Google recently released—and immediately pulled—its official app for the iPhone and iPad in the App Store. After a long time coming, Google finally got on the ball and released an App Store app for its popular email service, but not before realizing that there were several bugs that needed fixing.

While many called Gmail’s app “fantastic” and “wonderful” at first glance, more than 5 minutes with the app will show you what an utter disgrace this app is for Google…

Google has never been known for having good design aesthetics, so I’m not setting the bar too high here. When I downloaded the Gmail app awhile ago I expected to a slightly different email client with many of the native iOS UI elements I’ve come to expect from clients like the stock Mail app.

Instead, the Gmail app is a half-baked web port mixed with an ugly UI shell that would make Steve Jobs turn over in his grave. (Sorry if that analogy is too soon, but it’s true.)

On the iPhone, Google has implemented what is essentially the mobile web inbox interface inside a dark border. While I like the look of the top navigation bar, opening the Menu on the left (which can’t be done with a swipe by the way, just a tap of the button) reveals the really disgraceful part of the app.

Google is clearly borrowing pages out of Facebook’s playbook with this sidebar navigation pane. Here’s a comparison with the recently updated Facebook iPhone app:

Looks pretty similar, right? The only difference is that one sucks and the other doesn’t. In the Gmail app, text for long labels gets broken off mid-word in the sidebar.

In terms of navigation elements in the app, there’s very little iOS-like animations. Bringing up a new window is like re-loading a webpage—because that’s essentially all Google is doing—and bringing up the options to flag, mark a message as read, etc. feels just as forced.

I also noticed other bugs, such as an error window that pops up every time I open the app. What the heck, Google?

The app does have pull-to-refresh. I’ll give it that.

Other than that, navigating through the Gmail app is a pretty terrible experience. On the iPad, it’s basically the iPhone experience with a little more real estate. Google did nothing to really optimize the iPad version for a larger screen, and the sidebar on the iPad remains just as ugly.

O, and did I mention that the app only supports one Gmail account at a time?

There’s also no integration with Notification Center on iOS 5 that I could find. Notifications is apparently the reason Google already pulled the app, so hopefully that aspect will at least be fixed.

The bottom line is that you have no reason to use the official Gmail app on the iPhone or iPad. Unless you’re an absolute Gmail addict that can’t live without Priority Inbox, there’s no reason to switch from the stock Mail app.

I personally have multiple email addresses with multiple providers, and I don’t see the advantage of using a Gmail-only app when I can have all my accounts together in Mail.

The release of Google’s Gmail app seems rushed and sloppy. This is evidenced by the fact that Google has already temporarily pulled the app.

Here’s some more reactions from across the web, courtesy of TechCrunch:

And there’s plenty more where those came from.

What a disgrace. Hopefully the app will stay pulled.

  • You would think with all the money google has they would hire some serious developers and put out an amazing gmail app. Nice job google. Pretty embarasing.

  • MrA

    Hey at least they recognized the problem and pulled it unlike some companies that would just ignore the problems and pretend that they don’t exist..

    Seriously. How many articles are you going to have about how much the recently pulled gmail all sucks?

    • Goofygreek

      Well, it is a apple fan blog. It’s not a site like gizmodo or Engadget that cover a lot more brands. So even though I agree with you about it being biased, but there is a reason for it.

  • Frankie

    Alex, are these screens from your gmail account? if yes why da hell u’note using labels??

  • Eldaria

    Maybe this is the reason Apple approved another Mail app? because it sucked so bad that it is no competition.

  • Solid Snake

    MailPro works much better… This looks like crap.

  • CaryMG

    This just goes to show you the App Store vetting process.

    Apple’s so paranoid about accusations of being too slow in the approval process,
    they’re fast-tracking dogshit like this.

    For shame, Apple, for shame ….

    ON THE OTHER HAND, perhaps Apple, seeing what utter fail this is, let it go through anyway so as too afford GOOGLE unretractable embarrassment.

  • iA

    I completely agree. Basically the only good thing is attachment uploading. Actually not attachments but only images. Disappointing. Just load the gmail.com in Safari if you want the same thing, even more beautiful.

  • Guest

    Sadly i dont really like the new comment system

    • You will like it. Give it some time

      • I’m actually glad it’s this way. I just wish we had an edit button when we post something or messed up on spelling, grammar, etc.

      • jo macral

        It’s sort of a PITA now, but will give it some time.

