We have recently wondered how to Get Email out of Gmail and into Gmail and Google have quietly provided us that answer while officially denying the feature exists. When you currently search Help on the Google Gmail website to see if you can “Fetch Mail from Another Google Account” this is the answer provided:

Moving Gmail to Gmail

The ability to fetch your Gmail into another Gmail account — including Google Apps for Your Domain! — is slowly being rolled out live across all Google accounts. There are a couple of tricks you need to keep in mind to get it working. First, enable POP from the account you wish to get your mail.

I chose to leave all the mail in my account after all of it had been “POPped.” Next, go into your Account Settings for the account in which you want all your Gmail delivered. Your Username is your ENTIRE Gmail address. If you don’t use the entire address you’ll get a red-letter error that “you cannot POP your Gmail into Gmail.”

Leave “smtp.gmail.com” as the POP server. DO NOT CHOOSE “pop.gmail.com” from the dropdown list or this will not work and you’ll get a red-letter error that “you cannot POP your Gmail into Gmail.”

Do not check “Leave a copy” on the POP server or you’ll get a red-letter error that “you cannot POP your Gmail into Gmail.” Your messages will stay in your original account because you told Gmail to keep your email and not delete it. I also suggest you choose — for just the import of all the stored messages, especially if you have thousands like I do — to “Archive incoming messages” because if you don’t, all those POPped messages will appear as new and unread and you’ll have to manually manhandle them into your Archive.

After you “Add Account” — Gmail’s Mail Fetcher will poll your other Gmail account and begin the import process. If you have a lot of messages, this will take a long time. Days even. I’m on my third day of importing. Gmail polls your POP account every hour or so and pulls 200 messages at a time and “delivers” them in batches of 15-20 messages every ten minutes. Don’t let this account update fool you:

Because, as you can see here, Gmail only reports the status of its current action dealing with 200 messages and not all 10,000 messages:

Today is Friday and I’ve been pulling these emails since Wednesday morning. You know the import is finished when you can click on a “Check Mail Now” link to POP your other account. If you don’t see a “Check Mail Now” link, then you’re still in the midst of your import.

The process is slow and agonizing, but worth it because the original date and timestamp of your messages will be preserved. That was the biggest problem I had to deal with when I did this process last October by hand. I had imported 10,000 messages that were ALL given a new timestamp of October 6, 2006.

I hoped pulling in all those messages via a proper Mail Fetch this week would replace the ones I already pulled in October — but that isn’t turning out to be the case because the timestamps don’t match. So I’ll have TWO COPIES of 10,000 messages in my Google Apps Email account and I’ll have to decide if trying to delete the first instance of the copy — all still dated 10/06/06 — is worth the bother or not. Right now I’m thinking NOT — because 10 gigs is a lot of email space to fill.

Google Start Page Theme Another quiet — but quite alarmingly nice feature Google released this week for the “advanced” Start page — is the ability to “theme” your Google Start Page!

I was shocked to find something aesthetically pleasing from Google! Who knew they could create a feature just for its artistic value without adding any functionality?

Well, I guess there’s a bit of time telling functionality built into the beauty — the themes change throughout the day based on the time of day in your time zone.

Here’s what I see in the morning sunrise using the City Scape theme:

Here’s my midday look:

This is my late-afternoon art:

This is my evening outfit:

Here’s another evening shot. It would be neat if these images changed throughout the day to also reflect the weather and other atmospheric conditions:

Remember, I don’t have to change the look of the theme. Google handles it all for me — and for all the other theme choices, too — automagically behind the scenes as the day dawns and the night falls.

I sure hope Google adds themes to the Google Apps for Your Domain start page! It’s great Google have taken these to giant leaps of faith for us this week. First allowing us to move and manipulate thousands of existing emails between Gmail accounts is a welcome addition to our communication arsenal; and then gifting us a bit of beauty while we work — all at their expense — is a rare delight in an ever-advancing pedestrian and esoteric world.

51 Comments

  1. Hi David,
    I’m in the “Next Generation” of the standard edition, so I’ll get access to new features a little faster than the “Current Version” folks. But, I don’t have access to the cool features the paid version has yet.

  2. Hi David,
    I’m in the “Next Generation” of the standard edition, so I’ll get access to new features a little faster than the “Current Version” folks. But, I don’t have access to the cool features the paid version has yet.

  3. Michael!
    Now that’s the kind of friends we like to have! Pleasant people who are easy to please! ๐Ÿ˜€
    This theme thing makes the Google homepage much more fun to use and it gives you a reason to go back often during the day just to see how all the fonts colors and images have changed since the last time you loaded the page.

  4. I chose the “Tea House” theme myself earlier this week and it’s pretty amusing.
    As for your wish that the theme reflected current weather conditions, my friend chose the “Bus Stop” theme and, after she entered her zip code, the scene became quite gray and rainy–which was what we were facing here in town that day! So, in other words, it seems that at least one of the themes does reflect current weather conditions. Just thought I’d share that.

  5. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Nicole!
    I guess I’ll have to try out all the themes just to see how they fit. It’s raining here and I just checked my theme and it is purpler and darker than any of the other versions of City Scape I have yet to see. Hmm… very interesting!
    Thanks for the inside scoop on “Bus Stop” and “Tea House” — do the people and scenery change during the day with those themes or is it just the sky and colorful feel of the themes that change?

