The Iterative Web App: Outbox for Emails in Limbo

Thursday, August 13, 2009 | 9:50 AM

On April 7th, we announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iPhone and Android-powered devices. Among the improvements was a complete redesign of the web application's underlying code which allows us to more rapidly develop and release new features that users have been asking for, as explained in our first post. We'd like to introduce The Iterative Webapp, a series where we will continue to release features for Gmail for mobile. Today: Outbox.

With the web-browser-based Gmail for mobile we launched in April for iPhone and Android-powered devices, you can compose mail even when you're offline. That means you can write an email when there's no wireless connection, like in a subway or an airplane. And when you hit send, the message will be sent when the phone's network connectivity gets re-established. But what if you'd like to view the message that you just "sent" while still offline? Where can you find those 'sent but not actually sent' emails? Before today, the answer was "nowhere."

To solve this problem, we're now introducing a new feature, called Outbox. Outbox is a new label that appears in the menu when you have queued messages stuck on your phone and presents a read-only view of the subject of those messages. So if you want to make sure the previous message was sent before writing a follow-up mail, you can go ahead and find it in Outbox. Please note that you can read only the subject, not the body, of messages in Outbox.

To try out Gmail for mobile, visit gmail.com in your mobile browser. This version of Gmail for mobile supports iPhone/iPod touch OS 2.2.1 or above, as well as all Android-powered devices, and is available for US English only. To make it easy to access your Gmail account, try creating a home screen link.

by Heaven Kim, Product Marketing Manager, Google Mobile

29 comments:

saiddy said...

that's awesome!

Tucker said...

This is really sweet. I'm so impressed that Google is making their web apps for Android and iPhone good!

Joe McCann said...

Awesome, any chance you will add this feature to Google Docs? Would love to access (even just read-only) some docs while offline.

Avi said...

Any chance that you will be porting this version to be available for the Palm Pre as well?

Lee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Jarrod DellaChiesa said...

Too bad they aren't improving their mobile apps for these platforms. I'd rather use an app than a webpage anyday.

Mickey said...

You really need to add the "apple-mobile-web-app-capable" and similar meta tags to your web apps so they'll play more nicely on the iPhone when used as home screen icons. It's a simple fix, and makes a BIG difference. In the meantime I'll keep using appit to access your stuff (better launch from home screen icon), but I'll hope for a proper fix in the near future.

Evan Verworn said...

@Joe McCann :: Google does... if you goto docs.google.com on the iPod Touch/iPhone your able to read documents or edit excel tables.

Gabriel Boisvert said...

PUSH GMAIL DUDES!!!!!!!

Abhi said...

Why aren't you creating an iPhone native app for gmail and all google services, yahoo has it.

MMI Brian said...

This is a welcomed feature but we're still missing the most important which is the ability to attach files when composing in mobile gmail.

When will be this be available???

AppsMan said...

I have 3 items in my Outbox that have been there for weeks. How do I delete them?

jrg said...

I already have a home screen link for Gmail - does this need to be remade, to get the new functionality when offline, or does something update behind the scenes when it is accessed?

Philotech said...

> I have 3 items in my Outbox that have been there for weeks. How do I delete them?

Exactly. This only makes sense if I can delete mails in the outbox to stop them from being sent and to amend e-mails in the outbox.

So GMail just isn't quite there yet.

Paul said...

When will BlackBerry get these kinds of features? The BlackBerry web interface is atrocious and the BlackBerry application, while decent, is missing lots of features.

Rob said...

Yay! Now get on Blackberry app so we can all feel the love!!

Pablo said...

Why take so long to launch the Spanish version?

Sara said...

So why not make this an across-the-board change to the Gmail Mobile site instead of just focusing on the IPhone and Android experience? Believe it or not there *are* still Windows Mobile and Blackberry users out there.(Not that you'd know it based on the lack of WM support for the recently released Google Voice apps.)

Frank said...

Well I spent the day reviewing help forum & blog posting from several users and found many items that google says they are "actively being worked on." I think all of us want to know when the next google mail app will address the below:
-Viewing (& saving) embedded images in gmail mobile application.
-Applying labels to gmail messages (not just viewing labels)
-Uploading and Downloading files / attachments
-Copy and Pasting text, links, etc from email
-Forwarding HTML formatted emails

The PC gmail version has got it right, let's do the same for gmail mobile! I'd be glad to help screen demos if you need it.

Maite said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Badri said...

Outbox is not a novel concept. So there is nothing new about it. One thing that beats me is when I am in a subway and I try to load my browser on iPhone the website will not show up at all. So I guess it is of no use. Google should focus on getting a native app to resolve the above issue.

Ash said...

It is a bit weird advertising this feature as this is a must feature in a contemporary E-mail Client applications. Especially " So if you want to make sure the previous message was sent before writing a follow-up mail, you can go ahead and find it in Outbox." is taken for granted feature in E-mail clients. May be it is a hyped because it is browser based, but again will G-mail then force a browser to run offline if user does not want to connect to online E-mail feature? I guess Google never had to do any offline E-mail features and they are happy about what more they can do :-).

teknolog said...

Any chance we can get these to the Symbian webkit browser? Google Reader already works fine on it, so I don't see why Gmail wouldn't work.

TrueDis said...

How about you actually fix image loading in the iPhone version of gmail? Otherwise the new version is STILL next-to-worthless.

DARY said...

mail app on the iPhone works fine for me. all i need is (not only me, all of us) a push mail.

its free one other mobiles, but.. i will pay for it, if the push thing isn't free for the iPhone!

thecodemonk said...

I need a native app on S60. I have a e71x and it works for everything except gmail. There was an app that I installed a long time ago that worked great... But now it's no longer available and my phone isn't supported. I try to go to the gmail mobile web page and I get nothing, just a blank page... I just started forwarding all my e-mail to gmail, but now that may have been a mistake....

teknolog said...

Yes the Gmail java app works great on Symbian phones, but it must be sideloaded since Google won't offer it to you at the moment.

AD said...

The Gmail experience online is so much better than on any phone. Having read this, tried an HTC Magic with Android's gmail app and currently using a Nokia E51 gmail app - I can say that the Nokia app works best.

For example on Android you can't select which email address to use (I have 5 via gmail). Not good. Can this be done on the iphone? It can on the Nokia.

Strange that Symbian and the Nokia currently win this competition?

Jim said...

With the new mobile gmail platform, I cannot accept or decline appointments for my google calendar from my Iphone, although I can from Firefox.

Please fix this, it is critical for business