Gmail for iOS received a minor update today, bringing the app to version 1.3.1. The email client now runs a bit more smoothly, and more importantly, it can now open links in the Chrome browser.

This is now the third app that Google has updated with this feature, behind Google+ and Sparrow, and it could be a preview of Google’s future plans for the iOS platform and its iOS applications…

As noted by TheNextWeb’s Matthew Panzarino, it seems as though Google has made its own workaround to Apple’s rule that users cannot make a third-party browser the default in iOS. And it may be more than that. With 20+ apps in the App Store, Google may be building its own sub-OS on Apple’s platform.

Think about it. Google has an email client, a messaging and VOIP client, a search app and a web browser in the App Store. And when you add in the expected YouTube and Google Maps applications, Google will have most of the core apps on iOS covered. Now imagine if they all started talking to each other.

What if Google added the ability to open map links in Google Maps to future apps — similar to how it has added the “open in Chrome” option. Or what if it made it so when a user tapped on a phone number inside Chrome, or Gmail, it launched Google Voice instead of the Phone app? How far could this go?

Of course, this is all just speculation at this point. But you have to wonder what Google’s end game is with its apps on iOS, and why they are slowly starting to talk to each other. And what’s Apple make of it?

At any rate, if you want to download the new Gmail app, you can find it in the App Store, for free. Obviously, you’ll have to have Chrome for iOS as well to use the new “open in Chrome” feature.


  • good features.

  • If they all started talking to each other you would have android

  • This is good, it promotes progression.

  • Thorasgard

    When did Google get A VoIP client in iOS ? Last I heard GV still uses cell minutes not data? Did this change or is there a new client?

    • You can use TalkaTone and hook it to GV and voilà, VoIP.

      • Thorasgard

        Two points:
        TalkaTone is not a Google app. The author states google has VoIP client for ios. I still see no evidence that they do.

        I used talkatone over a year ago and at first it was great. Then the updates made the app bats**t crazy. Can’t recall the specific issues, but it became stupid. I will check into it again and see if they pulled their head out.

      • Thorasgard

        Just checked out reviews. Seems like you can only receive calls if the caller has the app also. Closed system. FAIL.

        Reviews also show buggy coding, annoying ads, premium service that costs money and still buggy, app must be open to receive calls etc. Yes the headaches are all starting to come back to me.

  • seyss

    Today I noticed Google now forces you to have a Google+ profile in order to post Youtube comments.. and now your post.. Hmm agressive

    • Metroview

      still can comment using my youtube username here…

    • Kok Hean

      That’s not true, you can cancel that option.

  • 0.1% of users will be geeky or savvy enough to go all Google on iOS.

  • SimonReidy

    Bring it on. I’d like to see more and more functionality from Google’s iOS apps, given I use so many of their services on the desktop. If Appe are never going to relax their default apps options, then it makes sense for Google to work around them the best they can.

    I really hope the Sparrow acquisition ends up meaning a better Gmail app for iOS though. The current web-wrapper app around the Gmail mobile site is very slow and lacking in features.