Gmail users on iOS devices have an early gift prior to this week’s Google developer event: The Gmail on iOS app was updated on Monday with some key improvements to make the software better and on par with Android’s Gmail client. The biggest change is support for the native iOS Notification Center, but even the smaller upgrades are helpful.
Google says that full notification support is included, meaning your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad can show alerts or banners when a message hits your Gmail inbox, even on the iOS lock screen. The notifications are faster too, says Google, by up to five times. Additionally, Gmail users on iOS can now easily use an alternate email for sending a message. Lastly, the app won’t automatically log you out after a certain time period.
All of these changes help make Gmail for iOS more like the native Mail client for Apple’s mobile devices. And it also suggests that Google cares less about making Android a better experience for Google services. Instead, the company simply wants to be easily accessible on multiple platforms.
I know I originally moved away from iOS to Android due to the better support for Gmail app usage. Notifications, too, were better in my opinion. But with each iteration of Google software for iOS devices, even that advantage has begun to disappear. Maybe it’s time I put my Galaxy Nexus away for a week and rely on my iPhone 4S again! Google doesn’t yet support mulitiple accounts in its iOS software, but the company says that the feature is coming in a future release.