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Google acquires Apple-oriented email client Sparrow ahead of iPad app release

post #1 of 96
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In its latest move to better position itself against rival Apple in the high-stakes battle for mobile computing applications, Google has purchased alternative email client developer Sparrow, which previously designed its product exclusively for Apple customers.

A letter plastered across the Sparrow homepage Friday from chief executive Dom Leca proclaims his excitement for the acquisition, claiming the company's assets will be rolled into the Gmail team in an effort to "accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google."

We're excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

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.

We?d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback and allowed us to build a better mail application. While we?ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users.

We had an amazing ride and can't thank you enough.

Full speed ahead!

Dom Leca

CEO

Sparrow


Since its release on the Mac App store early last year, Sparrow has gained a following among Apple circles as an alternative to the Mail application that ships on Macs due to a more simplified interface akin to Twitter and its social network tie-ins. Sparrow followed up that release this March with an iOS version for iPhones and iPod touches.

Sparrow
Sparrow made its debut on the Mac in Feb 2011 before hitting the iPhone this March.


Although the long-term fate of those apps remains unclear from Leca's announcement, he did say the company would continue to make those applications available while working on new things at Google. However no comment was made on the fate of the iPad version of Sparrow that was said to be under development, suggesting that product -- along with its Mac and iPhone counterparts -- could merge their way into Google-branded offerings for those devices and future Android products.
post #2 of 96

A dark day, indeed.

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post #3 of 96

Just purchased the OS X app and iOS app in the last couple of months, loved it, but was hoping for a future addition/integration with iCal. I guess I'll have to go back to Mail.app and wasted $12 or whatever...

post #4 of 96

Wow, really? Admittedly I've heard good things about Sparrow, but having tried the Mac version of Sparrow several times (looking for an alternative to Apple Mail and Gmail), I've always been disappointed.

 

Has a few nice features, but it always feels so slow and clunky and insists on downloading huge volumes of mail from my GMail account.

 

Maybe it's the iOS version that Google were interested in.

post #5 of 96

Utterly sucky ...

 

With Google's acquisition, Sparrow is DEAD, it may get a few bug fixes, but we wont ever see new features, or the iPad version

 

I wonder if google did this to kill the iOS app, especially as it provided standard IMAP mail access as well as GMAIL. Rather than just acquire a good team of programmers

 

I have Sparrow (which I use via VPN to my home mail server), I am now contemplating alternative mail clients, ones that will have support and get development

 

This is a bad move by Google for Apple users, a very bad move. Given how other projects and software in google goes (and sucks), I suspect we wont see an improved GMAIL application (as some people hope the acquisition will provide)

post #6 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

A dark day, indeed.

 

Largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. They saw a chance to cash in and took it, good for them. It won't make any difference to Apple or Mac users in the long run.

 

Although, clearly Google bought them as a, "FU Apple users," move. It's not exactly rocket science to create an email client and even the engineers at Google could have done it. Nor would Google have been shy about ripping off the UI, as we know from Google's lengthy history of stealing IP. The only reason they bought this was to either a) kill it on Apple platforms or b) to keep releasing it on Apple platforms but turn it into spyware.


Edited by anonymouse - 7/20/12 at 10:30am
post #7 of 96

I stopped using Sparrow a few weeks ago. I must be psychic.

post #8 of 96

Google has become the new Microsoft.

 

Long-time Apple fans will remember when they robbed the Mac of getting Halo by purchasing Bungie...

post #9 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirKneeland View Post

Google has become the new Microsoft.

 

Long-time Apple fans will remember when they robbed the Mac of getting Halo by purchasing Bungie...

Oh quit reminding us of that!  I even remember Steve Jobs demoing a pre-release version of Halo at a MacWorld.. that's probably even where MS saw it and decided to buy it.

post #10 of 96
Now that the little bird is in the tummy of the vulture, any email through it is suspect to google's data mining to sell you out.
post #11 of 96

Some snooze or become lethargic and loose. Some buy so others don't win. Some sell for the monetary gain. The product will probably be discontinued. It seemed to have promise. Now it seem to be a lose for all. Another tool like it will be deployed. Maybe its lifecycle will have friendlier stakeholders!

post #12 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirKneeland View Post

Google has become the new Microsoft.

