The Gmail API is a RESTful API that can be used to access Gmail mailboxes and send mail. For most web applications the Gmail API is the best choice for authorized access to a user's Gmail data and is suitable for various applications, such as:
- Read-only mail extraction, indexing, and backup
- Automated or programmatic message sending
- Email account migration
- Email organization including filtering and sorting of messages
- Standardization of email signatures across an organization
Following is a list of common terms used in the Gmail API:
- An email message containing the sender, recipients, subject, and body. After a message has been created, a message cannot be changed. A message is represented by a message resource.
- A collection of related messages forming a conversation. In an email client app, a thread is formed when one or more recipients respond to a message with their own message.
A mechanism for organizing messages and threads. For example, the label "taxes" might be created and applied to all messages and threads having to do with a user's taxes. There are two types of labels:
- System labels
- Internally-created labels, such as
SPAM. These labels cannot be deleted or modified. However, some system labels, such as
INBOXcan be applied to, or removed from, messages and threads.
- User labels
- Labels created by a user. These labels can be deleted or modified by the user or an application. A user label is represented by a label resource.
An unsent message. A message contained within the draft can be replaced. Sending a draft automatically deletes the draft and creates a message with the
SENTsystem label. A draft is represented by a draft resource.
To learn about developing with Google Workspace APIs, including handling authentication and authorization, refer to Get started as a Workspace developer.
To learn how to configure and run a simple Gmail API app, read the Quickstarts overview.