Sparrow: We’ve Been Acquired by Google; No New Features Coming for Apps, Ever [Update]


Sparrow, a third party email client for iOS that works really well with Gmail has just been acquired by–Google. The Sparrow team sent out a tweet a while ago to state:

From their website, the Sparrow team goes on to say:

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.

In a separate email sent out to its users, Sparrow CEO, Dom Leca, had this to say–check out this paragraph as that sums up the takeover:

We will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.

Did you read that? No more new features for Sparrow apps. It’s pretty much going to stay the way it is, forever.

Some might have seen this coming from a mile away, considering Google’s own Gmail iOS app has been plagued with issues and lacking the features and polish of the Sparrow email client. What does this mean for all the Sparrow users that have paid for the app? Are we left out to dry now?

Written with contributions from Anthony Kay.

Update: Google has provided a statement to MacStories on their latest acquisition:

The Sparrow team has always put their users first by focusing on building a seamlessly simple and intuitive interface for their email client. We look forward to bringing them aboard the Gmail team, where they’ll be working on new projects.

Update 2: The Verge reports Google paid around $25 million to acquire Sparrow:

…our source said Google recognized that the five-person-team had a “lot of expertise in how to make mail communication really simple.” While we couldn’t get an exact number, we’re told that Sparrow was acquired for under $25 million, and that there wasn’t a bidding war surrounding the purchase. While our source couldn’t specify a timeline, the goal is to get the Paris-based Sparrow team in-house on the main Mountain View campus.


Our sources also noted that Google isn’t ruling out native Gmail clients for platforms beyond iOS and Android, and emphasized that Google wants to bring polish, “beauty,” and ease of use to all of its Gmail experiences across platforms (a suggestion that a native client for Mac and PC might be in the offing)


  • wow, this frickin’ sucks

  • swotam

    This is great for the Sparrow team, not so great for anyone else. It’s also exactly the sort of thing that puts me off buying software from small companies who get a lot of hype about their products.

    I’ve been using Sparrow for Mac and Sparrow for iPhone since each of them were released, and part of the reason for buying was the belief that, based on communication from the Sparrow team, each would continue to get better over time. For example, Push Notifications were the one missing thing in the iPhone app, and earlier this year Sparrow announced that this would be delivered via a subscription based offering in a future update. Now, that update will never come.

    Odds are that Google will use the Sparrow team to build a better Gmail client for iPhone, but I can’t see that providing support for other email services such as iCloud, Yahoo, etc. I doubt anything will emerge on the Mac side of things.

    So, if you use Sparrow for Mac or iPhone, it’s probably time to revisit unless you are happy with these products as they exist today. In my case I’ll probably stick with the Mac app for the time being, but I’ve already switched back to using Mail on my iPhone due to the improvements offered in iOS[Redacted].

  • We’ve seen this before with #Tweetie. Users will continue to see new features in Sparrow only it will be in the setting of a newly relaunched native #Gmail app.

  • Yep. I just said this exact same thing on twitter. Sparrow will die, and Gmail for iOS will become Sparrow but rebranded. So possibly we could be getting an even better Gmail for iOS experience than before, or Google’s bloated bureaucracy could take it to the gutter.

  • swotam

    I’d say the gutter based on Google’s track record. IMO the desktop app is dead, the iOS app will become the new GMail client for iPhone after it gets “Googleized” a bit.

  • VancouverBlade

    So what about the bugs like the excessive processor usage for the Mac version of Sparrow? Guess that’ll never get fixed.

  • definingsound

    What was the name of that iOS reader, best one of all time. The controlling company was bought by a bigger one (Amazon? Adobe?) and they filled the app with bugs, released the update to the app store, and the software died. Does anyone remember that app? I think it’s been pulled.

  • zapperman

    Just deleted Sparrow from my iPhone…

  • Fucking Sparrow team, they could offer something to their existing customer base, but this is pretty much a Fuck You! to all customers. Thanks for nothing.

  • Jon

    Am I the only one who doesn’t care about Gmail? I mean do we need an app that only accesses Gmail? I have so many accounts and loved Sparrow especially when it received POP3 access. Sad day for users.

  • cyruskafaiwu

    Let’s just Sparrow team, stop being greedy, think about the people and plus, you are still making money selling Sparrow.

  • cyruskafaiwu

    And soon, all my mail for my websites, hotmail, yahoo and etc are now in Google’s control.