 

Long-time Apple fans will remember when they robbed the Mac of getting Halo by purchasing Bungie...

I'm sorry but I had to laugh at that because Apple is just like MS too, if not worse.

post #13 of 96

my guess is that sparrow went to goodle to ask for assistance since apple wouldn't open up the "push" API to another mail client.  Google said, instead of helping you, all you really are is a coat of paint on our admittedly poor interface.  How about you fix our interface, and we give you a truck load of cash to do that and we'll get pushed worked out for you.

post #14 of 96

so.. first they buy Meebo and kill it.. now Sparrow? are they here to make internet useful or useless?

Meebo was shut down 11th July and G+ still offer me no solution for my MSN/AIM/Yahoo/ICQ/Gtalk/Facebookchat/Myspace chat needs. meebo had it in one place, i could connect with my 3GS and browser, from multiple machines, and not a message was lost. Since Meebo got bought up by Google+, and Meebo was shut down by G+/Google 9 days ago, they still have not offered anything to replace it with. i really don't understand why they have to act this way. I wish iMessage / Messages gave me MSN/AIM/Y!/ICQ/Gchat/FBchat/Myspace/Messages, so i could just use that instead, and trust it to work. if google ever unveil anything like Meebo, i don't think i'll really feel good about using it. if they were serious about providing Meebo-like services, they would have had one running start 10th - 11th July, instead nothing - just another buy&Kill. will Sparrow be another Buy&Kill?

post #15 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirKneeland View Post

Google has become the new Microsoft.

 

Long-time Apple fans will remember when they robbed the Mac of getting Halo by purchasing Bungie...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hexor View Post

Oh quit reminding us of that!  I even remember Steve Jobs demoing a pre-release version of Halo at a MacWorld.. that's probably even where MS saw it and decided to buy it.

 

Thats what happens when great talent is recognized by others, Steve Jobs & Co could have easily snatched Bungie up back in the day but chose not to, until it was too late and Microsoft bought them. 

 

Not like it matters, Halo is still one of the best titles to ever exist in the FPS genre. 

post #16 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by specter2009 View Post
I'm sorry but I had to laugh at that because Apple is just like MS too, if not worse.

 

Explain. Apple turns their acquisitions into actual applications.

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post #17 of 96

I came very close to buying Sparrow apps during promo period. I am glad I didn't pull the trigger.

post #18 of 96

I don't like Google being able to buy out all of their competition. I don't want one company to have everything. Google should just make their chat client the best one out there instead of trying to buy their growth.

post #19 of 96

The shitification of Sparrow. 

 

I don't really care, though. All I used it for was as a Gmail client on the Mac, since integrating a Gmail account into Mail.app is a mess I'd rather not have to clean up. Gmail works quite nicely with the iOS Mail app, in my opinion, so no problem there. 

 

I guess I'll continue to use it as a Gmail-only Mac app, provided it remains an actual application. 

post #20 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Explain. Apple turns their acquisitions into actual applications.

TS, it looks like it's fairly common for Apple to simply roll an acquisition into an existing product rather than always turning them into applications.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Apple

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post #21 of 96

Unfortunately for the Sparrow developers, they wouldn't be the first company to discover that pursuing a "bigger vision" can be a one-way ticket to oblivion.

post #22 of 96
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Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

TS, it looks like it's fairly common for Apple to simply roll an acquisition into an existing product rather than always turning them into applications.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Apple

 

Talk about splitting hairs.

post #23 of 96

The logo kind of reminds me of the star trek insignia.  Or a kite.

post #24 of 96

I wasn't sure if Sparrow was ever going to support POP3 but I had been waiting for it since I think Mail.app on iOS is a bit plain. Mail works ok I suppose, but it isn't interesting to use. Sparrow looked like it had a great feature set and a shinier coat of paint...if only it supported POP3. I guess that's irrelevant now. Hopefully they do something with these people and not just chew them up and spit them out. 

