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I have email accounts on several domains that use Google Mail, and thus far I've only ever used POP to send and receive mail from a single inbox. This is quite functional, and as long as I remember to select the appropriate FROM address when starting a new thread, mostly works without any additional thought: messages received on account A are replied to via account A, and so on.

My only complaint is the lag -- I've seen sometimes as much as a half hour between messages arriving in an inbox before being imported into my primary inbox via POP.

My question is this: Google also supports IMAP. Would that be in any way preferable over POP access? Reduced lag would be nice, but not at a general speed cost, if everything I do has to check another mailbox too.

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The Gmail custom address used to have the problem of "on behalf of" . Now this can be resolved by using the details SMTP servers of your other email provider.. This is explained in the below link @ Globinch globinch.com/2011/01/08/… –  user62069 Jan 9 '11 at 12:26
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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

IMAP is the superior protocol. It will automatically sync emails across multiple devices and computers and by default it keeps your emails on the server. This means if you delete, move, read, or mark an email as unread this will automatically be updated on all your devices. Because IMAP keeps your emails on the server you always have a backup in case your computer dies.

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While you are correct, it looks like GMail doesn't support importing mail via IMAP, only exposing it that way. Thanks. –  Adam Tuttle Nov 17 '10 at 20:07
    
Note that IMAP uses a decent amount of bandwidth and is slower to respond than mail stored locally received over POP –  Force Flow Nov 18 '10 at 2:50
    
I don't know what you mean by importing mail via IMAP. Are you trying to send emails saved on your computer to the Gmail Server? –  MHrappstead Nov 18 '10 at 2:56
    
Are you using an email client (ex. Outlook) to receive emails? If so you might want to check how often it's set to look for new mail. This could be why it sometimes can take half an hour before you receive an email. You may also want to look into Google ActiveSync. Using ActiveSync you will receive emails almost instantly. –  MHrappstead Nov 18 '10 at 3:00
    
No, as I said in my question, I have multiple email accounts at various domains all using Google Mail. I just want a single inbox to view and respond to all email. Similar to the "Universal Inbox" concept on mobile phones. I am accomplishing this today by having Google Mail POP into my other accounts and bring the mail into a central one, and had thought perhaps IMAP would be a wiser approach, but it turns out IMAP is not an option. While Google Mail does offer IMAP access to its mail store, it doesn't offer IMAP importing from an external account, as it does with POP. –  Adam Tuttle Nov 19 '10 at 13:44
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I use forward instead.

i.e. you forward the mails from the secondary inboxes to the primary one, and then you access the primary one as you wish.

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The disadvantage of this approach, I would argue, is that an ongoing conversation involves two of your email addresses. –  Adam Tuttle Nov 19 '10 at 13:40
    
@Adam: why? you can still send emails using the custom From: field. It's like POP retrieving but without the lag. –  Lohoris Nov 20 '10 at 8:56
    
The email chain, upon inspection, would show that it had been forwarded to a 3rd party. –  Adam Tuttle Nov 24 '10 at 15:30
    
@Adam: and this is a problem because...? –  Lohoris Nov 24 '10 at 15:38
    
It doesn't pose a technical problem, but it looks unprofessional. It's preference. –  Adam Tuttle Nov 25 '10 at 1:42
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I think I understand Adam's quest here.

The forward option is an alternative. The mails being forward from secondary gmail-accounts will look like they first had come to your premium-inbox/account. That is, they'll not look like they've been forward with a Fwd:-sign. But I don't know what the case is if you forward from other mail-providers. Some of them may not have a forward-functionality which leads to only use the gmail POP-solution.

However, in the gmail-POP solution you can set a label on every mail from the secondary account. But with the forward-functionality you won't be able to filter it as good since your mail-address can occur in different mailing lists and such.

I don't think the forward option is a viable alternative and I would too, see some kind of instant synchronization as IMAP do instead of POP. At least, I haven't seen any other solution yet :)

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