With almost 8GB of online storage space per account and rich mail-management features, Google’s Gmail has become the webmail service of choice for tech-savvy users. Many people use multiple computers and smartphones on a regular basis. So the ability to access Gmail’s webmail interface from any web-enabled device makes a lot of sense – but what of those other email addresses? As luck would have it, you can use Gmail to consolidate several accounts and access them from any computer via a single inbox.
1) You can only import contacts and old messages into Gmail from selected third-party email platforms – Google uses its own system for the migration and you can’t just specify server details. AOL, Hotmail, Live.com and Yahoo! are on the list, though, and you can see the other supported platforms at http://tinyurl.com/merge-inbox. If your third-party account is supported, start by logging into the Gmail account into which you want to import messages. Click Settings at the top-right of the page followed by the Accounts and Import tab.
2) Click the Import mail and contacts button and enter the email address of the third- party account whose messages you wish to import. Click Continue and enter the password for this third-party account. Click Continue again to see the options. You can import contacts, messages or both as a one-off, continue to check for and import new messages from the account for 30 days (useful for an account you’re about to stop using but may still get mail sent to), and apply a suitable label to imported messages. Click ‘Start import’ to proceed; you may not see the messages immediately and they can take up to 48 hours to appear.
3) To use Gmail as the webmail client for another active email account, start by importing its messages (if possible) as described in Steps 1 and 2; this is not essential, but it’s useful to archive old messages within Gmail. Then, in the Gmail account you’re using, go to Settings, Accounts and Import, and click the Add POP3 email account button. You’ll be prompted for the third-party email address and, when you click Next Step. the account’s username, password and POP3 sewer details. These details may be filled in automatically, but if not you should be able to find them in the Help section of the third-party provider’s website. It’s worth ticking the option to automatically label new messages for this account to make them easily identifiable. Tick the Archive option and they’ll also be kept out of the top-level Gmail Inbox.
4) Click the Add Account button and you’ll be asked if you want to be able to send
emails as if they’re from the third-party account, as well as receive them. lf you do, choose Yes, Next Step, and you’ll be prompted for a few more details about the account. Click Next Step again and you’ll have the option to use Gmail’s own server for mail sent from this address, or the external email account’s own server. Stick with Gmail unless you have a specific reason not to.
5) Click Next Step, and Gmail asks to send a verification email to the third-party account you specified. Click Send Verification, then check the inbox of the third-party account for the message; it contains a link to a Google web page that completes the verification process when you open it, or a number you can paste into the original Gmail verification window. With verification complete, you’ll be able to select the third-party account as the from: address when composing an email. Go to Settings, Accounts and Import and you’ll see this third-party account listed under the Check mail using POP3: section. You can add more external accounts in the same way.
6) The one type of account Gmail can’t merge with is another Gmail account. There is a workaround. Using your main Gmail account, go to Settings, Accounts and Import. Under the Send mail as: heading, click Send mail from another address. Provide the second Gmail account details and complete the verification process. This adds an option to send emails as if they’re from the second Gmail account. To receive messages from the second account, log out of your main one and into the second one. Click Settings, Forwarding and POP/MAP, click ‘Add a forwarding address’ and enter your main Gmail address; again, verify the account to which mail is forwarded.