Google gets mobile – Gmail goes beyond WAP

Google introduced a new Java-based mobile email application today. It has instantly become my second-favorite mobile application, after Google Maps.

I’ve been using Google’s mail on my cell phone with my phone’s Web browser for a while now. It has worked reasonably well, but compared with the new app, WAP is crap.

Gmail mobile provides an easy-to-use interface that minimizes the number of keystrokes required to perform basic tasks like checking and responding to email. Thoughtful keyboard shortcuts are available for common tasks like going back to the Inbox, composing a message and searching. It also renders common attachment types, such as PDFs and Word docs.

Search is definitely the killer feature. I can quickly search across more than 10,000 messages. I often use Gmail to send notes to myself. With mobile search access, I’ll be doing this more often. (The WAP application has offered this, but the search feature has been broken for the last few months.)

Google is to be applauded for bucking the wireless carriers’ Gouge First pricing models for wireless applications, instead choosing to go over the top of the data services. Gmail and Maps are both available as free downloads without monthly service fees.

Some of the things I’d like to see:

  • Tighter address book integration. I’d like to be able to look up contacts in my address book and call them right from the application. If I’m reading an email from someone in my address book, I want the option to call.
  • Easier searching of contacts when I’m addressing an email. If I’m searching for Robert, I want to be able to enter 7-6-2-3-7-8 instead of 7-7-7-6-6-6-2-2-3-3-7-7-7-8. (This is one of my pet peeves about mobile apps.) I also would like to see Google carry over the list of most frequently used contacts to the mobile app.
  • Saved searches. I’d like to be able to have my most frequent searches stored so I don’t have to keep entering them.
  • A view that shows me email only from people in my address book.

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
This entry was posted in email, google, mobile, wireless, wireless data. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Google gets mobile – Gmail goes beyond WAP

  1. Nelly says:

    Installing Gmail app went smooth and everything is working great on my V800, it’s fast and cool. But I must say that for me, using 2 or 3 programs just to check my mail’s is stupid. I am using Movamail for all off my accounts (incl. gmail) and I don’t think I will change it.

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