Ah blessed Gmail it's the ongoing incremental improvements which make us love you so...
This time it is happy news for the anti-POP3 brigade (a surprisingly large group) with news that Gmail has finally gone old-school and adopted IMAP.
Unlike POP3, IMAP enables users to leave their messages and email folders on the server (even with POP3's 'leave mail on server' option enabled folders are not saved) and this is a boon for anyone wishing to access their mail from multiple devices. Yep, go smartphones go!
Google is rolling out the free option right now and setting up IMAP from your account couldn't be easier:
1. Log in to your Gmail account.
2. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page.
3. Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
4. Select Enable IMAP.
5. Setup your client and click Save Changes.
If you're not sure how to setup your client Google has a superb graphical guide to everything from Thunderbird and Outlook Express to the iPhone (above) here.
With many providers charging for IMAP and the Java Gmail mobile phone app still fairly twitchy (get it working on a Vario II please guys...!) this should be manna from heaven - go snap it up my pretties...
Update: We have received confirmation this is an incremental roll-out so if you don't have the option in your account as such you're not being persecuted (don't worry Chris!).