My Wish List for Google

On Tuesday morning, while jotting down some column ideas, I took note of the top two items I wanted to see from Google's Gmail service: 1. Enable IMAP access to mail; and 2. Make labels persist beyond Gmail's Web UI. On Wednesday afternoon, I found that Google had satisfied both of those desires, and moved a step closer to making Gmail migrations a real option for companies running Exchange...

On Tuesday morning, while jotting down some column ideas, I took note of the top two items I wanted to see from Google's Gmail service:

1. Enable IMAP access to mail; and 2. Make labels persist beyond Gmail's Web UI.

On Wednesday afternoon, I read Andrew's blog post about how Google had delivered on the first of my Gmail desires--IMAP for Gmail.

I'm a big fan and heavy user of Gmail--I love the conversation-grouping interface, the search, the spam filtering, and the tie-ins to Google's online Docs and Calendar applications.

However, the biggest drawback to Gmail for me is the fact that my main e-mail address, at eweek.com, isn't hosted by Google, which means that I have to deploy a series of workarounds to process the loads of mail I receive at my work addresses through Gmail.

Gmail allows you to send mail under a separate e-mail address identity, but those messages show up for recipients with the somewhat confusing (and arguably phishy-looking) "Sent by $GMAILADDRESS On Behalf of $WORKADDRESS."

I've been daydreaming about the possibility that the upcoming e-mail platform migration necessitated by the recent secession of Ziff Davis Enterprise from our Ziff Davis Media mother ship might be an opportunity to go Google. However, without IMAP support, it was tough to expect many companies to give Google's mail services a shot.

While Google's online apps have picked up some mindshare within eWEEK's editorial ranks over the past year or so, I still consider a move to Google Apps a fairly long shot--but with IMAP it's gotten shorter, at least.

Anyway, returning to the world of things actually in my control, I quickly clicked my way from Andrew's blog post to the settings dialogs of my Gmail account, where I clicked on IMAP support before configuring my Evolution mail client to work with the account.

As Evolution puttered through the process of pulling down my message headers, I was pleased to note that Google had delivered on my second wish list item as well--support for persistent labels. All my Gmail labels turned up in Evolution as folders, and I found that when I moved messages to those folders in Evolution, the labels appeared appropriately in my Gmail interface.

I've always found Gmail's labels fairly handy, particularly in conjunction with the Firefox plug-in GTDinbox, but the fact that the labels couldn't make their way beyond the confines of the Gmail interface seriously limited their usefulness.

So, it looks like I'll have to craft a new wish list for Gmail. Here's a start:

1. I want to be able to create new calendar items through Evolution or another Web client. This is another must-have if Exchange shops like ours are to move to Google's mail services.

The only other wish list item that jumps immediately to mind is search support for Google Reader, but our Friendly Search Overlords took care of that a few weeks ago.

What's on your wish list for Google Apps?