Google Mail, IMAP and Apple Mail

Oct 25, 2007

Gmail IMAPYesterday Google premiered IMAP connectivity for their mail platform Google Mail. It turned out pretty good but far from perfect.

Pros

  • Synchronizing protocol gives me the same state on all my devices. (workstation, cellphone, web interface, laptop, etc)
  • Centralized means backup means reliable and time-saving. (and I feel a bit safer. Once in a while computers crash and burn)
  • Labels are treated as folders, the IMAP way. Hierarchy is achieved through / (slash) separator.
  • Starring or un-starring a message is as simple as setting or unsetting the "important" flag. Very clever.

Cons

  • Very slow connection. This is a real pain in the ass. My private IMAP account and server interfaces in speeds of about 1-50 MB/s while the Gmail IMAP-connections has a burst rate of about 150 KB/s
  • Seems like Google caches folder/label indexes and only refreshes this cache when a new IMAP connection is made. IMAP clients does not disconnect very often which has a side-effect – labels created or modified in Gmail does not update in the client. The trick is to reconnect (restart Apple Mail) to do a refresh.
  • The IMAP interface is under testing and Gmail is still in beta mode, so there is no insurance whatsoever for Google not to pull the plug on IMAP. I may have to go back to POPing into my own IMAP again, which really is bit of a hack.

Further reading

Google Mail Help Center: How do I enable IMAP? Wired: Google Adds IMAP Support To GMail