Google has bought Sparrow, a small company that makes the email app of the same name. Sparrow has been very popular with iPhone and Mac users and the app is considered an upgrade over the stock Gmail app Google provides for the iPhone. Granted, the stock Gmail app for iOS is pretty bad and basic.
The Paris-based Sparrow team will be joining Google and will start working on "new projects" aka on Gmail, most likely for iOS though maybe for other platforms (Android) as well. The Sparrow app, which is paid, will continue to be maintained, but it will get no new features.
This is both bad news and good news for iOS users. On the one hand, if they've paid for Sparrow, they may feel a bit betrayed knowing that it will no longer be developed.
On the other hand, there's a good chance that the iOS Gmail app is going to get a lot better in the next few months. Mac users aren't so lucky.
"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," Sparrow announced.
"Now we're joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google," it said.
"While we’ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users. We had an amazing ride and can't thank you enough," it added.
Google has had no interest in building a desktop client and still doesn't. So the people that have been using Sparrow on their Macs are the most affected as it's unlikely that version of the app will be seeing any improvements. Google wants people using the online version.
Things are a bit different on the mobile front. There is a rumor that Sparrow had an iPad app in the works. That may or may not see the light of day. But it is a given that Google will put the Sparrow team to work on a new iOS version of the Gmail app. Anything they can come up with will be much better than what Google currently offers.