Re: Is this a joke?
It's a 'forced web-authentication', which takes you out of the client and into the browser. You basically get a cookie that way. Afterwards, they ignore that you have the cookie and claim that your 'sign in is suspicious'. I had to 're-activate' my account dozens of times - even though I set all the flags correctly, in theory allowing such access. This is clearly intended to break users until they give up and use their GMail client.
If you look through the forums, you will find users complaining about this en-mass.