 

Update: Apparently it now supports POP3...it never used to...but they state the app is only going to get minor maintenance and bug fixes. It'll never advance past that. Not sure if I want to part with my 2.99 or just deal with Mail. 


Edited by carmelapple - 7/20/12 at 12:06pm

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post #25 of 96
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Originally Posted by esaruoho View Post

so.. first they buy Meebo and kill it.. now Sparrow? are they here to make internet useful or useless?

Meebo was shut down 11th July and G+ still offer me no solution for my MSN/AIM/Yahoo/ICQ/Gtalk/Facebookchat/Myspace chat needs. meebo had it in one place, i could connect with my 3GS and browser, from multiple machines, and not a message was lost. Since Meebo got bought up by Google+, and Meebo was shut down by G+/Google 9 days ago, they still have not offered anything to replace it with. i really don't understand why they have to act this way. I wish iMessage / Messages gave me MSN/AIM/Y!/ICQ/Gchat/FBchat/Myspace/Messages, so i could just use that instead, and trust it to work. if google ever unveil anything like Meebo, i don't think i'll really feel good about using it. if they were serious about providing Meebo-like services, they would have had one running start 10th - 11th July, instead nothing - just another buy&Kill. will Sparrow be another Buy&Kill?

 

So what do people use these days to consolidate their messages on various services?

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post #26 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by esaruoho View Post

so.. first they buy Meebo and kill it.. now Sparrow? are they here to make internet useful or useless?
Meebo was shut down 11th July and G+ still offer me no solution for my MSN/AIM/Yahoo/ICQ/Gtalk/Facebookchat/Myspace chat needs. meebo had it in one place, i could connect with my 3GS and browser, from multiple machines, and not a message was lost. Since Meebo got bought up by Google+, and Meebo was shut down by G+/Google 9 days ago, they still have not offered anything to replace it with. i really don't understand why they have to act this way. I wish iMessage / Messages gave me MSN/AIM/Y!/ICQ/Gchat/FBchat/Myspace/Messages, so i could just use that instead, and trust it to work. if google ever unveil anything like Meebo, i don't think i'll really feel good about using it. if they were serious about providing Meebo-like services, they would have had one running start 10th - 11th July, instead nothing - just another buy&Kill. will Sparrow be another Buy&Kill?

Google couldn't care less about the success of Sparrow. If killing Sparrow means more money in Google's pocket (i.e., more of your personal information to sell), they'll kill it. If keeping it is the way to increase Google's ad revenues, they'll do that. The app itself is of no interest - which is why most Google products are crap (with Google Maps and Google search being the exceptions).
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post #27 of 96

The interesting piece of this, google can tell which platforms and application are access its servers so they probably saw the increase usage of this program hitting gmail and peeked their interest. If people were really migrating away from mail to this program Google was probably to see that and take it. Because Google rather access your mail via their website verse down loading to your email tool.

post #28 of 96
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Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post
So what do people use these days to consolidate their messages on various services?

 

Messages (10.8). I just use iMessage and a few legacy contacts on AIM, but it can do any service save for Skype.

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post #29 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post... which is why most Google products are crap (with Google Maps and Google search being the exceptions).

...and Google Voice actions (Some refer to it as Google Now but that's a different feature). Very impressive performance in Android 4.1.1 in the little bit of time I got to use it. Shockingly accurate and fast!


Edited by Gatorguy - 7/20/12 at 12:21pm
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post #30 of 96
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Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

A dark day, indeed.

 

Yeah, I've been waiting for the iPad client to try it.  Not gonna happen now. 

