Matt Gemmell on the Sparrow Acquisition

Cue predictable squawking on the internet. The same thing happens every time there’s an acquisition of a smaller, indie dev company or product by a larger company.

I’m not upset about this acquisition like some of these people are, but I also gave up using Sparrow a couple of months ago. I was a big fan of it before. I bought both Mac and iPhone versions and stopped using them months ago. I began to get the feeling that using anything other than Apple’s stock email application was like fighting the tide.

Mail.app also caught up. On the Mac, almost everything I liked about Sparrow can be replicated in Mail.app. The big thing for me was being able to archive emails, and with some rejiggering it isn’t really a big deal to do that with Gmail and Mail.app.1 Lion’s Mail.app Favorites Bar made a big leap towards quickly navigating and mining to folders with keyboard shortcuts. The only other nice thing was Sparrow’s Facebook integration to show you pictures of your contacts, which is coming to Mountain Lion this fall.

My bet is that Sparrow will be released as a free, branded Gmail app anyway (maybe without IMAP support…and with advertising).


  1. I have been trying for days to find a link I found to be really helpful to set up things with Gmail IMAP and Mail.app. It helped me do the functions I already liked in Gmail: namely archiving. Mail.app has a good archive keyboard shortcut that doesn’t work out of the box with Gmail. If I ever find that link I will post it.