Google has just announced the $25 million acquisition of iOS and Mac email client Sparrow, with a view to refreshing the Gmail service. 

A Sparrow Hawk

Honestly, you've just finished your Google roundup for the week, and the company pulls another rabbit out of the hat. Or, in this case, a sparrow out of the cloud. Sparrow is a popular iPhone and Mac client that offers a smarter way to work with Gmail and other email accounts. 

This includes a unified inbox, profile pictures of your contacts, easy swiping and message navigation, and threaded views. All of these features could probably be integrated. Well rated by Mac users there is an ad-supported version and a paid $9.99 client ($2.99 for the iOS version), which could well be retired as its features fold into Google's advertising-fed Gmail monster. 


Sparrow will bring new life to Google's Gmail

Mail Moves On

With Google's own Gmail iOS app getting a less than welcome reception, Sparrow looks like the ideal replacement, bringing flair and verve to the increasingly staid medium of electronic mail. Currently at version 1.3, the Sparrow team has done remarkably well to produce such a slick app, and find a new home in a little over a year since the beta version arrived. 

The apps require iOS 5 on iPhone or OS-X 10.6.8 on Mac. The Mac app supports IMAP and POP, multiple accounts and notifications, and integration with Facebook Connect. Expect new versions powering Google's Gmail as soon as they can be fine-tuned and posted online.