Back in March I made a plea for a native Gmail application on the iPhone. As it turned out, Google was working on a new version of the Gmail Mobile site that takes advantage of HTML5 features like database storage to provide caching functionality on the iPhone and Android phones. The demo was compelling; a super-fast Gmail experience that includes long-awaited features like full label support, the ability to apply changes to multiple messages at once, and a floating action bar (dubbed the "floaty bar") that allows you to archive, delete, mark read/unread, add or remove a star, or mark messages as spam without having to scroll to the top or bottom of the thread you are viewing to do so.
The demo was certainly exciting, but though I was hoping would be released soon, I was fearing we were still a year away from seeing this new version of Gmail Mobile. Boy, was I wrong.
This sexy new web version of Gmail Mobile was released yesterday, and as a heavy Gmail user I have only one word for it: Glorious! Okay, I'm a blogger, so we know I never only have one word for something. But if you've been using the built in Mail app on your iPhone to avoid the clunky web version, it's time to try Google Mobile again.
While it's a huge, massive improvement on the previous version, the new Google Mobile is not without areas that could use improvement. For one, it is very slow to load. For me, I'm willing to put up with this since once it does load everything is significantly faster than it was. But it would certainly be nice to see an improvement in this regard, and that's something that was hinted at on the Official Gmail blog post announcing this new version. Another small annoyance is that the buttons are smaller than standard iPhone buttons, and there are more of them. It's manageable, but does require a bit of extra care and attention.
All in all, a very solid improvement, and one that makes working with email on the iPhone significantly more pleasant for Gmail users.