  • sheryl

    I don’t understand why everyone wants multiple accounts. You can just have all your emails forwarded to one account and gmail lets you send from multiple accounts. Apparently this app doesn’t/didn’t let you use other addresses to send from though.

    Before striking poverty and selling off mobile devices, I used mailroom and ultimate notifier (so I’d only get priority inbox notifications). UN didn’t seem to cooperate with iOS 5 though. My only issue with mail.app was the fact deleting emails resulted in them going to “All Mail” and not trash. Fixed that on my mac, but couldn’t figure it out on iOS.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t understand why everyone wants multiple accounts. You can just have all your emails forwarded to one account and gmail lets you send from multiple accounts. Apparently this app doesn’t/didn’t let you use other addresses to send from though.

    Before striking poverty and selling off mobile devices, I used mailroom and ultimate notifier (so I’d only get priority inbox notifications). UN didn’t seem to cooperate with iOS 5 though. My only issue with mail.app was the fact deleting emails resulted in them going to “All Mail” and not trash. Fixed that on my mac, but couldn’t figure it out on iOS.

    • Hakim Bawa

      So is there a way you can send from another forwarded address?

      Say I got an @something.com account, and it’s forwarding to gmail (gmail is set to reply to sent address), is there a way to reply from the @something.com address instead of @gmail.com on mail app or any other app?

      • You can set the default mail in your settings so replying will always be from your main mail address

        edit: You have to add your @something.com account btw

      • Anonymous

        Sparrow and Mail.app (on mac) allow aliases, but on iOS devices I think the only way is through the mobile site. You can set gmail to reply from the address that the email was sent to, but that seems to only work via web (maybe on sparrow too).

    • Anonymous

      i have multiple accounts because i have 3/4 for my business, depending on the nature of the email determines which account i apply for and then there is my personal account. being able to take advantage of the multiple user feature is now key for me.

  • Anonymous

    Tha quality of apps has been disgraceful lately. Every app update I have downloaded in the past week or so has had some major bug that makes it unusable or practically so. Are developers not even testing their apps???

  • new comment system is cool, but the colors need some adjustment =D

    • Yes, we agree. This will be fixed 🙂

  • I’ve always used Gmail as an exchange account. I will not get it even when they get it right.

  • Anonymous

    Every site has the same comment system and yeah gmail is a shame. It’s slow, laggy, ugly, the only cool thing is you can send pictures from inside the app.

  • I’m trying to understand why such hate for the ios Gmail app. The app was removed quickly, after being introduced, so it could fix a bug. I’ve seen this happen on several occasions in the App store. Why is that such a big deal?

    And this statement, “The bottom line is that you have no reason to use the official Gmail app on the iPhone or iPad. Unless you’re an absolute Gmail addict that can’t live without Priority Inbox, there’s no reason to switch from the stock Mail app.” Well, the reason to use the official Gmail app over the stock Mail app, is that the gmail app gives you an experience, much closer to what you’d get from the web-based gmail. That’s pretty obvious, and a great reason to use the gmail app. It lets you add stars, labels, and search, exactly the way you do on the gmail website, amongst other things. Again, it gives you a more web based gmail experience…..which is obviously a good thing, if you use gmail.

    The app works pretty well for me, especially considering that it’s the first version to be released on ios…minus the bug that quickly identified.

  • Xepptizz

    Google has never been known to deliver a fully polished product or service, they justify updates as adding features, but all their launches are basicly betas for atleast a few months.
    I don’t see why some commenters can possibly blame Apple for the poor quality google product, all they are supposed to do is make sure it runs and isn’t malicious. And they did.

  • Mahesh Venkatesan

    Common Alex be a good “blogger” and have some respect to the job you are doing. If Apple does a mistake of having antenna at wrong place and disconnects my call in their original iPhone they are hero’s and if they create a iPhone 4S which sucks up battery in less than few hours they are again hero’s… if Google does a mistake with App they are disgracefull…

    Am not for Google or Apple, just be a neutral blogger man…you can ofcourse be biased but in even that be a bit meaningfull…

  • you can always access the priority inbox etc by logging in in mobile safari.
    it would be good to have an app that supported multiple gmail accounts – there are good reasons for having more than one

  • Anonymous

    I guess I just prefer to have all of that stuff sent to one inbox. I could add labels for each email address, but really as long as I can send from each account and still receive all at once, I’m fine. Signing into various accounts seems like a waste when gmail already allows forwarding and sending from aliases.

    I did this with mail.app on iOS by just putting wrong info for the incoming so that I could send from each account, bu emails for all accounts already go to a single inbox for me.