Gmail gets a new engine for iPhone and Android-powered devices

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 | 10:41 AM

Today, we're thrilled to tell you about the improvements we've made to Gmail for mobile, running in the iPhone and Android web browser. First, you'll notice that it's a lot faster when performing actions like opening an email, navigating, or searching. And if the data network drops out on you, rest assured that Gmail won't. You'll still be able to open recently read messages and to compose over a flaky, or non-existent, network connection.

All this is achieved with aggressive caching and by leveraging new browser technologies, like HTML5 and Gears. The full impact of this new architecture isn't visible yet, but it will enable us to significantly improve performance and quickly roll out new features in the near future. We're really excited about the potential impact this change can bring - so excited, in fact, that our VP of Engineering, Vic Gundotra, shared the news and demoed these new capabilities at the February 2009 GSMA Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona and last week at Web 2.0 in San Francisco.

The new Gmail for mobile will also help you tackle your inbox faster. Gone are the days when you had to archive multiple messages by selecting each one, then scrolling all the way up (or down) to reach the archive button. Our fingers were getting sore with all the scrolling and we're willing to bet yours were too. Now when you select a message, a floaty bar appears near the top of the screen with options to archive, delete, and more. In fact, the floaty bar stays with you as you scroll through your inbox, so you can easily archive, delete, or view more options no matter where you are.



Lastly, we improved the look and feel of messages. Labels are easier to read and are more in-line with the familiar Gmail labels you see on your desktop. We also moved the search menu up into the top header, making it more accessible.

Go to gmail.com from your mobile browser to give it a try, and stay tuned for feature additions and improvements. For easy access to your Gmail, create a homescreen link. If you have any feedback or ideas, please let us know.

*Please note: The new Gmail for mobile only supports iPhone/iPod Touch OS 2.2.1 or above. If you have an older firmware version, you'll be directed to the previous Gmail for mobile. All Android-powered phones are supported. New Gmail for mobile is available for English only. The roll out will occur over the course of a day, so please check back later if you don't see the updated user interface right away

Check out the video below to see new Gmail for mobile in action:



If you are a Google Apps user, go to mail.google.com/a/yourdomain.

91 comments:

andy said...

It's a nice little tool, it really is neat. Works well too!

sketec said...

What would the benefit of using this rather than Android's built in application for Gmail? (real question)

BYRSA said...

and for blackberry ?

Jeremy said...

GAAAHHHHH!
Where's the BlackBerry love?

Brent Nau said...

Cool. Looks nice and speed is comparable to the imap version on the iPhone.

TimK said...

I get an error trying to install this on my G1.

If there was a way to copy the error text that's too long for me to remember, I'd have done so. :)

Jonathan said...

@BYRSA Please notice the title of the blog entry. It no where says Blackberry... PLEASE MOVE ALONG to the next article. THANKS!

Tenkely said...

I agree with sketec, What is the benifit over the native Android app?

ddd said...

Nice improvements. But, it's still not possible to apply labels to an email?

Ecubuntu said...

Excelent work. Thank you

Chuck said...

For anyone asking what the benefit over the native app is here you go. Think about it. How many of us have multiple gmail accounts? I have two maiin accounts. One for work and one for home. At work I can just keep gmail open all day but when I am away but want to check my work messages... You get the idea.

Stop touchin my blog! said...

Very coooooool :)

Frank Taylor said...

Why not allow for zooming on the text in an E-mail? I find it hard sometimes to read the text.

BritniMarie said...

Why is this not an app? I hate having to go through my browser, not to mention the fact that it would be nice have a badge reminder. Otherwise, I'm it. It's a deffinate improvement.

Miguel said...

Sweet,

An Android user here, looks neat so far. Runs smoothly for me. :) I have two gmail accounts to keep tabs on so it works.

Mike said...

It'd be nice if there were some way to at least get a badge reminder on the google app, or even a stand-alone gmail app that had a unread items badge and then linked to the web app. Otherwise, looks really nice!

IslandOfToys said...

The native app supports multiple accounts. So again, what is the benefit of being able to look at Gmail via a web page? Yeah that's nice they optimized for mobile connections, but if you're on a G1 you don't need this.

danbutcher said...

I've just played with the new version, and it's slick. Still, I'm wondering what benefit I get in using the web interface rather than the Gmail app that comes on my G1. I get that folks with multiple accounts like this, but what's the goal for the rest of us on the G1?

Eli said...

Will the g1 gmail app be getting this kind of an overhaul?

