We live in interesting times. Our Macs continue to improve and grow in power and capability. The price remains the same or less. Browsers and email apps once had a price tag.
Today, they’re mostly free and feature laden. Email accounts once cost money. Google (and Yahoo! and others) make email and storage free. Now Gmail goes from the browser window to a standalone Mac app.
Out With The Complex, In With Simplicity
If you’ve noticed, Apple’s free Mail has become heavily loaded with features. What doesn’t it do? HTML. Template stationery. Multiple accounts. To-do lists. Notes. What if all I want is just my Gmail email?
A Safari browser window gets Google’s Gmail for free.
Sparrow brings you Gmail email in a Mac app that’s pure minimalist.
It’s easy on the eyes, easy to use, and free (for now). If small is beautiful then Sparrow is the Ximena Navarrete of email apps (despite the obvious resemblance, we’re not related).
Sparrow Does Gmail Email
If your interest in email extends only to the email message and actions, and not to a bucket of bells and whistles, Sparrow delivers. The toolbar is minimalist. The left column inbox of messages looks like a Twitter stream.
Sparrow’s tools are muted, out of the way, and won’t encumber your vision. Click on a message to see who it’s from, what the message says, and the message thread. Click to delete, click to reply, click to forward.
In an age when we all have multiple email accounts, Sparrow delivers multiple email accounts. So long as they’re all Gmail accounts. See? Simple.
Why would you use Sparrow instead of using Gmail in a browser window?
I can think of a few reasons. Simplicity. Sparrow is focused on your message, not advertising, documents, and clutter. Focus. Sparrow is about email, not all the clutter Google wants to stuff in front of our eyes.
Threads are important, too, because it’s always good to know the context of a message.
Oh, did I mention notifications?
That good old browser window running Gmail is visually noisy but actually as deaf as a three dollar bill and can’t speak a word.
There’s something else I like about Sparrow. It doesn’t claim to be more than it is, and what it is is useful, acceptable, and comes with a hint of promise. The Sparrow developers promise more IMAP email providers (Yahoo! and MobileMe come to mind) in the future, making it more like Mail on the iPhone.
Not bad for free?