Google Revamps Gmail, Flubs iPhone App

Company pulls its new app for Apple products within hours of release

Google continued its design overhaul by unveiling a new look for its popular Gmail, one similar in aesthetic to the company's recent remakes of Google Calendar and Reader.

It also introduced new apps for Apple products that were pulled with hours of release following negative feedback from users and bloggers.

As for the Gmail redesign, it remains optional for users now, but eventually everyone will have it.

“We’ve redesigned the look and feel of Gmail to make it look as clean and simple as possible,” Jason Cornwell, a user experience designer on Gmail, said in a video posted on the Google blog.

Here's the video:

From a new search box to improved navigation panels, the design is certainly cleaner and simpler, but does it work?

So far, critics are waiting to weigh in, perhaps because of a rare Google misstep.

Google unleashed a new Gmail app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users Wednesday, but it pulled it within a few hours after consumer backlash.

“The iOS app we launched today contained a bug with notifications,” the company posted on its Gmail’s Twitter account. “We have pulled the app to fix the problem. Sorry we messed up.”

Again, its blog offered an explanation.

This action was necessitated by the universally negative reaction to the new app from both casual users and tech bloggers.

The biggest problem appeared to be with notifications, as they simply did not work with Gmail. 

Tim Stevens of Engadget wrote: “It's clean and workable but sadly a bit buggy. We had to reboot our iPad before it would let us sign in and we got notification-related errors upon launching both apps for the first time.”

Meanwhile, Joshua Gazaway, a self-professed tech geek, tweeted: " Hey u know that iOS gmail app! Don't! All time Fastest deleted app! 5mins tops."

So is it a big mistake or a little one?

Jessica Dolcourt of CNET opts for the former.

“An error of this magnitude is unusual for iOS apps, since Apple is renowned for its iron grip over the quality of products released to its App Store,” she wrote Wednesday.

TechCrunch blogger MG Siegler agreed (albeit in a likely sarcastic way). "I’m shocked — SHOCKED — that Google was unable to launch an unbroken iOS app," he tweeted.