If you've finally succumbed to the email tractor beam that is Gmail but still have email sitting around in other accounts, it's not hard to suck in those old messages into your Gmail archive. The Official Gmail blog runs down how. In short, you're setting up Gmail's POP mail fetcher to grab messages from your old accounts, with a little automatic label-and-archive action thrown in for good measure. Tips for importing old email to Gmail
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The Digital Inspiration blog points out a Gmail trick that's been just under the surface all along (not that our commenters haven't noticed). Everyone who has an "[email protected]" address can also receive mail sent to "[email protected]" What's the big deal? Well, knowing this gives you a stronger hand when you fight against spam, bacn, and all that other not-so-important but distracting email. Try giving out one or the other addresses to important, close contacts, while using the other for all the other stuff. What uses can you think of (or have used already) for this trick? Offer up the goods in the comments. Wow! All Gmail Users Are Given Two Separate Email Addresses
The built-in Google Talk client in Gmail has added an "Invisible" option to the status dialog, letting you appear offline or unavailable to other Gchat users, but able to see who's online and start a conversation under the radar. The feature doesn't appear to be available in Google Talk's standalone client, and, in fact, signing into Talk will nix your stealthy status if you've got Gmail open simultaneously. Seems like a good way to keep distractions at bay (or at least be distracted only when you choose). The "Invisible" feature is only available to users of the new Gmail interface. For more chat-when-you-want-to control, check out a tool to auto-set your status to idle when busy. Invisible Mode in Gmail Chat
One of the nicest things about IMAP in Gmail—which can download and upload messages to the server, versus POP's download-only—is that you can drag and drop folders of messages into Gmail using any IMAP client. Over at the Draconis Software blog, reader Ryan had about 10,000 messages in Apple Mail he wanted to store in Gmail. He writes: It was simple: I merely added Gmail as an IMAP account to my Apple Mail client, then just dragged folder-by-folder all the messages important to me onto my Gmail account. It took a while to transfer all the messages (be sure to open the Activity window in Mail to see your progress), but once it was done, all my old messages were safely stored in Gmail and had their original dates! Perfect! Unlike pre-IMAP methods of importing messages, like Ryan says, using IMAP will preserve the messages' original dates. If you're not using Apple Mail, check out how to turn Thunderbird into the ultimate Gmail IMAP client.
Switching to Gmail
Google Chat's three different interfaces have moved closer together in features with the addition of group chat for the new version of Gmail. Group chat has been available for a few months in the Google Chat gadget, and those invited to chat must be using either the gadget or the new version of Gmail. Still, it's a handy feature for groups who all use Gmail or those using GChat as their secret at-work IM. Oh, and they've added smileys as well.
While it's not as good as the excellent Filter Assistant user script, Gmail's added a useful feature to messages: the ability to filter email like the one you're viewing. To do so, click on the drop-down on the top right, and choose "Filter messages like this." That will open a new filter form with the From: field filled in with the sender (and in the case of mailing lists, the list email address.) You can also add folks to your contacts, report phishing and other actions from that menu.
Gmail users: If you regularly compose emails to a set group of multiple recipients, it's time you gave Gmail's contact groups a go. To create a new group, click the Contacts link in the sidebar and then the Groups tab. Click the Create Group link and enter in every address you want in your group and give the group a name. Next time you need to compose an email to the group, just start typing the group name. Gmail adds the group to your autocomplete list, so you can add countless contacts to your email with just a few keystrokes. This isn't a new feature by any means, but it's hard not to appreciate a good grouping implementation when you need to regularly communicate with a set group of contacts.