Gmail came out for iPhone and iPad! Hooray! We've been waiting for this for years! Hooray! The app is so completely terrible that I wish I never downloaded it! Hoor... wait what? Yes. This new Gmail app for iOS is such a tragedy I don't even know why it exists.
In fact, it doesn't any more; Google pulled the Gmail app from the App Store just hours after its release to fix a push notifications bug. But even if that had worked, the app would still be terrible. You know what was wrong with it? Everything.
First, we can't call it an app. It's only an 'app' because we can download it from the App Store. Gmail for iOS is nothing more than a worse version of their web app wrapped in a new icon. It's a slower, buggier, uglier web app. What the fuck, Google?
Sure, there is the slick iOS Facebook-style hidden column (that doesn't always work) and the pull down to refresh feature but that's about it. Okay fine, search is there. As are stars and labels and all the other things that make Gmail good too. But push notifications are so broken that Google pulled the app to fix it (there was an no valid 'aps-environment' error entitlement string found in the application). There's also no multiple account support. It doesn't cache mail offline. It's terribly slow at scrolling and just plain laggy in every way imaginable. E-mails don't even render right. AND IT'S NOT EVEN A REAL APP. Why did Google create this monstrosity?
The only reason I can think of this for existing is that Google cooked up some supremely awesome Gmail app—one that was supposed to be as amazing as its Android cousin—only to have Larry Page see its awesomeness and realize that making great Gmail app for iOS would give away one of Android's biggest strengths to Android's biggest competitor. So as a har har nerd joke, Page deleted all the code for said hypothetical awesome iOS Gmail app and replaced it with the web app, submitted it to the App Store with a broken notification system and here we are. That's gotta be it, right?
I wonder if Apple's app reviewers showed Tim Cook how horrid the Gmail app was. Or if they thought it was some amateur pretending to be Google, and they let it slide just for kicks. Google, stop messing up like this. Pulling it's a good first step. Now make sure that when it comes back more than jus the notifications are fixed, and we can forget this ever happened.
And from now on, forget about 'don't be evil'. Just don't make crap.
You can keep up with Casey Chan, the author of this post, on Twitter or Facebook.