Some Gmail users have reported that there are new settings showing up in the “Forwarding and POP” tab of Gmail that enable IMAP support. A “Supported IMAP Client List” has also been published in the Help Center. The help article that said Gmail does not support IMAP is gone (link should be dead). The new page gives links to instructions for enabling IMAP access in all the popular mail clients: Outlook (Express, 2003, 2007), Apple Mail, Windows Mail, Thunderbird 2.0, and even the iPhone.
I’ve checked my settings page and found no new settings yet. (I never get new things before anyone else… Google, could you please help a blogger out?) I even tried the log out/log in method, described in an update to the report linked above. No such luck. Well, Mail Fetcher took a while to appear in my account (should’ve signed up sooner, I knew it), so maybe this will be about the same. I know I’ll post back when it’s enabled for me.
I wouldn’t ordinarily be excited about IMAP support, but lately I’ve been toying with the idea of getting Portable Firefox, Portable Thunderbird, and Portable Sunbird (is there one?), putting them on a thumb drive (4 to 8 GB, probably), and using it wherever, reducing the need to schlep a laptop. Coupled with storing files on it, common apps like Notepad++, etc., it could be quite useful. And I can always temporarily set up IMAP if I’m going to be on a trip or something when I’ll be offline, but still want to be able to write email and such. This might actually be part of the rumored new Gmail version; you never know. We do know that Google is exceptionally quiet about releases.