Radio Babylon said...

im with the others... please, google, update your apps, not your webpages.

Ren said...

I'm going to lend my voice to the hue and cry for the app, not just the website, to be updated for the gphone

skg said...

Looks very nice. Are there plans to include role support (visible to the G1)? It's annoying not to have it either in this new mobile view or the G1's "desktop" view, and not to have it in the G1 app... which basically keeps me from using two-thirds of my gmail account on my G1.

ilikesteak said...

For Heaven's sake, what about us poor Blackberry users? Please give us something, thanks.

-T

Ulf said...

Congrats on the launch Joanne and Waterloo/Mtn View teams. This is a really cool webapp!

hasan said...

I'm a iPhone user from UK ... is this feature not available in UK yet? It's not working for me.

Will said...

thank you for the economical use of screen real estate and fast performance. bravo!

Chris Lavoie said...

Great improvement over the native iPhone email reader! However, would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to apply labels.

fountaineer said...

still no search option. that's the one major thing missing from both the app and gmail mobile.

jordan buckley said...

Looks way better, and faster! Good work. Is there still no way to apply labels in the mobile site?

Fountaineer, the mobile site (at least on my iPhone) does have search: the magnifying glass in the upper right.

PhillyMac said...

And it would have been great if I could have labeled something - geesh! How am I supposed to organize stuff without using labels? Wait till I get to my desktop? Kinda defeats the purpose doesn't it? Yes, the things you did were nice and I can feel how snappy it is, but sorry, still FAIL.

The M & M Team said...

I need my alerts... either audible or vibrate... if you can accomplish this from a browser based app, that would be awesome!!!

<3

Dogma said...

Gmail iPhone dev team: I've also developed an html/gears iphone app, would love to chat about the technical side of this and comparing notes. Drop me a line at darugar at gmail if you're up for a chat.

Burt W said...

Very, very nice interface. Well done.

Please consider accepting as a requirement the ability to add labels from the mobile interface.

ohene said...

How do i put the update on my home screen i have the G1?

tipofico said...

great job with the moving menu, starred and labels - with such limited space too. Like everyone else i don't use the browser but the iphone email app so just need to wait for that...

Dave said...

Not working for my iPhone in the UK.

Flora said...

I'd love to know when this will be live in the UK.

tgoshorn83 said...

what about multiple email accounts? I have it set up to email from two different accounts through gmail, but in the online version, I can only email from my gmail account, not the other one.

Bruce said...

It is nice but sure would like to have ability to archive to labels.

briantist said...

I'm in the UK and entering mail.google.com in the G1 browser gets me this app...

Redboot said...

To apply label using Gmail on G1, press menu button, press Change labels, choose from list pressing + or - buttons.

fosk said...

Nice, srsly.

Shane said...

Nice update! I would still like to see better contact management though.

TimK said...

@Redboot: The point is to be able to apply and change labels with the mobile Web interface (which is what Google has just improved), not with the G1 app. :)

Miguel said...

I'm a G1 user. When is Google going to upgrade their own Gmail app on Android? Currently, I have to select each message in order to Archive it or Mark as Spam. It's annoying.

Joaquin said...

Really great. As an English speaker living in Mexico, I get half the page in English and half in Spanish. I go to Mail and it is in English and use the top selection to go to Calendar and it's in Spanish. Quit using my IP address to determine my language and just give me an option. Thanks again.

Joel Anthony said...

Until we can add labels via mobile, this is just plain old email with some extra bells and whistles. I will not use this until the ability to add/edit labels is implemented.

Mitch said...

Not impressed! Return the 'send' and 'save' buttons at the bottom of the screen! And when are you going to allow Google Apps users to access their full contacts when composing an email? The current situation is miserable.

Chiky said...

It is something wrong on my screen, it expands, it looks weird!!

Pedro said...

Very nice, very nice Google but only in the US the most popular smartphones are Android and iPhone. Elsewhere, Nokia S60 users are a majority - but still overlooked by google mobile apps.

I am an intense Google user and have to rely on a large number of third-party apps to sync my calendar and contacts (still no way to sync tasks between N82 and google account). And the actual Gmail app for S60 is very limited. Please Google, show some love to the rest of the world.

Jed A said...

i'm not seeing it with iPhone 3.0 beta OS .. i'm hoping i just don't have it yet and not that its broken for 3.0 ..

zeuscomics said...

Lots of fun to play with on my iPhone. What a great example of html 5 database storage!

Anyone else not seeing mail images loading?

