Apple:

Mail Update for Mavericks includes improvements to general stability and compatibility with Gmail, including the following:

Fixes an issue that prevents deleting, moving, and archiving messages for users with custom Gmail settings

Addresses an issue that may cause unread counts to be inaccurate

Includes additional fixes that improve the compatibility and stability of Mail

I don't use Gmail as my primary email anymore, so I'm looking forward to reading reports about the stability of this update (will Joe Kissell tell us?). You can download it here or through the Mac App Store.

Joe Kissell:

Apple Mail in Mavericks treats Gmail accounts differently than any previous version of Mail did. Although some of the changes are quite clever, the implementation has flaws. Your mileage may vary, of course, but I’ve seen a number of folks on Twitter complaining about some of the same things I’ve found. Here’s what I’ve observed and what you can (and can’t) do about it.

I mentioned “strangeness” with Mail in my review of Mavericks. Joe does an excellent job at documenting what’s going on and why.

I’ll let you guess what other old feature Mavericks broke in Mail (keep reading Joe’s article until the end).

Announced last week, Google has today released an update to its official Gmail app for iOS that adds support to the new inbox and brings finer controls for push notifications.

The new inbox, configurable from Gmail’s desktop website, allows you to enable different categories for “primary” emails and other messages such as promotions, social updates, or notifications from online forums. As we described the feature last week, “categories and tabs are basically pre-defined filters and labels with training wheels”. Messages can be moved from a tab to another to train Gmail’s algorithm in better automatic organization; currently, Gmail will try its best to automatically sort an incoming message into the appropriate category, but there isn’t an option to create new custom categories from scratch.

The Gmail app now shows Inbox categories in the account sidebar, where they’re listed with custom icons and colored badges for unread emails in each category. Like the desktop website, you can move messages across categories, but you can’t configure the Inbox directly on iOS (the app will remind you to open Gmail “on a computer” to do that).

Gmail’s notifications have been updated to reflect the change. With today’s update, you can set notifications for all new mail, none, or only messages that are marked as “primary”. Notification settings are available inside each account, where you can also activate your mobile signature and vacation responder.

Gmail for iOS is available on the App Store. For a refresher on the new Inbox, here’s Google’s blog post from last week.

Today, Google announced new features for Gmail that sorts your inbox into various categories for social network notifications, receipts and shipping updates, and promotions from your favorite shopping sites. While Priority Inbox made an attempt to surface only the stuff that really mattered, categories breaks the inbox down to a series of tabs that should help cut down on some of the clutter. Categories and tabs are basically pre-defined filters and labels with training wheels.

On the desktop, the new inbox groups your mail into categories which appear as different tabs. You simply choose which categories you want and voilà! Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when.

Categories for Android, iOS, and the desktop will be gradually rolling out to Gmail users and their respective app stores over the coming weeks. In the meantime, be sure to check out The Verge, who have an initials hands-on with the latest features.

Gmail

An update to the official Gmail app for iOS released today brings a series of welcome improvements that users had been requesting since the (re)launch of the client last year.

The first notable addition is support for signing out of individual accounts. In older versions of the app, users were forced to sign out of all accounts at once, a tedious process that didn't make much sense considering the app had a dedicated section for accounts that could use better sign out options. In today's update, you can tap & hold an account's avatar in the sidebar to bring up a Sign Out button in a popover at the bottom.

The new version of Gmail also works nicely with Google's other apps for iOS: from the Settings, you can now specify whether YouTube, Google Maps, and web links should directly open in Google's native app replacements or a mobile web view. These options are available in the Settings screen for each account, but they will be enabled for the entire app, not single accounts.

The last new feature, also shown in the app's updated walkthrough, are search suggestions as you type. While Gmail has always been able to search across all your mail, today's version brings suggestions that (based on initial tests) should match addresses and subject lines found in your account.

You can find Gmail for iOS on the App Store.

Evomail, a new Gmail client for iPad released today at $2.99, wants to fill the void left by the announced-but-never-released Sparrow for iPad, providing an alternative to the largely web-based official Gmail app and the upcoming (?) Mailbox for iPad. To differentiate itself from iOS’ native email client, Apple’s Mail app, Evomail focuses on three main areas: a new, modern design; push notifications; and tight integration with Gmail. The first version of Evomail is good, but rough around (many) edges.

