In what it is billing as "e-mail portability," Google Inc. is opening access to its Gmail e-mail service from desktop clients and mobile devices. On Wednesday, the company began providing free POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) access on Gmail accounts. The rollout is expected to reach all users over the next two weeks, said George Harik, director of Googlettes, the name of the Google group overseeing its startup services.
"This [access] is an important part of e-mail because of all the things not enabled by Web-based e-mail," Harik said. POP3 access, for example, allows users to read Gmail messages while they are offline and on mobile devices that support the standard, Harik said. POP3 is a standard protocol for receiving e-mail and communicating between an e-mail server and client. Most major e-mail clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, support the standard, as do competing Web-based e-mail services such as Yahoo Inc.'s mail.
News source: eWeek