Jason said...

How about adding official support for Opera Mobile 9.5 beta with gears? I modified the user agent to emulate android and it works just fine...

SPB in Tokyo said...

The need to manage labels from the mobile app is critical to staying organized. I don't think that having filter management in the mobile version is needed.

Labels are the "organizational linchpins" to productivity, please add more features around labels in the next release.

Savocado said...

can't wait for an BlackBerry app.

Dan said...

I'm in the UK using iPhone OS 2.2.1 and have cleared out the Safari cache but am still not getting the updated interface?

Emre SÜMENGEN said...

Where's the Windows Mobile version? Google's been developing Gmail (and Calendar, tasks etc) for iPhone and Android _ONLY_ lately... I really don't understand it. Opera on my Omnia supports Google Reader page for the iPhone, I guess it also can render this one too...

But, no... I'm the servant of devil (Microsoft? - I'm sorry for that. But I didn't buy it for the OS, I bought it for the device itself), so we would perish waiting?

Come on, please just know that there are lot's of people using both Gmail AND Windows Mobile phones, not even mentioning Symbian... Just make it homogenous!

Alan said...

But...once you open GMail, that's what you get whenever you open Safari. In other words, this defaults you to GMail when you might simply want to search the web.

Brian said...

Still doesn't seem to work for UK iPhones. Any ideas about when it might?

Alan said...

Love the update...I just can't imagine how applying labels still has not made it into the mobile interface...

Alan said...

Are others finding a bug with this latest version on iPhone? Graphics often don't render and are replaced with a box with a question mark. And emails that are "wide" with graphics render horribly!

Clicking on the "use older version" linkat the bottom of the inbox resolves the problem, so it seems that these bugs are confined to the new version of Gmail on iPhone.

I'm seeing complaints about this on other blogs and forums. What about here? Are others having the same problem? Try viewing a large email with graphics. It's a mess!

Mitch said...

It's not just the iPhone. I am having similar problems with my G1. the floaty bar disappears, emails extend beyond the screen. Plus, when I click on "Sent" email, I get emails that I have in a specific labe. This app is a mess and was clearly released a bit prematurely. I usually revert to the "old version" which is an option at the bottom of the screen.

Patrick said...

I'm in Australia and this update is still not available

Simon said...

if you change your language to English (US) it should work. It does in the Netherlands...

Bob said...

I like the new gmail for the iphone but I have encountered a small problem. When replying to an email, if my reply is longer than the space in the Reply window, I cannot scroll back to see what I have written at the beginning of my reply, or forward, if I have inserted something into the middle of my reply. The only scrolling that happens when I try is the whole email window, not just the Reply window.

meeshi said...

So, I am not sure if this is the best place for this or not, but I haven't found a better location for a android gmail feature request (feel free to direct me the right place)

first, I love my g1. I don't regret getting it over an iphone for a minute (okay maybe except for the horrific battery life). However one feature lacking is a shortcut key to the inbox in the gmail application. Not only is there not a shortcut key, but it is in the second menu screen. Please, please add an inbox shortcut key.

Shahpur Azizpour said...

This looks very promising. Is there a chance that we might see an opera mobile 6.5 version of this? I think quite a lot of windows mobile users are waiting for this.

Lore! said...

I don't see any of the images in mails with this new version of gmail mobile.

With the old version i hadn't any problem :(

Adam said...

iPhone gmail: Look great and nice nav set up, but unfortunately I am finding this REALLY buggy. As in it seems to contantly timeout when refreshing to receive new messages. When the messages do load up, it takes much longer than previous versions of gmail. Also sometimes when composing a new message it doesn't send. Please fix as this is really frustrating.

SPB in Tokyo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

SPB in Tokyo said...

One powerful feature that appears have been washed out in the new engine and interface release is label based search. By touching on a label you could kick off a mass action label search. This feature was a god send in the old version. It needs to find its way back into the current release. But, please don't stop there. More control of labels are the most empowering features in waiting.

Alan said...

OK, so it's obvious that this version was "not ready or prime time" and contains several bugs. Does anyone at the Blog know if something is being done to address this?

mrkvm said...

I have the same issues with images not loading in the iPhone/Safari version.

Also, I find it a bit irritating that I have to first wait for the page to load and then again for new messages to refresh. I'm guessing that's trying to get me going quicker, but usually I'm just interested in what's new.

Daniel said...

when will it be available in other languages?

Acid Zebra said...

