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Frequently asked questions about Birkbeck's GMail service

Frequently asked questions about Birkbeck's GMail service

1. Have concerns about privacy been addressed in the use of hosted services?

Use of the GMail service is not compulsory to students, and those with reservations about using a commercial or hosted service for their Birkbeck email may make other arrangements, and should update their preferred contact email address within MyBirkbeck.

Google's privacy statements and the terms of service are available.

2. I can't login to Birkbeck GMail

Ensure you go to and use your Birkbeck username and password. The full form is If you still can't login first try changing your password using the facility at and wait an hour for Google to update, then try again.

3. Can I use POP or IMAP clients?

Yes, but you should check the GMail help forum for the latest list of supported POP and IMAP clients.

4. Can I use the other applications available in the Google service.

Yes, please do, though note that support is limited at present. Experience elsewhere suggests that using the Google Apps applications is intuitive, and no restrictions have been placed on these. Please ensure you are familiar with the implications if sharing documents or sites however, and note that some restrictions are placed on the Birkbeck GMail service in consideration of security and privacy. If you would like to request that changes are made to the global settings, please send an email message to

5. I'm a member of staff using Exchange, can I use the GoogleApps applications?

Yes, though you may have to change your ITS password before it is synchronised with the Google service if you haven't changed it recently. If you want to migrate to GMail for your college email, that is also supported, but not recommended.

6. I'm a member of staff and want to use GMail as my mail service. Can I?

Yes. However, note that GMail addresses are handled differently, and using your mail address will not be the same as when using a College based system. Incoming email will be unaffected, as anything sent to your Birkbeck email address will be routed to the GMail service. The main implication is that with the way Gmail works, the default address can never be (as is not a google domain). However, Gmail allows users to "send as" any address owned by the user, so you can set this in Gmail. In addition, we are adding an additional "nickname" for staff so that you can set, within Gmail, the default address of (which is fine as the domain *is* operated by Google). This is the main compromise for staff using the Gmail service.

7. Will my email address <username> continue to work with GMail?

Yes, the same email address will be retained for incoming messages. A new mail alias is also provided – <username> – and this is the default for sending email, but you can elect to use other mail addresses if preferred.

8. I'm a postgraduate research student (or Sessional Lecturer) with personalised email address, can this be set to the default for sending email?

Incoming email will be unaffected, as anything sent to your Birkbeck email address ( will be routed to the GMail service. Google have tightened up their security and frequently reject forwarded email - the main implication of this is that the default address can never be initial.surname@<subdomain> (as <subdomain> is not a Google domain).  Alternatively of course, staff can use the Birkbeck Exchange email service.

9. What happens when I leave Birkbeck?

Your computer account for access to Birkbeck services will close. However, your computer account for the Birkbeck GMail service will continue to work. At present there are no plans to change the email address of those continuing to use the Birkbeck GMail service while not enrolled and this will remain <username>, but we reserve the right to make that change in the future, and to withdraw the service at any time. Mailboxes will be closed, after due warning, if you do not login to your Birkbeck GMail box for a period 15 months after last enrolment, and the contents of the mailbox will be deleted a year after that. For students using the email alias, please note that this will stop working when your account is closed. You should use the email address subsequently.