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February 8, 2009

Import Contacts and Mail to Gmail

Gmail includes some options that let you import contacts and messages, but they're not very easy to use and migrating data to Gmail is not straightforward. But things are about to change: Google has partnered with TrueSwitch and Gmail will start to include a simple migration tool that works with some of the most popular mail services (AOL Mail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail and many services provided by ISPs and mobile carriers).


"If you're switching to Gmail from another email provider, importing contacts and messages from your old email account can help you make the transition without having to do a bunch of housekeeping," explains Google. You can import the contacts from your old account, import the existing messages and the messages you will receive in the next 30 days and create a new label for the imported messages.

Of course, you can also import contacts by first exporting a CSV file from your old account, there's also the powerful mail fetcher that downloads messages from services that support POP3 and you can auto-forward messages to Gmail if your old service has this feature.

The new option should be added to the new Accounts and Import tab from Gmail's settings page.


If it's not there yet, then you'll have to wait until it's available for everyone. One thing is clear: when this option is available, it will be much easier to migrate from Yahoo Mail and Hotmail to Gmail and that could the increase the adoption of Google's mail service. "Between December 2007 and December 2008, Gmail's number of unique monthly visitors in the United States grew 43%, from 20.8 million to 29.6 million, according to ComScore. Windows Live Hotmail lost 5% of its unique monthly visitors during this period, falling from 45.7 million to 43.5 million," reports InformationWeek.

{ Thanks, Kevin. }

51 comments:

  1. Has google fixed the import bug where importing a contact with "more than one" of virtually anything would corrupt the contact (e.g., two work phone numbers, two home email addresses, more than one IM account)? It was particularly bad if your contact had more than one IM account, like a yahoo and am AIM account; upon import, the names would all get scrunched together and stored as a gtalk name (IIRC).

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  2. Now if only Facebook will open up and let Gmail import info from my facebook contacts. A dream I suppose...

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  3. One thing Google may want to add to the switching process is a way to automatically notify people who email your old address that you've switched to Gmail.

    I know how to do this manually, of course, but it would be easier for switchers if there was an easy way to set it up during the process.

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  4. As I can already import my GMail contacts into LinkedIn, FaceBook, Viadeo, ... we'd like to have the other way around !

    It's easier to have one central address book. And Google Mail contact management looks good for it

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  5. Wow, finally an opportunity for Hotmail users to switch to Gmail and bringing their old e-mails with. Another great point to switch to Gmail.
    (I thought Hotmail wouldn't allow e-mail fetching (for free), so TrueSwitch maybe has some kind of contract with Hotmail?)

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  6. Microsoft is in the process of adding POP3 support to Hotmail. It's already available for some accounts.

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  7. Googles contact management looks good?

    Hm... you probably never saw a real address before? Look at Plaxo and even Yahoo does do a better job than Googles Windows 3.1 classic contact "manager".

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  8. I wonder if it will also import the folders created in Yahoo....

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  9. Will this still work with yahoo even if you don't have Yahoo Plus crap?

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  10. Would love to know answer to last two questions....anyone???

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  11. @HaloZero, yes it works with the free yahoo account. I managed to import thousands of my old emails but for some unknown reason not all of them. I am not sure about the folders though, haven't tried that.

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  12. Is this under some kind of limited release, or only available for certain classes of users? I've been watching for it to become available since this article came out, but so far nothing, at least in my account.

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  13. I think it needs to added to everyone...NOW. I'm in the middle of helping my father switch from aol to gmail. We used epreserver, but it did not import all contacts.

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  14. Still not available for me either. In addition, nothing has been said about this on the official Gmail blog. What's the deal?

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  15. Whatever Hotmail is doing, it is too late. I switched to GMail years ago, while MS/Hotmail still thought it was doing people favours and offering 2 Mb (yes, Mb not Gb). I hung on because I had a lot of people on its IM, but once this was solved, there was no reason. Even if it is offering limitless storage, the horse has already bolted, so to speak... no use closing the gate.

