POP Goes the Gmail

Google has announced plans to snap up its Gmail service with POP, or post office protocol, over the next couple of weeks.

The feature, announced yesterday, will allow users to check e-mail via other e-mail programs, like Outlook and Eudora — and, thus, to download e-mail and view it offline — or view e-mail on PDAs and other hand-held devices that support POP.

The POP feature also allows users to automatically forward their new incoming messages to any e-mail account specified. Gmail already had the free forwarding feature.

Your Choice

“It’s your mail,” the company Web site said. “You should be able to choose how and where you read it. You can even switch to other e-mail services without having to worry about losing access to your messages. Think of it as e-mail portability.”

Google is betting that POP will be a popular addition to its free e-mailservice. Free POP, the company figured, is more attractive than paid POP services touted by rival Yahoo Mail.

Consumers might take to it, but how will e-mail marketers feel about this feature?

That remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: there has been a lot oftalk about Google’s automated scanning software designed to serve ads and analysts said this could stir things up more.

Filtering Complexities Increased

“If you are worrying about whether your permission-based marketing e-mail will get through to Gmail accounts, the addition of POP accounts increases the complexities of the filtering that these Gmail accounts may use,” George Bilbrey, vice president of Delivery Assurance Solutions for e-mail performance company Return Path, told the E-Commerce Times.

“So you [marketers] not only have to worry about what Google will filter at the ISP level but you would have to worry about any local client side filtering that POP account users would add. It may not be apparent to marketers which Gmail addresses are Web-based and which are POP.”

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