Google has added IMAP support to its free webmail service Gmail. Users can now access email from client applications using the Internet Message Access Protocol, and at the same time automatically update the message status within Gmail itself. This is something that many people who access Gmail messages via the supported POP service have been long asking for as it enables the problems of read messages remaining marked as unread within Gmail to be solved. IMAP also enables forwarded messages and replies sent using the external client to be reflected in the Gmail web interface.

A full list of supported email clients has been published at the Gmail help site, but mainstays like Outlook and Outlook Express are amongst them as is the Apple iPhone email applications. Users of Palm handhelds will be disappointed though, as these have been specifically excluded from the fun for now.