Sparrow flies to Google

Another brilliant app bites the dust.

Sparrow was a beautifully designed email app. Much better than the default Mail app. Yesterday, Google picked up the team behind Sparrow for under $25 million.

Let’s look at who the winners and losers are:

Google - Winner

Google tried to develop their Gmail app, but it hasn’t gotten much traction. Sparrow is a fantastic buy for Google. With their Maps app out of iOS, this is a great opportunity to reclaim their space on the iPhone. However, with their focus on the web I curious to know if they will ever keep Sparrow alive. We’ll have to wait and watch. Google purchased email storage app reMail in 2010 and discontinued it.

Sparrow Team - Winner

Congrats to the Sparrow team! The acquisition looks very impressive on their resumes not to mention the dough they possibly have made.

Customers - Losers

My question all along has been where does it leave customers who have invested in the product? What about the grand vision that Sparrow had? Why can’t Google just rebrand Sparrow to Gmail?

I (like many other people) was excited to use Sparrow as my default email app on the desktop (though I moved to the web version just a week back), iPhone and iPad. Unfortunately, that won’t happen anymore.


I am seeing a trend - build a popular (not profitable) niche app and sell to either Google, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Apple (or any other large company). It happened to Summify, Posterous, Rapportive, Spool, Assistly, Manymoon etc. If you are lucky, your product and vision will live.

Now back to setting up the Mail app again.