 

The only positive I can see is that the competition might push Apple to actually make a reasonably good email client for the iPad for once.  In retrospect Sparrow and Gmail were probably meant for each other with all that heavy use of the tacky "stars" and so on.  

post #31 of 96
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Originally Posted by carmelapple View Post

I wasn't sure if Sparrow was ever going to support POP3 but I had been waiting for it since I think Mail.app on iOS is a bit plain. Mail works ok I suppose, but it isn't interesting to use. Sparrow looked like it had a great feature set and a shinier coat of paint...if only it supported POP3. I guess that's irrelevant now. Hopefully they do something with these people and not just chew them up and spit them out. 

 

Update: Apparently it now supports POP3...it never used to...but they state the app is only going to get minor maintenance and bug fixes. It'll never advance past that. Not sure if I want to part with my 2.99 or just deal with Mail. 

 

Your real problem is POP3.  No one should be using POP for anything. 

post #32 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

TS, it looks like it's fairly common for Apple to simply roll an acquisition into an existing product rather than always turning them into applications.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Apple

As opposed to buying something just to kill it. They probably want some of their technology or talent. No different then what Apple does. I doubt it will get turned into a standalone product since Google already has a mail program.

 

Although it is entirely possible that they just bought it because they thought Microsoft or Apple might buy it if they didn't.

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post #33 of 96
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Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

 

Your real problem is POP3.  No one should be using POP for anything. 

If you don't own your own mail server and prefer to download and archive your messages or read mail while off line, POP3 would be useful for that.

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post #34 of 96
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

As opposed to buying something just to kill it. They probably want some of their technology or talent. No different then what Apple does. I doubt it will get turned into a standalone product since Google already has a mail program.

 

Although it is entirely possible that they just bought it because they thought Microsoft or Apple might buy it if they didn't.

Agreed.

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post #35 of 96
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Originally Posted by ifail View Post

 

 

Thats what happens when great talent is recognized by others, Steve Jobs & Co could have easily snatched Bungie up back in the day but chose not to, until it was too late and Microsoft bought them. 

 

Not like it matters, Halo is still one of the best titles to ever exist in the FPS genre. 

 

This is pure historical revisionism.  

 

The fact is, Microsoft bought Bungie before Apple did.  

All that other stuff where you ascribe personal motives to Steve Jobs and "get inside his head" to tell us what he was thinking ... is just made up.  

post #36 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by justincylander View Post

Just purchased the OS X app and iOS app in the last couple of months, loved it, but was hoping for a future addition/integration with iCal. I guess I'll have to go back to Mail.app and wasted $12 or whatever...

 

I debated Sparrow, but decided I fully understood how to use the Apple Mail app including RSS, Smart Rules etc. so I never bought it.

 

I am glad now as I refuse to buy or recommend anything controlled by Google or Samsung out of principle.

post #37 of 96

deleted


Edited by MacRulez - 1/21/13 at 2:59pm
post #38 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by alansky View Post

Unfortunately for the Sparrow developers, they wouldn't be the first company to discover that pursuing a "bigger vision" can be a one-way ticket to oblivion.

 

Or one-way ticket to financial security for the developers. If the price was right, it's hard to fault them for taking an offer, and the odds of Apple buying them when they already have Mail.app aren't all that high. Sad to see though.

post #39 of 96

F*ck Google. They just killed my favorite email client :(

post #40 of 96
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

The shitification of Sparrow. 

 

I don't really care, though. All I used it for was as a Gmail client on the Mac, since integrating a Gmail account into Mail.app is a mess I'd rather not have to clean up. Gmail works quite nicely with the iOS Mail app, in my opinion, so no problem there. 

 

I guess I'll continue to use it as a Gmail-only Mac app, provided it remains an actual application. 

 

Son, I suspect you need to learn how to use SmartMail Boxes and other rules.

 

I process fifteen Gmail accounts plus a few other types in Mac Mail with no problem. I also view the exact same accounts on the iPad. Synchronization  seems to lag only by a minute or two at maximum., sometimes much faster.

 

My goal is to eventually drop all Gmail accounts but the whole arrangement is too complex to just do it overnight.

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