Jonas Stawski

Everything .NET and More

Using Google Apps to host my email

About 4 months ago I wrote about Windows Live Custom Domains (WLCD). I decided to test the service with a domain that I don't use that often becase there were some features that were a show stopper for me. I gave it a shot and waited for the WLCD team to make some changes. Now I'm tired of waiting and decided to try Google Apps.

Here is a list of the lack of features that made my decision to make the switch:

  1. No support for hierarchical folders. You can't have folders within folders and that is a must have.
  2. No support for reading my email on my mobile device. I have a Palm Treo 750 with Windows Mobile 6. There was no way to read my WLCD email with Windows Mobile 5 so I was waiting for the Windows Mobile 6 upgrade for the Treo to see if there was a way to read it. Sadly, there is no way to do so. (Come on Microsoft! You are one company and you can't even provide interoperability between your own softwares/services. you have to get your act together)

Google Apps solved both of my problems. Here's the experience so far:

Gmail allows the use of IMAP so I can use it with both Micorosoft Outlook 2007 and Windows Mobile. It also allows the use of hierarchical folders by using the "\" character in their labels. For those unfamiliar with Gmail, labels are folders. Therefore I can have folders within folders. Outlook shows the folders like it's supposed to (hierarchichal tree), but the web interface (Gmail.com) shows a list of labels like this: Folder1, Folder1/Folder2, Folder1/Folder3, etc. I can easily live with this as I rarely use the web interface.

I did run into some problems with Gmail IMAP. When I delete an email it disappears from my folder, but it doesn't go to the trash folder. This is more of a "problem" with the IMAP protocol rather than Gmail. In IMAP when you delete an email it draws a line across the email and if you want to delete it you have to click on the purge button. Google ignores the "line across" functionality and instead it removes any labels to the email. Therefore instead of having a line across it disappears from your inbox or folder. The email is not phisically deleted, instead it remains in the [GMAIL]/All Mail folder of Outlook (All Mail folder of Gmail web interface). I really don't like that, but i can live with it. A work around is to manually move the item to the [GMAIL]/Trash folder. I will work on a script to do this. Maybe intercept the delete command and move the email. If I work on it and get it to work I will post the instructions here.

Another problem I have, which is a major problem, is that I can't see the content of the HTML emails I receive in my Windows Mobile Phone. This is a known issue and I've read they are working on it. At least I can see I have a new email, but can't read the content.

Keep posted for more info.

Comments (4) -

How did you setup your google apps email account on your PALM Treo. I have a Treo 750wx and I cannot seem to properly enable the my Google apps email on my smartphone. Can you give me some instructions?

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I've done that very thing on my phone.. (Alltel) doesn't work.  One of my clients on Sprint/Nextel has the same issue.  I ended up buying flexmail and can read mail with that.  Pocket outlook always dies trying to download messages.

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Interesting  post. Thanks for sharing this information.

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