Google made two major changes to its online email service Gmail in the last week. They are both positive changes that should make a lot of users happy. First, Gmail is no longer invite only. That's right, if you do not have a Gmail account yet hop over to the official website to create one right away.
It is no longer necessary to be invited to join, which is great news for all users without account yet and for the service itself as usage will certainly go up quite a bit as a consequence.
The second change may be interesting to users who have to work on different computers. Gmail now offers the option to access mail accounts that support the pop3 protocol from within the Gmail interface. What this means is that you can configure the service to retrieve mails from other providers as long as they are accessible via Pop3.
This new feature does not seem to be available to anyone yet, just check your settings in the Gmail account and click on accounts.
If the option Get mail from other accounts is visible you can add other accounts to your Gmail account. I'm however not yet convinced to use Gmail as my go to email program as I have several concerns in regards to the service, and especially online storage in particular.
I do not trust companies enough to have important mails or files stored online on a server. There is always the possibility of misuse and I don't want to take any risks. Maybe I'm a little paranoid about this whole thing. I also do not want to risk the chance that mail gets lost because it is only hosted online.
Still, I will continue to download my Gmail emails using Thunderbird and I'm happy with the solution. Mainly because I only work on one computer. I can see the advantages if you work in more than one location or on multiple devices as it is more complicated then to keep everything accessible and in-sync at all times.
How to add pop3 providers to Gmail
Update: Four years later and Gmail is still offering to retrieve mail from other providers. Providers like Hotmail have in the meantime started to offer similar options so that their users can also retrieve emails via Pop3 from other mail providers. This is handy for users who only use a website to do email.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.