapers/imap-idle.html

  12. Jamie Says:

    @ Mike

    How you define push is not correct.
    Push means the server sends the email to you without you actively requesting it.
    Pull is actively requesting it.

  13. Ronnie Says:

    This is article is NOT talking about push technology. I have yet to try it out, but emoze.com looks like a free alternative if you don’t have access to an exchange server.

  14. feelme Says:

    Yah…

    This article is misleading. They don’t seem to understand what push email is or how it works. Anyone know whether google plans to introduce push email sometime soon?

    Thanks

  15. Bhupesh Says:

    Hi,

    i m working on a push mail application, using Noop. For Gmail(imap.gmail.com) we are not getting Recent mail counts as Noop response.
    But, what i am getting when new mails comes like “some count EXISTS”. So shall i treat is as a identification for any new mail received on the server.

    Bhupesh

  16. SB Says:

    LOL
    A geek who doesn’t know what push email is.

  17. Dale Lane Says:

    To be fair to this guy, it’s not too unreasonable to describe IMAP IDLE as push email.

    I guess it depends on what your priority is. If you want a way to keep an eye on your inbox without the high battery hit and higher data transfer that you’d get from polling, then IMAP IDLE from a mobile device is a good answer. But no, you’re probably not gonna get updates as quickly as with a system that uses a BlackBerry-style notification backchannel, because you could end up waiting for the next time your phone tries to ping the gmail server.

    Even allowing for this, it’s still pretty quick though – and the noop ping isn’t too expensive.

    This all depends on whether you have a mobile client which has support for IMAP IDLE, which doesn’t seem to be too widespread yet. For example, if you’re on Windows Mobile, the default Outlook client supports IMAP, but not IMAP IDLE, so you’re left with having to manually Send/Receive to get updates or poll like you would have to with POP3 access anyway. Not very “push”. I think there are a few Symbian S60 devices which support IMAP IDLE out of the box though – I’ve seen people use gmail’s IMAP with the E71 and say good things about it. So for some people, it’s probably worth a try.


  18. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.


  19. What is imap i don’t understand

  20. Sean Metzgar Says:

    This is not PUSH, push service does not requiring “syncing” with the server at set intervals. Push means that the data is PUSHED do to your device from a server using an open data socket, much like IM services operate. Each device is given a unique resource ID, and the server records those IDs and pushes data to any available resource currently online. If a device is not online, messages are pushed all at once when the device is ready (has signal or powered back on).

  21. David Crosby Says:

    Very useful information, always good to learn more.


  22. Some useful info, could be slighty more detailed but thank you, is always good to learn

  23. Appointmentcareful Says:

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