Several months ago, Google announced the Gmail API. Today, they are adding push notification support, meaning you will no longer need to poll Gmail constantly for brand new messages if you are a developer or service utilizing that API, which will make the next party Gmail application experience far better.
If you wish to learn about implementation, read about this around the Google developers site here, also it seems like it will likely be a fairly simple switch.
Gmail offers both IMAP and it is own native API to be used by third-party developers, only the state Gmail API supports features like threaded replies, drafts, specific permissions, native search, and much more. With push here, it’s essentially the only method to go unless of course your business refuses to help you to use not IMAP.