Using Gmail for work email (incoming only.. so far)

I wanted to get work email pushed to my phone, but only for emails sent by real human beings and not the automated build/test notifications, Bugzilla notifications, ApTest Manager notifications, etc.

But.. if I were to add the IMAP server, there’s no known way for me to filter out what I want…

I also wanted to archive all of the mail into Gmail, and I already had Gmail set up to push email to my phone as it arrives. Putting these two thoughts together, I decided to give Work->Gmail another shot. Originally I didn’t have it set up because I didn’t know the POP/IMAP settings for the mailserver externally… only internally, but I was able to figure this out by asking around.

Gmail only supports POP import and not IMAP. That’s okay for me since I was already used to POP and I always BCC’d myself on emails (or copied from Sent->Inbox when I forgot) and kept everything in 1 large Inbox folder. Ideally Gmail will support IMAP import later but meh..

So I got the settings in there and I check some boxes

  1. Leave a copy of retrieved message on the server
  2. Use SSL
  3. Label: ServerEngines

The “archive incoming messages” option was of interest. Usually I read the email elsewhere so I’d just want it to be archived instantly in Gmail. But in order to get them pushed to my phone, I had to leave this unchecked, and apply my own filters to handle the email afterwards.

For all the automatic email, I automatically mark as read, and archive.

But I saw a problem. For some reason mail wasn’t arriving anywhere… I managed to find a bunch of legitimate imported emails end up Gmail’s Spam. Now I have no idea why Gmail thinks all of these coworker-to-coworker emails are spam, but I know for a fact that there is 0 spam in my entire work email account, *ever*. So I added a filter before this (not sure how Gmail applies filter precedence wrt other filters…) to never send email with label:ServerEngines to spam. Ever. It decided to warn me that searches with “label:” (along with 2 other ones) would *NEVER* match any email. Wait.. what? When I hit that “Test Search” button (for “in:spam label:ServerEngines”), it found a bunch of email. Marked them all as read and archived. I’m gonna have to wait to see if anything ends up in Spam.. it doesn’t happen too often.

Or so I thought. Just this morning I received an email.. and Gmail applied this in bold with a yellow background before the message text:

Due to a filter you created, this message was not sent to Spam.

Looks like my filter was working and the search warning was a lie.

Now my system’s set up — summary: all work email gets imported, labeled, and marked not spam. The automatic emails are archived and marked read, while the human emails stay in Inbox unread, and get pushed to phone.

Now to do outgoing via Gmail… that will be interesting. Maybe even impossible, given that my coworkers have struggled to get outgoing mailservers to work (externally; from inside the network is fine.)


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