That's great, but the mobile mail app for blackberry already was great. Now can we get Google News for mobiles some love? It really needs it.

G said...

Nice one Goog! You just made my life a little easier.

Rob said...

Is this not available in Australia yet?

Mark Blakeney said...

Typically poor communication from Google though. In spite of this post, these new features do not appear to be rolled out everywhere as I experience and as plenty of others here have asked. Does anybody at Google review the comments to these posts? Why is there no statement anywhere about where/when this is rolled out? Why do we have to waste 20 mins working out what is busted on our end when nothing is probably busted at all?

Robin said...

Hi Mark - As mentioned in the bottom of the post, the roll-out is gradual, in English only, and only for Android & updated iPhone OS. If you meet this criteria and are still not getting the update, the best place to get help is our help forum: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/Google+Mobile?hl=en. Cheers! Robin (Google Mobile Team)

Mark Blakeney said...

Thanks Robin but actually I've now found the problem and my new gmail mobile is updated. Simon says it above although perhaps not explicitly.

You must change your apps domain control panel to English-US, not English-UK. I also changed my gmail (and calendar, docs, sites) settings from English-UK to English-US so I am not sure which specific one fixed it. Seems you have to wait a few hours after changing this before you will see the gmail mobile update. You should see your gmail "bin" rename to "trash" as one indication of the language change.

I won't ever change to English-UK again now I know it is a poor cousin.

To Rob above, I'm Australian so this should be your problem too.

Darren said...

Why do we UK English users have to suffer US formats & spellings to have this working?

I think you need to revise your statements Google team. This isn't available in English, it's available in American.

oscillik said...

as a UK user who owns an Android phone and an iPod touch, this whole "language" situation is getting very frustrating.

The new features for Gmail accessed through the web browser (either on Android or iPod touch) require you to have your language set to "English US" rather than "English UK".

As someone else has already pointed out, if you want the new features you also have to contend with poor spelling, silly date formats, and American results in the Google Product Search for Mobile listings (everything is in Dollars)

Google, please make these features available to UK users. It's very frustrating

Miguel said...

All these Brits complaining about reading American English lol. Don't worry, we'll all be speaking Spanish in 20 years so this problem will be alleviated. Como estas amigo!

oscillik said...

Miguel, it's not about reading American English - it's about the fact that a feature that is being advertised as available to all who own a compatible device (those being any Android based device, the iPhone and iPod touch with 2.2.1 firmware) is not actually available to all. It's only available to those who can put up with date formats that are incompatible with their home region, and spelling that is incorrect.

I'm getting a little bit tired of Google products being oriented towards Americans. Google may be an American company, but they tout themselves as a global solution.

Miguel said...

Yes, I was just joking about the complaining. I've been to England and I used to love the small, but significant differences in spelling in some words. I agree, the easiest language for Google to implement would be English U.K. Just don't ask me to spell color like "colour"! Because that's a typo! I know because now I see the word underlined in red by by spell checker. :)

Alan said...

Speaking as a Canadian, I share your pain. If I were you, I would ask for my money back. I did, but their refunds department appears to be backlogged these days.

Alan said...

And by the way, your spell checker is broken. "Colour" is the correct way to spell it. I bet it doesn't work on "neighbourhood" or "labour" either, huh?

Alan said...

We've seen references to the fact that Gmail us aware of bugs highlighted here however nothing has changed with the product.

Does anyone have any idea where things stand? In my mind, this enhancement is basically useless and results in a situation where the new Gmail is much worse than the old on an iPhone.

Jeremy said...

I have a 3G iPhone with OS 2.2.1, but haven't seen the changes in Gmail. I see the Calendar changes, but not Gmail for some reason. Anyone for any ideas why?

Alan said...

Hey Google Mobile people! I figured out the problem. I noticed, as I mentioned above, that graphics are not displaying in the new version on my iPhone.

I resolved this FOR EACH EMAIL INDIVIDUALLY by tapping on the "view in Desktop" link at the bottom of the inbox on the new Gmail version. Then, if I open the email that is not displaying correctly in that version, I see that images are being blocked. When I click on "always show images from....." and then go back to the new iPhone mobile version, the graphics display perfectly.

The problem is that users of course shouldn't have to do that. If you want to give users the protection provided by allowing us to choose to view graphics or not from a particular sender, PLEASE PUT AN OPTION IN THE NEW DROP-DOWN MENU allowing us to make the choice. That will resolve the problem, and it seems like a no-brainer.

Raje said...

This comment has been removed by the author.