The Problem With Webmail Systems Such As Hotmail, GMail And Others

How often do you travel? Need your e-mail right NOW? Get sent tiny attachments?

When I first started using e-mail there wasn't really any such thing as webmail, you popped your ISP e-mail address using an e-mail client. The client software was in general easy to use and functional. Then came the revolution, courtesy for me anyway in the form of Hotmail. Get at your e-mail anywhere in the world was the promise and I bought into it straight away!

It didn't take long for me to realise the problem with this, the novelty had worn off, I didn't actually need access to my e-mail from anywhere in the world, just my home PC was good enough (work address for work, home address for home). Not only that but I was getting spammed to death, my webmail was blocked by corporate firewalls/content filters, I couldn't receive that funny e-mail that was doing the rounds because of my small mailbox. In the end I like most people (other than those travelling) ended up using my Hotmail account as a secondary e-mail address. As things got better with regard to storage size etc I signed up to quite a few other mail providers always in the hope of finding the 'perfect' combination... but anyway

One day I was in work (working for a high brow systems development company "The next Microsoft" ha ha) and the subject of POP access came up. We had always allowed it to our webmail systems, the general consensus us was that all of the web mail providers had it, but did they? We wanted our systems to be able to RPOP all the others, gather up all your e-mail in one place that was then accessible via either an IMAP or webmail interface. Encrypted / digitally signed IMAP mail with a large mailbox allowance that could gather up all you other accounts, how does that sound? What I discovered there and then was that a lot of webmail providers only offer POP through paying money. Damn! As I was testing when writing I had every account that I could RPOP'd and it was great, BUT there was always the problem with Hotmail? So one lunch time for my own use I set about it, that company went bust and the rest as they say is history...

Since then i've had loads of requests to add functionality for AOL, Yahoo Mail, AOL, Gmail etc The clever part about GetMail is that it forwards the mail on i.e. it gathers up your mail. As I explain to people I don't need to write the interfaces between the webmail and POP, there are loads of them out there for all sorts of webmail systems (There are links at the bottom of this page). As long as they stick to the RFC POP standard GetMail should work with them fine.

So that is it really, GetMail is only a tool for forwarding on mail from one account to another, it gathers up your mail! If you are travelling around the world then a webmail only system is fine, but what happens when you get home? You've got too many accounts to check? You buy a laptop? That is when you need GetMail!

Of course now Google has brought out the next stage in webmail, GMail. I'm a big fan, but still no IMAP/POP access, for now I will use it as a backup of my e-mail. I won't be writing any e-mails using that account until they 'open' it up.

Email Links

YPOPS gives you easy to use and secure access to your Yahoo Mail account. I personally use this with GetMail to get at my Talk21 e-mail.