If you blinked you might have missed it, but a couple weeks ago it finally happened. Gmail launched their official universal app. For a few hours anyway. It was pulled by the folks at Google shortly after launch due to a combination of bugs on their end and an outcry from users about the apps shortcomings and GUI. But it's back again and ready for download, though it still has some issues.
Why have a Gmail app at all? Well, there are certain features Gmail users love and depend on that Apple’s mail app doesn't allow for, most notably simple searching of all that archived mail from one spot. Also threaded conversation – the reason I use Gmail only – and the priority inbox are not supported.
Google made this statement on their blog:
Two weeks ago, we introduced our Gmail app for iOS. Unfortunately it contained a bug which broke notifications and displayed an error message, so we removed it from the App Store. We’ve fixed the bug and notifications are now working, and the app is back in the App Store. For an overview of what’s available in the Gmail app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, check out this blog post.
In the short time the app was public we received a lot of helpful feedback and feature requests. This included requests for everything from bigger features like multiple account support to customizations like improved notifications and mobile specific signatures.
We’re just getting started with the Gmail app for iOS and will be iterating rapidly to bring you more features, including all the ones listed above plus many more. Based on your comments we have already improved our handling of image HTML messages - they are now sized to fit to the screen and you can pinch to zoom in.
Grab the the Gmail app and let us know what you think Google still needs to work on.