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Google releases, pulls official Gmail app for iPhone, iPad

Google on Wednesday released its official Gmail application for iOS, but quickly pulled the software after a bug was discovered.

The official Gmail application was briefly available on the App Store on Wednesday as a free download. It's a universal application compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.

The arrival of the software on Wednesday was officially announced by Google on the company's official Gmail blog. But soon after, it disappeared from the App Store, and Google provided an update explaining that there was an error.

"Unfortunately, it contained a bug which broke notifications and caused users to see an error message when first opening the app," the company said. "We've removed the app while we correct the problem, and we're working to bring you a new version soon. Everyone who's already installed the app can continue to use it."

Before the software was pulled, Google provided a rundown of features included in the new Gmail application for iOS. They were divided into three categories: speed, efficiency and touch.

  • Speed
    • Get alerted to new messages with push notifications and sounds
    • Find an email in seconds with search across your entire inbox
    • Autocomplete email addresses from your Gmail contacts or select from your device’s address book
    • Upload photos with a click using the new attachment button in compose view
    • On iPad, navigate your inbox and read your mail simultaneously with split view
  • Efficiency
    • Focus on your important messages first with Priority Inbox
    • Quickly scan countless emails on the same subject with threaded conversations
    • Organize your mail by archiving, labelling, starring, deleting and reporting spam
  • Touch
    • We’ve also optimized the interface so you can perform common actions in Gmail with the lightest touch:
    • Pull down your inbox to rapidly refresh if you’re eager for new mail
    • Swipe right to view your labels without ever leaving your inbox
    • Swiftly scroll through dozens of emails just by sliding your finger

    The release of a Gmail application is significant not only because of the popularity of Google's free e-mail service, but also because Apple has allowed software that competes with its own native iOS Mail application. Originally, software that replicated functionality already available in iOS, including e-mail clients, was not allowed on the App Store.

    Rumors of an official Gmail application for iOS first cropped up on Tuesday. Previously, Google provided users with a Web interface for Gmail on iOS, while Apple's native Mail application included built-in support for Gmail.