Google optimises Gmail for mobile
Google is looking to speed the delivery of email to a mobile phone, through a new service dubbed Gmail for mobile. The Java-based interface will be freely available.
The search giant is introducing a custom version of Googlemail that can run on any phone with Java software, or close to 300 different mobile phone devices.
‘Because it is an application and not running through a browser…it looks and feels like Gmail on the desktop,’ said Tony Hsieh, product manager for the Gmail on mobile service.
Gmail for mobile promises desktop-like response times for viewing email. And it retains many of the features users expect when running Gmail in Web browsers on their personal computers, Hsieh said.
These include the ability to search through email history, to organise emails according to conversation, and automatic synchronisation so any email read on the phone show up as already read when you sign on a computer the next time.
Initially, the service is available in the United States on phones from Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile and Cingular, which is a joint venture between AT&T and BellSouth. Google later plans to expand Gmail for mobile to other countries and languages.
The phones need to be able to run or support Java software, a programming language commonly used in cell phones to create games and other applications.
The benefits for users, according to Google include: up to five times faster access and use due to automatic pre-fetching of messages; reduced clicks and scrolling to access email; and fewer keystrokes for reading, composing, or searching mail.
Gmail for mobile also allows phone users to receive document attachments, including Word or Adobe Acrobat files and photos, which are instantly viewable and automatically resized to fit the user’s phone screen.
‘We realize the role mobile phones play as a key driver for balancing online and offline worlds, and we’re committed to developing products that help people stay connected when they’re away from their computers,’ said Deep Nishar, Google’s director of product management. ‘Gmail for mobile devices delivers on that commitment.’
True email obsessives have other options, but they are often pricey and out of reach of most consumers. Millions of professionals, for example, have become instantly available via Blackberry phones. Millions more use more or less copycat email services on smart phones.
Virtually all mobile phones sold worldwide for the past 18 months come with a Web browser. Just be prepared to wait 30 seconds to a minute to sign on and download each email.
Users of Gmail, or rivals like Yahoo Mail, can already view their email this way, but it can be slow and hard to use.
Mobile users can go to gmail.com/app on their Java phone browser to download the application. Gmail for mobile is free of charge from Google, although data charges by phone carriers may apply for downloading the mobile email.
For more info about Google’s mobile offerings, go to mobile.google.com.