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Gmail for iOS URL Scheme

Tom Scogland figured out the complete URL scheme for Gmail 2.0, Google’s official Gmail app for the iPhone and iPad. As documented on his blog, the Gmail app allows you to compose an entire message using the following template:

googlegmail:///co?subject=<subject text>&body=<body text>

As I’ve also found out, you can add a to= parameter to pass a URL-encoded email address to which an email will be sent to. Unfortunately, my tests also confirmed that a similar from= parameter isn’t supported, and that this undocumented URL scheme doesn’t support x-callback-url, unlike Chrome. So, it’s not possible to return to a “calling” app after an email has been sent or the compose screen dismissed. I’ve also noticed how this URL scheme isn’t particularly reliable at bringing up the compose screen if the app wasn’t paused in the background (such as in a cold start); this is probably the reason Google isn’t publicizing this URL scheme — it’s not ready yet.

I’ve still made some stuff for it, though. Here’s a JavaScript bookmarklet that will open Gmail using a webpage’s title as Subject and URL as body:

javascript:window.location='googlegmail:///co?subject='+encodeURIComponent(document.title)+'&body='+encodeURIComponent(location.href);

Here’s an action for Launch Center Pro:

googlegmail:///co?subject=[prompt]&body=[prompt]

And an action for Drafts:

googlegmail:///co?subject=[[title]]&body=[[body]]

Keep in mind that the URL scheme may fail if Gmail wasn’t paused in the background (it’ll show a splash screen when loading again). I’m looking forward to improvements to the URL scheme, as Google has been doing a great job with these lately.

Dec
4
2012

Gmail 2.0: A Year Later

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Despite Google’s persistence on adopting web views in an iOS frame, Gmail’s iOS app has been consistently improved since its inception. For the amount of ridicule Gmail for iOS has received, whether it be for its mobile web disguise or a lack of support for multiple accounts, it’d be a shame not to recognize some of the substantial improvements that have been made to the app. While I didn’t think Gmail was a great app, I didn’t think of it as a bad app, offering a native Gmail experience for account holders who want to take advantage of Google’s quick search capabilities, labels, and importance markers. On iOS, the main benefit is near instant notifications, something that Apple’s native Mail app can’t take advantage of unless Gmail is set up as an Exchange account. (And that notification sound? One of the best.)

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Jul
20
2012

Google Acquires Sparrow

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Sparrow, the email client for OS X, just announced they have been acquired by Google. The Sparrow team will join the Gmail team to “accomplish a bigger vision”. Since its release, Sparrow has quickly become one of the most popular mail clients on OS X and, more recently, on the iPhone as well.

From the Sparrow website:

We’re excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.

Now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.

According to the developers, while the product has been acquired by Google, it will continue to be available, and the team will still provide support for its users, at least for the time being.

After the release of the iPhone client, the Sparrow team publicly asked Apple to figure out a solution to let them implement push notifications, which Sparrow wanted to use through a different method than the one enforced by Apple. The Sparrow team stated push was coming with or without Apple, but then suggested push would be coming with a yearly subscription after Apple’s decision not to allow their implementation of push notifications.

Recently, Sparrow also announced they were working on an iPad application. However, in an email the team just sent to existing customers, they wrote:

as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.

On the other hand, Google’s own Gmail app has always been heavily criticized (in spite of its improvements) for its performances and reliance on web views instead of “native” code in several interactions with navigation, message search, and more. In theory, the acquisition of Sparrow should hint at a major update to the official Gmail offerings for iOS coming in the future, although, obviously, the details are not clear at this point.

Interestingly enough, while Sparrow does have clients for both iPhone and OS X, Google has never offered an official Gmail application for the Mac. Similarly, one of the most prominent features of Sparrow is its ability to pull contacts’ profile pictures from Facebook, a kind of integration we assume would be going away in an hypothetical Google-owned version of Sparrow, replaced by Google+ support for avatars. Again, the same would apply for Dropbox and CloudApp, both of which are file sharing services supported by Sparrow; theoretically, Google would want to replace those features with Google Drive, their service for sharing and collaborating on documents online.

For a background on Sparrow, check out our latest coverage of the Mac client, our review of Sparrow for iPhone, and initial impressions with the Google Gmail app.

Update: A Google spokesperson has provided MacStories with a statement on Sparrow’s acquisition.

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.