Google is now allowing its millions of Gmail users to migrate their e-mail and contacts from Microsoft, Yahoo, AOL and other services to Gmail. The simple migration process will take hours or days, but could alleviate headaches of users with e-mail languishing in older accounts. The move will also help Google lure more users as people seek to leave older messaging and collaboration applications.
Users of Web mail for the last decade all have them: e-mail accounts that
they set up and have vacated to move on to another e-mail application.
on Aug. 19 opened the door for users who wish to move e-mail content and
contacts from AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and
other Web mail accounts to the search engine maker's 5-year-old Gmail
Users who want to migrate e-mail content must go to Gmail Settings,
click on the Accounts and
tab, and click "Import mail and contacts." A window will
pop out asking for the e-mail account alias the user wishes to migrate e-mail
from. Once that is entered, users are asked to enter the password for that
After the password is entered, Gmail users will see checked boxes inviting
Gmail to import contacts, import mail, import new mail for next 30 days and add
labels to all imported mail. Users can then check the boxes they desire and
click to start the import process.
Google says it will take anywhere from several hours to two days before the
imported content appears in Gmail. However, users can go about their Web
surfing business, closing Gmail and their browser; Gmail will continue
importing mail and contacts in the background. Users can check the status of
their imports by returning to the Accounts and Import tab under Settings.
Google first offered this migration
only to new account users
in May, but on Aug. 19 extended the offer to all of Gmail's millions of users.
Google Gmail Software Engineer Marcin Brodziak explained the logic
behind catering to new
users before opening up the migration to all Gmail users:
"We made this feature available for all newly created Gmail accounts
first, since people new to Gmail benefit most from being able to move their
stuff with them. But many old-time Gmail users (including us) also have old
accounts lurking. Often, these accounts predate Gmail, and occasionally we have
to log into them to look at some old confirmation e-mail or find the e-mail
address for someone with whom we've lost touch."
Google also likely wanted time to gird its storage infrastructure for the
task of absorbing what will no doubt be petabytes of content from users' older
e-mail accounts. Indeed, in addition to supporting various flavors of Microsoft
Hotmail, AOL and Yahoo Mail, Gmail is supporting migration
from NetZero, Sprint, Verizon
and 40 others.
The migration offer comes after Gmail surpassed AOL
as the No. 3 most visited e-mail Website
in the month of July, according to market researcher ComScore.
Gmail, which emerged as a beta program in April 2004 and ceased to be a beta
just last month on July 7, logged 37
million unique monthly users in July, compared with 36.4 million from AOL.
The migration option could help Google pad its rising Gmail market share even
Read more about this Gmail migration tool on Techmeme here.