Not only does this give me a single view on all my email, it also gives me access to all of that email even if Iâ€™m not connected to any network, as well as giving me complete access to my calendar and contacts lists.
Iâ€™ve done it this way for years.
But I know that itâ€™s a really ineffective way to manage email when you need to access it on different devices and from different places. Too often have I been through the ridiculous process of copying gigantic PST files from desktop PC via server to travelling laptop and vice versa.
After asking friends and colleagues what they did in environments like mine â€“ a mixture of domain email and web email like Gmail â€“ I decided to channel all my email through Gmail via IMAP and then bring Gmail into Outlook.
That way, Iâ€™d have only one email account to deal with, one that I have confidence from experience that I can always get to from whatever device, whether thatâ€™s a PC or a mobile device. And doing that via IMAP rather than POP means that any changes I make on any device (deleting emails, for instance) would be reflected everywhere.
In Twitter conversations last night, some people were suggesting I move completely to Google Apps. I donâ€™t want to do that â€“ Iâ€™m happy with Outlook and my desktop apps (Word, PowerPoint, etc) as well as how I tend to share content with others using a mixture of Dropbox and Live Mesh.
So yesterday, I set up my Gmail account to fetch email from my separate domain addresses. At the same time, I disabled POP in Gmail, enabled IMAP, removed all email accounts from Outlook and re-did the Gmail one in Outlook as an IMAP account.
The fun started the first time Outlook attempted to synchronize with Gmail.
Iâ€™ve had my Gmail account since October 2004. It still contains almost every email since then, some 46,000 messages. I should have realized that Outlook would want to bring in all of that. And of course, I already have all of that in various PST files, the current one as well as archives.
Where things stand at the moment is that Outlook is suffering from severe indigestion with its efforts to synchronize content with Gmail. Itâ€™s unresponsive most of the time and has completely crashed three times today so far.
So Iâ€™ve reverted everything I did over the weekend until I figure out the best step for this, which I think will have to mean first deleting all that 4+ yearsâ€™ worth of stuff still sitting in Gmail (and which, incidentally, represents less than 36% of the free storage Gmail currently gives you). One of the limitations of Gmail, though, is you can either delete emails one screenful at a time, or everything. No other choices that I can see.
Meanwhile I have an email gap in Outlook from Saturday morning. A pretty weak excuse for saying that emailâ€™s a mess, I know, but it is, more of a disaster zone than it usually is.
Normal service will resume as soon as possible. Or maybe not. Perhaps this is the time I should really push those better ways of contact.
And if anyone has a â€˜an easy as 1-2-3â€™ guide to what Iâ€™m trying to do, Iâ€™d love to hear about it. Thanks.