Sparrow Has Flown the Coop

If you haven’t heard already, Sparrow was bought by Google. Sparrow is a popular email client for Mac OS X and iOS. I had read rave reviews of Sparrow and happily paid $10 to purchase the program. I have been a satisfied user for a long time. On the Mac, Sparrow is a pleasure to use and feature-complete.

I wrote a post not long ago about my thoughts on Sparrow for iOS. I complained that there is no option to disable the automatic loading of remote images in email messages. That feature has never been implemented, and I can’t figure out why. I even wrote the Sparrow team via Twitter and asked them to add this feature. Despite my plea, that feature was never included in any of the subsequent releases.

Last week, Sparrow announced to the world that they had been bought by Google and that they were abandoning further Sparrow development. Google apparently hired the team for their talent, not their product. The folks at Sparrow said that future development of Sparrow would cease immediately. I grew angry at this news and deleted the app from my phone. I felt that I had good cause to do so. The lack of an option to disable remote image loading is a glaring oversight, and with no future updates planned, the option would never be added. I went back to using the native Gmail client for iOS.

I am, however, keeping my Mac version of Sparrow. I really love using the desktop program. And as I said above, the desktop version is truly feature-complete. I am satisfied with the current version as it is today.

I admit being a little bitter, having purchased this software, that Google swept in and effectively shut it down. I will say that I am thrilled for the Sparrow development team for their success and high profile acquisition. They earned it. But this whole debacle stings the community that made Sparrow a success in the first place. It rubs me the wrong way.

Could a Google-branded desktop email client, based on Sparrow, be in the works? We shall see. Personally, I doubt it. Sadly, Google has a history of acquiring clever startups and shutting them down.

Author: Craig Tisinger


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