Mike Isaac

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With Sparrow Acquisition, Expect a Better Gmail on Apple Devices

Google announced on Friday morning the acquisition of Sparrow, an email client for iOS and Mac users that is widely considered an improvement over the Gmail app for the iPhone and Apple’s native Mac Mail app.

It’s a full acquisition, meaning tech and Sparrow’s full Paris-based team will join Google. The exact terms and price of the deal were not disclosed.

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

While Sparrow’s team will continue to update and support its existing application, don’t expect any new features or vast improvements on the app as it currently stands. Most of what we’ll see going forward are critical bug fixes, small updates and basic functionality maintenance.

Some users may be upset at the lack of updates going forward, considering that Sparrow is a paid application. Also frustrating: The company had an iPad app in the works — that may be put on hiatus, considering the acquisition.

What could remedy that, however, is the potential promise of improved Gmail for Apple devices. The Sparrow team will join the Gmail team to work on Google’s mail clients, most likely with an emphasis on the team’s Apple-centric work.

“We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience,” CEO of Sparrow Dom Leca wrote in a company blog post. “Now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.”

If you’ll remember when Gmail first debuted for the iPhone, Google pushed the app to the App Store, then almost immediately pulled it, citing a host of technical problems. It took quite some time to get it out into the wild again. So with Sparrow’s focus and expertise in the area, it’s likely that we’ll see a much better, more functional Gmail app in the future.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik