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Google Updates Gmail iOS App to Compete With Apple Mail

  |  March 7, 2014   |  Comments

In an attempt to steal email client market share from Apple, Gmail messages on the updated iOS app will be pre-fetched and synced to improve user experience.

After adding a prominent "unsubscribe" button to Gmail to make it easier for users to get rid of unwanted marketing emails, Google has now updated its Gmail iOS app to improve user experience and compete with Apple iOS mail.

According to Google, Gmail messages on the iOS app will be pre-fetched and synced. That way, when users open the app, they can access the same content immediately as shown in mail.google.com – no pauses while waiting for the inbox to refresh.

To experience this updated feature, Gmail users have to turn on the background app refresh options in general settings, as well as notifications for the app itself on the phone, as shown below:


"It's clear that Google wants to enhance the user experience, make the Gmail app more sticky, and steal email client market share from Apple, which may have an effect on marketers in the long run," says Tom Sather, senior director of email research at Return Path, an email analytics company.

According to data from Return Path, the majority of emails read on smartphones are read within Apple iOS mail, compared to less than 2 percent within the Gmail mobile app.

"By improving the user experience by pre-fetching messages and then notifying users of new Primary messages, Gmail users are more likely to check mail in the Gmail app, as opposed to within iOS Mail," Sather tells ClickZ.

In addition, this updated iOS app feature supports sign-in across all Gmail services and products, including Maps, Drive, and YouTube. When users log in to one service, they are automatically signed in to all. From a marketer's perspective, Sather says that Google linking sign-ins with other services aims to increase email functionality for both users and email marketers.

"Marketers can already take advantage of Quick Actions to track shipments, view orders, and more. This may be one step needed to incorporate dynamic content in emails - like voice-guided navigation, for example," Sather says. "If anything, it will give Google more data on its users so they can deliver not only better search results, but also deliver more relevant ads within the Promotional tab in Gmail."


Yuyu Chen

Yuyu Chen is a reporter at ClickZ. Her work has appeared in Local East Village, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce website. Yuyu received her M.A. in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University in May, 2013.

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