View Full Version : What Google was trying to prove with the Gmail app

The web is the heart and soul of Google, for many people “Google” is synonymous with “Internet”. From an ideological standpoint Google should produce all it’s apps using a web view if they want to eat their own dog food. Other products like Chrome OS rely on a robust webapp ecosystem.

I work for a small startup, Treesaver (http://treesaver.net), where we create webapps and it pains me that “webapp” is a dirty word. We wrap HTML in apps all the time and this has many advantages. Netflix loves HTML in apps (http://techblog.netflix.com/2010/12/why-we-choose-html5-for-user.html) because it helps them quickly and efficiently produce and update products across a number of devices. At Treesaver we have a similar philosophy, where we create a content platform for all devices and can rapidly roll our products out to all devices out now and that may come out in the future. This saves us and our clients hundreds of thousands of dollars in development costs.

Developing in a webview has it’s disadvantages. There is plenty of support for hardware acceleration and load balancing but often times memory limits on web views can cause instability and crashes. Webapp developers have to balance these limits with every new feature, image, and even DOM element.

Google was trying to create an app that combined the best of both worlds with a slick web-app inside of a native app that could handle push notifications. Unfortunately they failed on both accounts. On day one notifications were broken on the app side.

One thing to add to that: I just hope they do it right the next time!