More on New Gmail WebApp for iPhone: HTML5, Offline Access, Easy Linking

Daring Fireball has been looking into Google's new Gmail WebApp for the iPhone and the technologies behind it. We already know the iPhone packs a version of Apple's Safari Web Browser which is, in some ways, even more advanced than desktop Safari on the Mac. SQLite database caching, for example, for example users continue to archive or star messages even when there's no internet connection. What's more interesting to him, us -- and likely users -- is how that technology improves functionality.

Says Gruber:

I use the native iPhone Mail app to read email on my iPhone, but I’m tempted to start using the Gmail web app for one reason: I waste a lot of time switching back and forth between Mail and Safari after tapping a URL in an email. When using the Gmail web app, tapped links simply open in a new Safari tab. The iPhone Mail app needs a built-in web view, like what most popular iPhone Twitter clients offer.

Google's Alex Nicolaou has blogged about the process.

We once wondered what the future of WebApps would be in a post-native apps world. Looks like Google expects -- and is out to prove -- things still look very bright.

Anyone else considering ditching the built-in mobile Mail app for some web-based Gmail?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

More on New Gmail WebApp for iPhone: HTML5, Offline Access, Easy Linking


I can't even get the new web app. Anyone else having trouble seeing the updated page in the UK?

I think the main benefit of the Mail app over the Gmail Web app is notifications; with the Web app you have no way of knowing if you have a new mail unless you open the page. I am still hoping that once 3.0 and its new push notification system come into effect that we will see a native Gmail app with notifications...

I won't switch because the new Gmail doesn't load remote images. It's a downgrade from the previous version.

I won't quit the native mail just yet, but through the google app I can now search gmail and it autofills my gmail contacts, neither of which I can do with the native mail. And the floaty bar is definitely working in the UK.

NO WAY! We need a GMail native app... the new web app is nice, but only as an alternative to what came before, and it pales in comparison to what there could be in a native app... PLEASE!!! Web Apps are slow, clunky and cumbersome.

No, Apple doesn't allow AppStore Apps to run in the background, but Mail, Phone, iPod and Safari do run in the background, we just need a better way of switching them like Palm Pre provides.

All I know is that the add to Home Screen shortcut doesnt have the envelope icon but rather a snapshot of my inbox. Anyone got any ideas?

I wouldn't switch from iPhone Mail app to Web-based until there's a way to check/notify new emails periodically.

Use to get push notification with gmail. It's in beta now, but it's free & no complaints so far.

I like it, but all of a sudden the new web app won't load. I have to switch to the old which is pretty annoying. iPhones are great, but far our they're full of bugs.

Yes, I use it regularly. 2 things I would like to see:
1) the WebApp (using a Gmail RSS feed) should alert me with a badge as to how many unread or total messages I have in my Inbox (just like the integrated client does).
2) anywhere we create emails in the iPhone should be redirected to the WebApp's compose screen (with attachements if any).

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I have left the mail app on the iPhone to use the Gmail web app. I love this web app for the same reasons I love using GMail. Conversation view alone is a major plus. I live in the Safari web browser on my phone as well.
The biggest problem is notification, but I don't want to be notified every time an email comes in so this is not an issue for me.

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