As announced on the Gmail Blog, the folks at Google (s goog) have added an important update to Gmail: mail and contact import features for everyone. Somewhat annoyingly, these features were previously available for newly created Gmail accounts, but were not available for the many of us who have had Gmail accounts for some time. Many of us also have old email accounts that were around before Gmail arrived. The importing procedure is easy, although some waiting is required.
To import email from another account into your Gmail account, just go to the “Settings” link that is on the upper right of your Gmail account, and click it. Once you’ve done that, hit the “Accounts and Import” tab, as seen in the screenshot above. You can import from Yahoo (s yhoo), Hotmail (s msft), AOL, or other webmail or POP3 accounts via a wizard. There’s a “Learn More” link if you get confused. Note that you will need to supply the password for your other account.
I went through the import process for an older Hotmail account I have. I haven’t gotten all the messages imported yet, but Google confirms that this is to be expected: “Copying mail over usually takes a couple days, occasionally up to a week — but eventually it all arrives,” says the post announcing the new features. You can also request to have email sent to the other account forwarded to your Gmail account for 30 days.
This was a long time coming from Google, but it will be convenient to not have to hop between email accounts all the time — especially since one of Gmail’s strengths is its huge storage capacity; that should allow me to cut a couple of accounts that I have altogether.
Hit any snags importing an old account into Gmail? Let us know in the comments.