How can I access someone else's Gmail messages that they've saved in a folder for me and without the metadata of the messages being affected?

For example, a colleague or friend of mine has searched their inbox and put select messages into a folder for me to view/review.

How can they get that folder to me without the changing the metadata of the original email messages?


If you click the settings button at the top of the gmail page and the look at the "Accounts" tab, there will be an option to grant others access to your account. But this will work for alL your mail, not just the one folder.


Gmail has a mail forwarding feature that keeps the metadata (rather than a FWD: type of message) but it works as new e-mail arrives, and I don't think you can run it on demand.

Anyway, a possible way would be to enable IMAP and download the folder using a client such as mozilla Thunderbird. It should be straightforward from then to export or save e-mail files and send them to you, which you could possibly reimport into your own IMAP gmail (not tried).


Does the person trust you with their name/password? if so, then you can use IMAP to get messages. This will grant access to all email though, not just one folder.


You can install Google Gears, enable the beta Offline Gmail feature, and then choose to synchonize your mail. Once your box is synched you will have the mail for the selected period locally in a SQLite database file. The exact location will depend on the browser you use.

There are lots of GUIs for SQLite databases that you can use to select the messages you need using SQL queries. It might also make sense to write a script, e.g. in Python to only extract the required messages based on labels or any other metadata.

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