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Google Brings Push Support to Gmail

Gordon Kelly


Google Brings Push Support to Gmail

After a hectic start to the year Gmail has had a relatively quiet few months, but it is back with a bang today...

Continuing its game of catch up with NuevaSync Google has today added push email to Google Sync. This means the service is now complete with mail automatically pushed to handsets along with the existing calendar and contacts functionality.

"When we launched Google Sync for Contacts and Google Calendar earlier this year, an over-the-air, always-on connection to sync mail was noticeably absent," acknowledged Google Mobile product manager Marcus Foster. "We heard your requests loud and clear, and starting today you can use Google Sync to get your Gmail messages pushed directly to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or Windows Mobile device."

If you're a proud BlackBerry owner I doubt you'll be waiting long, while Android can do this already. Google promises once setup new emails will be pushed to your device "within seconds". This means you can abandon the age old system of having to open your email just to see if you have messages as well as having to wait for the excruciating send and receive process to complete. With push email your latest messages are always there.

As for the effect on battery life, Google does admit push connections use more power "so don't be surprised if your battery life isn't quite what it used to be" (a worry for iPhone owners in particular). That said it does promise a lot of work has been done to optimise power usage. Interestingly, I have used the Nuevasync push Gmail service since it launched at the start of July and I've noticed no battery degradation at all. Perhaps that's why it costs $25 (£15) per year and Google sync is free...

Either way, push brings email into the 21st century - particularly when mobile broadband speeds are so poor. So do yourself a favour and hop aboard...


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Google Sync iPhone

Google Sync Windows Mobile


September 23, 2009, 2:11 pm

Don't know what the big issue is - my Nokia N95 8GB with the latest nokia email client has email always on and connected to Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo mail and other mail servers. Always know when an email has arrived (usually more quickly than via Outlook!).


September 23, 2009, 2:21 pm

Nokia phones generally have the best batteries, so the hit probably wouldn't be noticed.

I enjoy the regular quips at the iPhone dotted around your articles, Gordon (see, some can spell it!), but I know you use one yourself. So my question is: what other phone do you also use. You know, just to stay sane, in case you need to multi-task...


September 23, 2009, 2:22 pm

Excellent news. I've just been fiddling with Google sync to get Gmail, Outlook and Windows Mobile all synced up and was also looking at Nuevasync but won't bother now (the multi calender sync is good, but lost on my WM anyway).


September 23, 2009, 2:23 pm

@drdark - I use nothing else in all honesty. I've an iPhone 3GS and for me it is by far the best phone on the market. That said, I'm just not blind to its faults ;)

Brian ONeill

September 23, 2009, 2:43 pm

On a related note I think its really bad for your mental well being to have push email. It means you never switch off. I have been out for meals with people with blackberrys and every few minutes you get buzz and they obsessively check their email. Far better to manually send and receive, that we we can have a pretence of control over our social lifes ;-)


September 23, 2009, 3:42 pm

I tried Google Sync a short while ago and came across the same issue I'd read about where it does always save all contact phone numbers and starts messing with the "category" of the numbers within contacts (especially if 2 or more numbers were set to the same category such as 'Work'). Rather annoyed me, so I used Ovi Contacts instead.

@Brian: I agree, but it just seems there's no getting away from it :(. If I don't check my emails, I'm just worried about what might be there that I might have missed! Although I'm still adamant that I could turn it off if I wanted to...

@Gordon: Slightly surprised by that, but I realise you're more impartial than most in regards to the faults. Speaking of smartphones on the market, the Pre's taken so long to arrive that it feels like last year's news already...


September 23, 2009, 3:52 pm

Brian ONeill - I quite agree. That's why my phone is set to vibrate, and I only check the emails when it suits me.


September 23, 2009, 4:12 pm

I had this set up and did one sync and now i am having a 'Waiting for Network' problem which seems to be well documented on the web :(


September 23, 2009, 4:15 pm

and that's why I like that Windows Mobile (don't know about others) can set a schedule so only work hours (Monday-Friday, 9 to 5) is push, every other time manually checking


September 23, 2009, 4:43 pm


If people aren't doing it with their e-mail they'll do it with their texts instead

I seem to be the only person i know who doesnt instantly check their phone the minute it vibrates/rings, that applies to texts, e-mails and I usually miss the calls as my phone is on silent =) if it's important they will leave a message


September 23, 2009, 5:47 pm

Total non event for us (smug) Android users as Gordon said in the article.

But in my experience push really does eat up battery. I regularly turn data off all together as it really extends the battery life of my Hero. There's so many things on top of email which are continually pulling data. Twitter, Facebook, RSS, widgets.....

How ironic that as the features on my phone grow I actually have to use it less.


September 23, 2009, 7:13 pm

Biggest problem? Can't sync with more than one exchange account - I would so love to port my personal email to Google Apps and get push support, but I guess it's not meant to be.


September 23, 2009, 8:28 pm

@Kaurisol, Don't know what the big issue is

I'm with you on this, I've had my IPhone3G using Push Email with Yahoo for well over a year now. eg. Like you say if I order something of the internet, my mobile blips practically the same time I click the order button.

Barry Ward

September 23, 2009, 10:29 pm

Can someone please explain what the advantage is with PUSH over IMAP? I have IMAP Googlemail set at the moment, and it comes through instantly 90% of the time. If PUSH will drain the power of the iPhone even more, shouldn't I just stick to IMAP?


September 23, 2009, 11:35 pm


Push is just whether your mail is instantly received on your phone versus you having to send/receive for it. The alternative for IMAP is POP where mail is not synced inbetween your device and the server. You can still use IMAP and not have Push email.


September 24, 2009, 1:58 pm


I believe it's more to do with how you mobile phone gets notified of new mail. With say POP your need to check for Email every so often, like 5 mins etc. With IMAP you keep a constant connection and use keep alives to keep the connection open.

But with PUSH email as implemented on Mobile phones these constant checking & constant connections are not needed. What the phone operators do is send a special kind of SMS that then informs your phone of new email.

With the above in mind, I personally would have expected PUSH to take LESS battery power, not more.

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