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Google buys email app maker Sparrow to bring “polish, ‘beauty’ and ease of use” to Gmail

July 21, 2012

Sparrow is a Gmail client for OS X and iOS developed by a five-person team based in Paris lead by Dom Leca. The app is quite popular on the iPlatforms, thanks in part to Google’s non-combat in this area. The Gmail app for iOS is notoriously underpowered when compared to the Android version, while Google doesn’t have a native Gmail client for OS X. This gave Sparrow a chance to seize the niche. But the success of Sparrow can also be attributed to the quality of its design and to the amount of polish that Leca’s team has poured into the user experience.

Now, that polish and design excellence might come to Google’s own Gmail applications. Yesterday, the Sparrow team announced that they would be joining Google “to accomplish a bigger vision”. The terms of the acquisition were not revealed, but according to The Verge, the deal went down for less than $25 million. Moreover, the buyout was not the result of a bidding war (some have speculated that Google bought Sparrow to snatch it from Apple).

The Sparrow iOS and OS X apps will continue to be available on the App Store, but Dom Leca said that development for the app will be ceased. Customers can expect some level of support and maintenance updates.

The Verge’s sources say that Google wants to bring some of the “polish, ‘beauty’, and ease of use” that characterize Sparrow’s apps to Google’s own Gmail apps. Rather than creating a new product, the Sparrow team will help bring polish and consistency to the Gmail experience, which is something that we certainly stand behind.

No word so far as of when will see a new and improved Gmail app, but we’ll keep you posted.