Although there was no mention of it during Google's quarterly conference call with investors and analysts on Thursday, the Internet giant is starting Friday morning with a new acquisition.
The new member of the Google family and portfolio is Sparrow, a popular third-party email client for Apple's two operating systems: Mac OS X and iOS.
The official announcement actually came from Sparrow's leadership. Sparrow CEO Dom Leca posted the following memo to the front door of the company's website:
We're excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!
We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.
Now we're joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.
We’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback and allowed us to build a better mail application. While we’ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users.
We had an amazing ride and can't thank you enough.
Full speed ahead!
Given that Sparrow's technology is specifically targeted at Mac and iOS devices -- neither of which have a really stellar app for Gmail, to say the least -- it is very likely that Google is acquring Sparrow to fill that specific void.
Sure, Google released a new Gmail app for iOS last year (which got off to a really bumpy start), but it's not much more than the existing mobile browser version.
By contrast, the Chrome for iOS is actually pretty awesome, so it's fairly disappointing for iOS users that there isn't something that works just as well for Gmail besides the native Apple email client.
Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
UPDATE: The Verge is reporting that Google paid "under $25 million" for Sparrow "and that there wasn't a bidding war surrounding the purchase."