iOS device users once again have a native Gmail app to call their own, and Google says its even better than the first version.
After two weeks in hiding, Google's native iOS app for Gmail has returned to Apple's iTunes App Store.
The company initially launched the app on November 2, but immediately withdrew it when after discovering that a bug in the software had escaped the notice of both Google's programmers and Apple's app reviewers. The bug interfered with the notification system on iOS devices, and led to the display of an error message.
Google product manager Matthew Izatt suggested in a blog post that the release and withdrawal of the app proved helpful because it prompted users to provide feedback about desired features, including support for multiple accounts, improved notifications, and other mobile-specific additions. He said Google has already added one of those features and plans to add more in time.
"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," he said.
Users of iOS devices have previously been able to use native iOS email clients like Apple's Mail app to access Gmail, but at the cost of Gmail-specific features. Until now, Google has encouraged Gmail users with iOS devices to access the service through its Gmail Web app, in keeping with its oft-stated belief that the Web is the platform that matters.
Nonetheless, Google presides over a growing stable of native iOS apps, including Google+, Google Search, Google Earth, Google Translate, Google Voice, Google Books, Google Places, Google Latitude, Google Shopper, Google Authenticator, Google TV Remote, Blogger, Panoramio, and now Gmail.
Users of the buggy version of the app must log out or uninstall it before installing the new version.
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