It’s been about 3-weeks since word about the Gmail Mail Fetcher emerged, and finally my account has the feature for me to use! In fact, several of my Gmail accounts have the feature. Ashley’s account still doesn’t have it, so don’t be surprised if the feature isn’t in your Settings quite yet.

The feature is a simple concept, yet is the only online email service that I know of offering it. Basically Gmail acts like an Outlook email client since it is able to retrieve emails from up to 5 other POP3 accounts. Here is a quick walk through on how the feature works:

First, you’ll need to go to the Settings -> Accounts option and in the “Get mail from other accounts” area click “Add another mail account“:

Gmail Mail Fetcher


Now you need to type in your account information and preferences:

Gmail Mail Fetcher


Now when you go back to the Settings screen it will show you details about the account, including an option to immediately check the account for new emails:

 Gmail Mail Fetcher


Choosing to view the history will show the last couple of checks that Gmail made for the email account:

Gmail Mail Fetcher


From the looks of it, Gmail automatically checks the email account for new messages about every 5 minutes, which is a lot better than I had expected. There are some things that I think Google could do to improve the service though. First off, there should be a “Check mail now” option available from the homepage so that I don’t have to go into the Settings to manually check for new mail. Sometimes I am expecting a new email, such as after ordering something, and I would find it useful if the “Check mail now” link was more easily accessible. Maybe some sort of drop-down menu for checking a specific account would work?

The other thing is that the 5 email account limitation is very generous but Google should have a better way of retrieving mail from other Gmail accounts. They should offer you  5 non-Gmail accounts, and 20 Gmail accounts, or something along those lines. If you are adding a Gmail account, they should disable some of the features like entering in the POP server, since Google knows that it is their own server. Actually, if you’re retrieving mail from another Gmail account, POP3 shouldn’t even be necessary since Google could provide the email account with the proper credentials to directly access the mail account.

I’m still unsure of whether I’ll actually use this feature because I do like to have the separation between my email accounts. Not only that, but I find myself forwarding mail from my other Gmail accounts because that is more instantaneous than having the mail fetched. Regardless, Gmail is one of the few email services that lets users forward mail without having to pay. Heck, Google is still one of the few online email services that doesn’t make you pay for POP3 access.

Congratulations to Google and the Gmail team for beginning the process of rolling out this feature!

News Source: Google Operating System