  6. The figures in the “Tea House” scene change throughout the day. The “star of the show,” I guess you could say, is a fox. Sometimes he’s doing laundry in the water, sometimes he’s taking a picnic on the deck near his pagoda, other times he’s boating around. Now, it seems that he’s feeding ducks. As mentioned before, it’s pretty amusing.
    On another note, just thought I’d let you know that I’ve been reading your blog for a month or so. You’ve had some great posts lately and I enjoy checking back every few days to see what’s new.

  7. Hi Nicole!
    Okay, I just changed to “Tea House” and I’m seeing the fox serenading the ducks with a ukulele. The sky is dark and grey and threatening. Looks like a good time! I’ll watch this change over a day or two. Thanks for the recommendation!
    I’m so glad you decided to comment, Nicole! It’s so much fun when someone new decides to step forward and join us. For those who do self-identify and step forward it seems the average time to post a comment after starting to read us on a regular basis is about a month. That’s a lot of reading before deciding to say something! ๐Ÿ˜€ I wish I could find a way to entice more good folk like you to post quicker! :mrgreen:

  8. I had the same problem… Had to move a Google Apps Email account inbox messages from one domain to another (both gmail powered). Of course when trying to retreive pop mail from gmail to another gmail account, you get the error:
    Server returned error: “You can’t fetch mail from Gmail accounts”
    So to bypass it, instead of pop.gmail.com I used the IP ๐Ÿ˜‰ which is currently 66.249.83.109 (I just pinged it)
    It seemed to not work for a little while (was stuck on “checking…” for a few mins, which is why I’m on this how-to link, but now the mail is slowly starting to come in (using my method). The rest of our steps were identical.
    Last checked: 11 minutes ago. 200 mails fetched. View history 32 mails remaining.

  9. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Ron!
    Don’t use “pop.gmail.com” as I warned in my article. You need to use “smtp.gmail.com” instead or you’ll get that error all day long.
    It does take forever when you first set up any email account via Mail Fetch. Then, when things start to POP over, you know everything is working.

  10. Awesome. I’ve been searching for days on how to do this. But smtp.gmail.com didn’t work for me. It kept saying โ€œYou canโ€™t fetch mail from Gmail accounts,” but the ip address trick did work.

  11. Hey David,
    Did you have to relabel all of your emails or did that get copied at the end of the import? Right now I’m looking at about 200 messages, and they arent carrying the label I had on my account before.
    Also, I’m assuming you don’t know a way to move filters over, right?
    Longtime listener, first time caller,
    -Ravi

  12. Hi Ravi —
    Labels did not transfer.
    You have to recreate all your filters. There’s no way to import and export them. I have a lot of filters so I know that’s a painful process to recreate them all. ๐Ÿ˜€
    Glad you’re with us! Comment on some other stuff while you’re here, too! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Hi, I found this article very helpful for transferring Gmail emails… but you said that once you can see the message saying “Check Mail Now” that it should be done transferring. I can see that link, but I know that all of my emails have definitely not transferred and it seems to have stopped pulling messages over. Should I just let it keep going and hope that it keeps importing, or does it stop after a certain number of emails?
    Thanks.

  14. Yes, I understand it pulls that many messages at a time, but mine seems to have stopped pulling past messages and only pulls new messages. I was just wondering if the same thing happened to you (or anyone else).
    Thanks. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Be careful doing this! I wasn’t really committed to the switch because you can’t bring labels across (over 3000 messages with 15 different lables, not gonna do that again), but I went ahead any. Suddenly, the account I was importing from, which I planned to continue to use, was getting dumped full of old emails from its history, and it took a few minutes to realize why:
    1. Account B has always forwarded to A
    2. I used the above procedure to import all A emails to B
    3. B promptly began forwarding all these emails back to A, with a new timestamp!
    Obviously these were all emails that already existed in A, meaning I was about to duplicate my inbox!
    I’m not about to turn off forwarding of B to A (too many people write me at B, and like I said, I plan to stick with A), so I had to end the transfer.

  16. Im in the need of moving 3000 mails from a gmail account to a google apps account.
    1. Is it possible to get the original sender ?
    2. Is it possible to get the original timestamp?
    I tried to set the new account up to fetch mail from the gmail account, but nothing happends.. And will this method acchieve the two issues i mentioned above?
    Oh, thanks for this great article!!

  17. pjukern —
    The best thing to do would be to have a second IMAP account and then enable IMAP for both your Gmail accounts.
    Then drag and drop all your original Gmail into your secondary IMAP account and then drag and drop all your mail from the secondary IMAP account into your current Gmail account.
    I don’t think Gmail will POP to another Gmail account or do IMAP — that’s why you need an intermediate account to negotiate the transfers.
    Using the IMAP method should preserve your time and date stamps as well as the sender.
    Good luck!

  18. Hi again.
    Imap is a foreign word for me.. Not sure how i would proceed to set it up.
    Well what i did was set up my google apps account to fetch mail from my old gmail account using smtp.gmail.com
    It did transfer all my old mail, with the sender and timestamp remaining ๐Ÿ™‚
    so im a happy camper
    The only thing is that the sent items did not get transfered.