Feeds

GMail shakes IMAP out of coma

Mail protocol wasn't dead, only sleeping

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Google has slipped IMAP support into its GMail service, allowing users to manage their mail on the server and access it using different clients, with the status of their messages maintained.

IMAP is a vast improvement over POP3 - the more popular protocol for collecting email - though it seems GMail will continue to support both. The feature was reported by DownloadSquad, which says not all users have access to the functionality yet, though it is spreading.

Users can try logging off and reconnecting, or use the newly available help pages.

The POP3 user connects to the server, downloads their mail, and disconnects. Once they've downloaded their mail they can sort it into directories and see which messages they've read, or not. IMAP provides that same functionality, but on the server, so the user can create folders for their mail, read messages, and see the messages they've sent from any IMAP client.

Readers with long memories might recall using IMAP 10 years ago, when Netscape started supporting the protocol, and being delighted to see all their mail from anywhere without mucking about with synchronisation protocols or carrying a laptop around. But IMAP suffers from two drawbacks which have, until now, limited its deployment.

With IMAP all email is stored on the server, including sent mail, which can easily add up to several GB of data that ISPs (who used to run mail servers in the days before Hotmail) didn't want clogging up their servers. The other problem is that IMAP requires the user to remain connected, which back in the days of dial-up internet wasn't easy to arrange, but now is much less of a challenge.

So the clients and servers have supported IMAP for decades, and the space and connectivity have finally caught up with the protocol. The real question, therefore, is why it's taken Google so long, and how long it will take its competitors to catch up. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
Ploppr: The #VultureTRENDING App of the Now
This organic crowd sourced viro- social fertiliser just got REAL
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.