January 28, 2010

Google's Mac Mail Uploader Taunts Would-Be GMailers

Tonight, I thought I saw the final missing piece fall into place that would let me take my gigabytes and gigabytes of e-mail off my hard drive and put them in the cloud, setting the stage for a long-discussed, but never fully implemented, move from my decade-old Mac.com e-mail address to a more Web savvy GMail account. An update on Google's Mac Blog introduced a new software option that promises to take all your Mail files from your personal computer, and take them to Google Apps. A free utility, the quick download looked like it was going to get me one step closer to a Web-centric experience, moving to the cloud. But it looks like I am still on the outside looking in, even though the product's release is extremely promising for an eventual solution.

More than two years ago, I talked about the potential attraction of GMail to corporate users who have long been tethered to the world of Microsoft. I said that Importing PST Files, or e-mail archives common to Microsoft Outlook, could be GMail's secret weapon. In the ensuing years, tools have been made to help upload e-mail from Windows, and to migrate Web mail to Google e-mail accounts. But tonight's announcement was the first for Mac users, who, despite the many synergies between Apple and Google, often find themselves last served, behind Windows and Linux users, by the Mountain View company.

101,000 messages to upload over 28 hours. Do it!

So, of course, I downloaded the application immediately. Without any configuration on my end, it found my Mail.app e-mail and the correct hierarchy, looking to move more than 100,000 messages I've been hoarding since the mid 1990s to the cloud, with appropriate labeling. The expected move time for these 100,000 messages? Almost 30 hours. But at least it was something.

Unfortunately, as many good things tend to have, there was a catch. The e-mail uploader "currently can upload only to Google Apps email accounts, and not to gmail.com or googlemail.com accounts", so the planned migration, once again, seems to be on hold.

Curses! No upload to GMail! Can I hack this?

Given the wording of the post, the author, Greg Robbins, seems highly aware of the issue, having called it out, and the word "currently" is promising that a solution may soon arrive. But until that time, I will continue to keep using my Mac.com e-mail and storing my data locally. For me, the archives are almost as important, and in some cases, more important, than my most recent data. If I could upload my 100,000+ e-mail messages, with appropriate labeling, to GMail and have the search functionality and all other great items offered in GMail, I would have started the process tonight, but the restriction to Google Apps keeps us on the outside looking in, still.

The promise of the move is tempting enough to open up a new Google Apps account, but I'm not interested in further forking my e-mail experience with more and more accounts to check. It's already a challenge to get work e-mail with multiple clients, and my various online accounts. I have been wanting a real Mac-friendly E-mail uploader to GMail since shortly after its debut, and almost six years after GMail shocked the world with its invention, I still don't have it. So Greg, I know you want what I want, so how can we make this happen?