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  16. Any idea when this will be available to all of us? I am very interested in switching to Gmail, but I will never do this if i can't take my emails too, and forwarding is hell..

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  17. Seeing as it's been more than a month since this story was reported, I find it hard to believe that there is any truth to it. Experience has shown that Google has not taken more than a month to roll out new features (that are not closed beta), to all of it's users. Heck, even Facebook rolled out new site layout changes in a matter of days!

    I don't hold out any hope of seeing this soon, nor do I place much stock (anymore) in the Google news on this blog.

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  18. The poor anonymous who "finds it hard to believe that there is any truth to it" should read this page from Google's help center.

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  19. They have rolled it out...i just opened at Googlemail account and they had already rolled out the Trueswitch Import. I think some places like the UK have already had them rolled out, but it's not rolling out here in the US yet. I opened my Gmail through the UK server, for those of you wanting to know and the process has been pretty good. So far it has managed to get all of my folders from my Yahoo and create them as labels on Gmail with the emails that I had put in all of them. The contacts have all been brought in and merged. For the person above who said that Gmail's address book is basically a load of crap, so to speak, it's not. They have really started to improve it. Gmail as a whole, is looking MUCH MUCH better. I will never go back to Yahoo, Hotmail/Live, AOL or any of those other email providers, free or otherwise.

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  20. Very strange. I opened two new accounts in Gmail, and one of them offered "accounts and import" on the settings page, and the second one I did only offered "accounts." It's a bummer because the first sytem worked fine! But I can't make it happen on the second account. Any ideas anyone?

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  21. Its available to new users only.

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  22. I would really like this feature added to my account, but it's still not there. Would be great if you could get on a waiting list to be moved up the priority queue. Why roll it out to users that don't want or need it when there are users like myself who would like it immediately. How many of us are opening a new email address just to use this feature?

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  23. I agree with anonymous. I was depressed, angry, and feeling stupid because neither of my accounts provided me with the "import" version of the accounts tab, but my girlfriend's account, which is the same age as mine, had it on hers, and she doesn't even use it. Lame.

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  24. That makes three of us... It's kinda lame, I've been waiting quite some time now and it's NOT available to new users only as someone suggested.

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  25. It would be great to hear an update on this from Google. I don't have that option and don't use gmail because of it. The second I can import my yahoo mail I will switch.

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  26. Why announce this and still not have it ready for all users. I am wating for this for months now.

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  27. I will confess that it is good to just go ahead and move to gmail. It is so much better than the compuserve I was using that I'm happy I moved the old fashioned way. And it is a great way to hear from people you haven't really heard from in ages. Don't wait for technology--take back your own life!!
    :-)

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  28. I moved my university of toronto to gmail via the import and am very happy with it as the university system was old and cumbersome. The only strange thing is that very recently, two people's emails have not been getting to my gmail account although as far as I know, all my other emails have been getting through!?

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  29. I too was grumbling about non availability of import functionality, but however Uncle Google was kind enough to bestow me with this facility just few days ago. It has managed to import some folders, still many folders are not yet imported may be it is due to recent outage at Google server.

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  30. I created a gmail account and opened in IE browser, account and import tab didn't show up. I logged out and logged in to gmail account thru google chrome browser, now "account and import " is showing up and started imported.It says it takes up 2days.Just waiting to see how it goes.

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  31. I would like to open up a gmail account as a back-up to my current email, but I am not ready to make the switch yet. If I import my saved emails and contacts into gmail, does it _copy_ them or _remove_ them from my Yahoo account? In other words, will I still have my old emails and addresses in Yahoo until I switch? Maybe the answer is obvious to people who are more web literate, since I have not been able to find this explained. A response - even a very brief one - would be appreciated. Thanks!

