Gmail Mobile Client (and using it in the UK)

Just back from a fun, if completely exhausting dance lesson. I think we managed the Viennese Waltz for over two minutes! Next challenge is to keep going for the full four and a half minute song. My ankles hurt even thinking about it.

Anyway, the main point of this post is to point out the Gmail for Mobile Client that was released today. It’s a small java download that works on most modern mobiles, and provides a gmail-like interface for checking and sending email. Sounds good in theory, but does it work? Happily, yes!

I’ve just set it up on my Nokia 7610, and am very impressed. First impressions are that it’s an effective duplication of the online interface. You can archive / label messages, view the content of existing labels, send mail with auto-completion of contacts and search mail, all with shortcut keys. Viewing mail displays the conversation thread in the same way as gmail, with read messages collapsed to just a header by default. Best of all, it’s fast and intuitive. Well, fast for me, although I keep my inbox empty and label+archive anything that needs attention – I’d be interested to hear how it copes with a 2000 message inbox. The blog entry says it’ll let you view attachments, as well as click-to-directly-dial from the contact list, although I can’t figure out this last one. The only options it seems to lack are ‘All Mail’ and ‘Drafts’, although the former doesn’t really matter when there’s an effective search.

Pics of the interface can be seen here. Nokia users may want to go to the App Manager utility and grant the Gmail app permission to access the internet continually after only asking once, or it will nag you every time.

I had trouble accessing the official page, and wonder whether it’s meant to be limited to the US. Maybe it’s to do with it being called ‘Google Mail’ in the UK. Whether that’s true or not, going to http://www.gmail.com/app from my phone initiated the download.

Given that gmail.com (suspiciously) times out over my Orange connection, I’ve been using the POP3/SMTP setup, which is far from trivial and involves creating two separate accounts on my Nokia. This is a much better solution, imho. I’d best watch the data transfer costs, but overall: nice one, Google. This’ll come in very handy.