People have been asking for Google to offer POP access to Gmail, and they finally have announced that they will. For more information on how to set up gmail in your desktop email client see Gmail Help Center - POP Section. The announcement was made a couple days ago, and it read;
Today, the Gmail Team is happy to announce free POP access for Gmail users. POP access has been a much requested Gmail feature and we're pleased to announce that we're now making it available to all users over the next couple of weeks.
With POP access, Gmail users can download a copy of their messages using any email program (such as Microsoft Outlook), or any device (e.g. Blackberry, mobile phones) that supports POP. And of course with POP access on Gmail, users can access their messages offline.
For instance, a user working from her home office who prefers to retrieve email via Microsoft Outlook can easily do so by configuring her Outlook client and enabling POP access on Gmail. Gmail messages received via POP will not display advertisements and Gmail will leave messages on the server by default, so users can still access their messages via the Gmail web interface.
Both POP access and automatic forwarding (which enables users to send incoming messages to the email account of their choice) will be provided to Gmail users for free, and we have no plans to charge for either feature. Both enable users to choose which email interface is best for them, without having to worry about losing access to their messages. Think of it as "email portability."
Finally, just a reminder that we're beta testing Gmail and the interface and search capabilities are only available in English at the moment. However, users can read and send messages in many other languages. We hope you enjoy these new features and as always, we encourage you to send us your thoughts and feedback.
The Gmail Team