Will Google Kill The Sparrow Client?

The company behind everyone's favourite desktop email client, Sparrow, was bought up by none other than Google over the weekend, with Sparrow staff, IP and executives set to be folded into Google. The question on everyone's lips though is will Google kill-off the Sparrow client apps?

Sparrow is a start-up software firm based in France that outed Sparrow for Mac OS X and iOS in February of last year. Sparrow took off thanks to its seamless operation with Gmail at a desktop level on Mac and iOS, and scored high praise for its clever integration with services like Facebook and Dropbox.

Following the acquisition, we could see one of two things happen: we could see the branding of the Sparrow client apps change into "Sparrow From Google" or "Sparrow For Gmail", or we could see Google strip the software of its original Sparrow branding and relabel it as a straight Gmail client.

What's the difference, you ask? It's subtle, but it's there.

Rebranding Sparrow as a pure Gmail desktop client means that Google puts the now-great piece of desktop email software at risk of being spoiled by Google injecting a whole bunch of crap into it. What kind of crap? Well, you've seen its awful web interface...

Rebranding Sparrow as a partnered product endorsed by Google, however, sees the e-mail client integrated with all of Google's great products like Drive, Search and Plus into Sparrow without trampling all over the current user experience that people know and love.

There's already a petition going to stop Google from trampling Sparrow.

We're given some comfort as to the future of Sparrow from Dom Leca, CEO of Sparrow, who said in a blog post that the company would fold itself into the Gmail team, but it would still continue to make the Sparrow client available:

We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience. Now we're joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.

Google, meanwhile, has reportedly said that it bought Sparrow to pretty-up its existing email offerings.

Hopefully Sparrow will follow the path of Zagat or Motorola Mobility and remain as its own brand, rather than becoming recycled into the mega-business that is Google.

Image: Sparrow



    If everyone loves sparrow so much, why have I never heard of it?

      Omg me too. I dunno, we must have been living in some cave. What year is this

      Yea, how come Matt hasn't heard of it?

        I heard about it, but only the once a while ago.

      For something not available on the most popular desktop OS, it's amazing that it's everyone's favourite desktop email client.

    I just purchased it right AFTER the massive sale...

    I'd feel very ripped off if they don't even update it for mountain lion

    this was something I would expect on an apple fan forum. I don't care about any bias the quality is shod.
    everyone's favourite email client?
    current web interface is crap?

    please substitute your use of 'we',you and 'everyone' for 'I'/'my'/'me'

      It's constantly voted the number one recommendation in terms of email clients by Lifehacker and it's the number one email client on the Mac App Store. When was the last time you heard this much of a stir over the acquisition of a start-up software firm with one product? It made global news. Sparrow is something special no matter where you think it belongs.


        Sparrow also made a massive impression on iOS bringing the best Gmail experience by far to the iPhone. It makes Google's own Gmail app look like a joke in comparison. Don has already stated that there will be no more updates to Sparrow on iOS too, so that kills off potential for push notifications and the upcoming iPad app they teased that many people were hanging for.

        @Daniel when did it become "Apple Fanboy" to post news and opinions about Apple? Should Gizmodo just ignore all Apple related news and opinions because you don't like them?

    It's dead. "Bug and security updates only". These will peter out, the Sparrow client will become more and more irrelevant, until something like an OS update kills it entirely.
    Pity. It showed real promise and I would have loved to see the Exchange support and push notification they hinted at.

    Amazing that nobody has realised the obvious - if you can get all the iphone and ipad running google owned apps that also run identically on android, just how much easier is it then convince them to buy an android device?

    @daniel I agree and yes it's dead in the form of Sparrow. Google bought expertise and a product they wish to integrate features from into their own product.

    I'd say in the mid to long term it's a dead application. I've never used it, but I imagine the functionality will find its way into the GMail app. Google over the past 18 months has been looking to consolidate its service and be more focused, having two mobile email clients doesn't seem to fit that strategy long term. I think something has to give, and given the GMail branding I think that "Sparrow" will be the one to go.

    A pity. I've really enjoyed using Sparrow since getting a mac last year. It has a nice clean and simple interface. Same with the mobile version. Here's hoping Richard's right and that Google incorporates these features into a desktop Gmail app.

    Did you seriously just call Gmail's web interface awful?

    Also living under a rock, as I've never heard of Sparrow, other than the hot chick character in Smallville, or was that canary?

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