Google introduces new Gmail APIs for developers and their apps

Earlier today, Google announced and introduced new APIs for Gmail. These new APIs will help developers create apps that go beyond the limitations of IMAP. At least that's what Google is hoping for with today's announcement.

Google praises IMAP for connecting email clients to email servers in a standard way, which it was designed to do. But there are features in Gmail that are held back by the limitations of IMAP. That's why we're looking at new APIs, designe to be a standard Google API.

These new APIs will give developers RESTful access to a user's mailbox under OAuth 2.0 authentication. CRUD operations are supported for true Gmail datatypes such as messages, threads, labels and drafts. Hit up the source links below to knock your socks off with all the tech behind the new Gmail APIs.

The end result? Devs can create apps that give users better control over how their email is accessed. Some practical applications that result from the new APIs include:

  • Read-only mail extraction, indexing, and backup
  • Label management (add/remove labels)
  • Automated or programmatic message sending

Interesting stuff and we can't wait to see future apps built by devs using these new APIs. What sort of features do you want to see come out of the new Gmail APIs?

Source: Google, Gmail API documentation

Sam Sabri
  • He should also babble on about how, recently, Google took away Exchange ActiveSync away from free accounts which made Gmail awfully inconvenient for a whole lot of folks.
  • You should blame Microsoft. They charge Google yearly to use ActiveSync. I you want to pay which most iOS people say they are pay for a Google Apps account.
  • This is good and bad news at the same time. The good news is that we can expect better Gmail apps (think Sparrow) in the near future with less breakage from Google, no more crappy experience. Email handling is one of the hardest things to work on, too many variables with 20 years of legacy standards. WIth the standard proper APIs, it should be very easy to handle. The bad news is that your email clients won't work with these new APIs right out of the box. I have a feeling that the APIs will enable Google Ads in those apps and will be required to keep using the APIs once Gmail phases out IMAP support. Good thing I've switched away from Gmail late last year.
  • No one is forcing you to use them. Use them or don't.
  • Huh? Not sure what your point is as I didn't say anything about being forced to use them. I'm okay with services using ads for free accounts. I'm just saying it might actually start to happen with the APIs since many folks get around Gmail's ads by using iMAP instead. Which would also mean that Google might phase out IMAP support as well once there are enough apps on all platforms using it.
  • Well Androids own Gmail app filters out the ads to another tab. How much nicer can they get? They have to make money to pay for the services.
    Now look at the box labeled "Promotions". That's where the ads are. This is great. There not even mixed in my regular mail.
  • I think we're crossing wires here because you seem to think I'm against this for some reasons. I'm not. I'm totally okay with what Google is doing and I like what they're doing with their gmail apps. The point I was making is that you can't replicate the tabs via iMAP, but you probably can via APIs. That's why I expect the ads will come via the APIs and Google will phase out iMAP. The more money they earn from Gmail, the better the services will get. That's a good thing for everybody. The bad news part I pointed out in my original post is for the users who depend on IMAP or tries to avoid the ads by using IMAP. For this to work really well for everybody or majority of the free users, Google needs to phase out IMAP. They might also make IMAP an option for the paid Google accounts.
  • Google could have added IMAP NOTIFY after tossing Activesync. It is disappointing they didn't.
  • "... apps that give users better control over how their email is accessed." Oh really. How about adding the ability to actually delete Gmail messages instead of "archiving" them? You know, so Google won't harvest data (and senders' email addresses) from the "archive"? No, this proprietary Gmail API sounds like the next Google Wave. Announced at Google I/O in 2009. Development cancelled in 2010. If Google wants to get serious about security, then they'll need to work with Samsung on copying TouchID as closely as possible without getting sued by Apple. The Samsung tail that wags the Android dog. But as for privacy, forget it. Even with security from device to server, you're steal dealing with Google here. And no, you simply can't trust them.
  • You are so misinformed... it causes me physical pain.
  • ++
  • Is this about improving Standards, or Google leaving standards and going proprietary in order to lock in customers? Why don't they play ball and work with versus against the standards bodies. This sounds like Microsoft all over again. Remember their Kerberos implementation? AD? This sounds identical except they're getting the community to "help" them become monopolists.
  • You could say the same thing about apple and all of their propriety stuff (lightning, resolution, etc)
  • This is another reason why I prefer iPhone over Android. androids puts the pressure to solely use Gmail and Google's other projects. You still get it all on iPhone, but you also have equal and push access to all the other bigwigs, no special preferences AND you still get ActiveSync ( bc Apple wants corporate types to use them as Blackberry's go-to replacement.) Sent from the iMore App
  • I find the way Mail in iOS handles GMail to be painful but even more painful (IMHO) is having to use a separate email client just for my GMail accounts so I make due. Here's hope better APIs translates to better handling of GMail in Mail for iOS