Google Launches Decoupled Gmail App for Android Market

By Beecher Tuttle September 22, 2010

Google announced on Tuesday that it has created a new standalone version of its Gmail application for the Android market. The move will enable the technology giant to decouple its cloud-based e-mail service from the Android platform, allowing designers to update the application on a much more frequent basis.

Since Android was launched in 2008, Gmail has been integrated directly into each adaptation of the platform. This meant the users were forced to wait for a new version of the mobile operating system to be released for them to have access to any of Gmail’s updated features. By launching a standalone app, Google can continually enhance the email service and clean out any bugs that may pop up.

“Gmail updates aren’t tied to Android version releases anymore,” wrote Gmail for Android team members Simon Arscott and Paul Westbrook. “Now you can get new Gmail stuff faster without having to wait for system updates.”

Google’s design team quickly jumped on the opportunity by improving Gmail’s navigation capabilities and adding Priority Inbox functionality, which allows users to sort their emails based on importance. They also enhanced Gmail for Android’s message preview feature as well as simplified conversation threading and message replies.

Unfortunately, the updated version of Gmail is only available for devices that are running on Android 2.2 Froyo, meaning many users will be stuck with an older edition of the email service for the time being. Currently, only about 30 percent of Android users are running the most current version of the mobile operating system, PC World reports.

In related news, Google recently made several small improvements to its cloud-based word processor, Google Docs, including adding several new languages and fonts, according to ZDNet.

“This is just the beginning of fonts in Google Docs,” said software engineer Jeremie Lenfant-Engelmann. “We added six new fonts today and we’re already testing our next batch. And because Google Docs uses web fonts, you’ll never need to install a new font: when you load your document, the latest set of fonts will always be there, ready to use.”

Beecher Tuttle is a Web Editor for TechZone360. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

TechZone360 Web Editor

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