Google Acquires Sparrow: A Huge Win for Android

Google’s acquisition of Sparrow is a major boost for the Android operating system. While the elegance and beauty of Sparrow will no doubt benefit Gmail users across all platforms, expect the influence to be felt in where Google is focusing most of its attention: mobile.

This means giving Android one more advantage over iOS, which has an email client that hasn’t changed substantially over the last five years.

A Google spokesman told TheAppPlanet the following: “The Sparrow team has always put their users first by focusing on building a seamlessly simple and intuitive interface for their email client. We look forward to bringing them aboard the Gmail team, where they’ll be working on new projects.”

While neither Google nor Sparrow would elaborate on specific plans, there are many areas of Gmail that could be enhanced, starting with the Gmail iOS app. One of the reasons for Sparrow’s success was the rather poor performance of Gmail on iOS. Even with recent improvements, Sparrow was by far the best way to manage email on an iPhone. The company also had an iPad app in the works.

In an email to users, Sparrow’s Dom Leca said, “We will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.”

The Verge reported earlier today that the acquisition cost Google around $25 million.

The news should be disappointing for Mac and iOS users who had come to rely on Sparrow. It was the first email client since Gmail to really capture the attention of tech enthusiasts. It also took design seriously, focusing on form as much as function. As Gmail continues its growth, an elegant and clean interface would certainly be welcome.

Yet, I would expect Gmail on Android to get a bulk of the early attention. This is an excellent opportunity for Google to give Gmail users one more reason to choose Android over iOS. Apple would be wise to pay attention to how this plays out.

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