Well, that was a big disappointment. Google just unveiled its first native Gmail application for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch this morning, and the app is a mess. It’s unusable. It doesn’t even launch properly, displaying an error message upon startup.
Within moments of the application becoming available in iTunes, Gmail users took to Twitter, posting complaints, screenshots and generally ranting about the sorry state of what could have been a much better Gmail experience.
One of the app’s most promising features was its support for push notifications. This is something that the iPhone can’t do for Gmail by default. Unfortunately, none of the features Google promised in its blog post are accessible, because, for many users, the app is stillborn. You can’t even log in. (See below screenshots).
Twitter reactions are harsh:
I'm shocked – SHOCKED – that Google was unable to launch an unbroken iOS app.—
MG Siegler (@parislemon) November 02, 2011
Gmail app = FAIL no push notifications wtf !?!?!? Sends too Dev/null. DELETE—
Kevsweetwater (@kevsweetwater) November 02, 2011
Google just released a GMail app for the iPhone and first thing it does at power-up is to report an error with notifications. Fail!—
Olivier Pasco (@opasco) November 02, 2011
Already an issue with the Gmail iPhone app: the forward and reply buttons only appear at the end of a message not the UI.—
Kyle Hebert (@kyledhebert) November 02, 2011
Apparently, not everyone thinks the app is bad news, however. And some have been able to load it:
I like the Gmail iPhone app because I can use it for one account, and the mobile web app for another—
Ross Mayfield (@Ross) November 02, 2011
After installation, here’s what the app looks like (thanks to screenshots from Twitter users across a number of different cellular providers):
The real question is here is how were these problems not caught during testing, either on Google’s part or Apple’s? (Conspiracy theory: Apple did catch the errors, but approved the app anyway).
Update: Google has now pulled the app, with a message stating:
Earlier today we launched a new Gmail app for iOS. Unfortunately, it contained a bug which broke notifications and caused users to see an error message when first opening the app. We’ve removed the app while we correct the problem, and we’re working to bring you a new version soon. Everyone who’s already installed the app can continue to use it.