Mail Client Sparrow Acquired by Google, Joining Gmail Team

Sparrow, a mail client for iOS and Mac, announced today that it has been acquired by Google, in deal the terms of which weren’t disclosed. According to an announcement from Sparrow CEO Dom Leca, the service will remain available for Sparrow users, and the team will be joining Google’s Gmail team.

“The Sparrow team has always put their users first by focusing on building a seamlessly simple and intuitive interface for their email client,” Google spokesperson Katelin Todhunter-Gerberg in an email. “We look forward to bringing them aboard the Gmail team, where they’ll be working on new projects.” Google’s team said the Sparrow team will be working on new projects at Google, and that while they will continue to support the existing apps and provide critical updates, they don’t plan to release any major new features.

Founded in 2010, Sparrow won users over with its clean design and simple focus on email, with support for Gmail’s labels, stars, and other features. It launched with a desktop client for Mac, added an iPhone app earlier this year,  and the team was reportedly working on an iPad app, though now it looks like those plans will be put on hold. The apps are priced at $9.99 and $2.99 respectively, and Leca told BetaKit in an earlier interview that he decided on paid apps because he “needs to make a living” and “that’s how [they] can keep improving the app.” Leca also said that being featured in Apple’s App Store was like winning a “small Apple Design Award,” resulting in “the best referral I know of … [to] drive traffic to your app.” The company also raised funding from Kima Ventures in 2011.

Though Google plans to keep Sparrow active for now, there’s no word on whether they’ll be integrating ads into the existing clients, similar to Gmail Ads. The acquisition is an obvious one for Google, who saw many Gmail users using Sparrow instead of their web-based interface and native apps. Now that the Sparrow team has joined Google, they’ll likely be using Sparrow’s design to improve the Gmail experience, though whether they’ll replicate the experience that made Sparrow so beloved to users is yet to be seen.

Sparrow founder Dom Leca didn’t respond to requests for an interview by publication time.

Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin Bury is the Managing Director at 88 Creative, a creative communications agency based in Toronto. She was formerly the Managing Editor at BetaKit, and currently writes a monthly column for the Financial Post. Follow her on Twitter at @erinbury.

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