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  32. Yes it does keep your old files, it only copies them.
    The problem that I am having is that it didn't copy all of my emails. I just did it though so maybe they will show up in the next couple of days. Here's hoping!

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  33. I followed the process to import my email from yahoo account to gmail. All email from the inbox & custom folders imported successfully to gmail. But no email from the sent folder of yahoo was imported to gmail. I desperately need that. Please help.

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  34. Can anyone explain to me why I can't import emails and contacts from another gmail account? It's insulting

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  35. When trying to import email and contacts from Outlook, I type in the email address for the account I'd like to import from, then hit continue. Instead of getting the next window that should ask for my password, I get a message saying the import has begun and it may take up to two days for importing to begin. Obviously it isn't importing from my Outlook account as I never accessed that account and didn't complete the import process. Any ideas why this is happening?

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  36. hi...i only want to import new yahoo mails on my gmail account,
    Is any process to import only new mails on any account instand of importing heavy data of previous mails.

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  37. I agree with anonymous! I want to import my folders from my old Gmail to my new Googlemail account!!!

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  38. While I have yet to try out this feature it is another reason for people to ditch Hotmail and Yahoo Mail for Google Mail. This seems to be the one reason people are unwilling to switch from Hotmail because they have all their MSN and email stuff in there. Yahoo and Microsoft can add stuff like unlimited storage and free POP3, but at the end of the day that is not what most people care about. I have thousands of emails and I am nowhere near my limit and if you want to get all inbox zero you shouldn't really need unlimited space if you archive or delete the stuff you don't actually need like Twitter and Facebook email. Not to mention POP3 is yesterdays technology. IMAP is much better than POP, plus Google has Google Sync. For me this is killer. It gives me push email, contacts and calendars for free! I no longer have to hobble together a solution or pay through the nose for MobileMe or an Exchange Server.

    Mobile is where it is at. Yahoo and Microsoft are bound to lose if they are still focusing on POP3 and offering more inbox space. Give me something where I can easily sync my stuff across all my devices in the app I want to use.

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  39. Idc if Hotmail is working on pop, because POP3 is insecure and obsolete, dIMAP is a better solution... but Google has clear text login :( that defeats the whole thing. I don't understand why they don't use CRAM-MD5

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  40. If you want to import folders, just use YippieMove (http://www.yippiemove.com).

    Also, if you want to import contacts from Yahoo, here's a video on how to do it without TrueSwitch:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFRbrTjFHnU

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  41. if i have a gmail account and want to open another gmail account and import my mail and contacts-will i lose all access to my emails in the original gmail account? or will they remain there ans ALSO be in my 2nd account/

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  42. "Mail and contacts cannot be imported from another Gmail account."

    I really need this, why can't this be done? I set up my first Gmail account and needed to switch due to personal reasons. I'll keep on researching this.

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  43. Ok I found it. As usual I find solutions right after I make a post about an issue.

    http://www.mydigitallife.info/2009/05/15/how-to-transfer-emails-from-one-gmail-to-another-gmail-mailbox/

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  44. I tried to import from AOL, it imported all my old mail. When it comes to importing new mail it doesn't import my new mail. I have my college email also importing into Gmail and that works perfectly fine.

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  45. but it 'll not import gmail account to gmail..

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  46. If you want to keep your label structure you should check a tool like http://improffice.com/emailtransfer

    It's completely functional and you get support, not like with this tool...

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  47. Switch to Gmail – Now Import Mails & Contacts from 60 plus Email providers
    http://www.globinch.com/2011/03/25/switch-to-gmail-now-import-mails-contacts-from-60-plus-email-providers/

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  48. But how long does it take to import? When I went through the process, the notice said it would take 2 days. That was 6 days ago, and still nothing has been brought through. Sounds like a scam to me.

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  49. I am switching from Yahoo to gmail and I need to have my yahoo mail sent to my gmail for longer than the 30 days...Is there a way I can do that...I would even pay extra to have it last about a year. Thanks

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