Google's Gmail app is dragging its way toward respectability in the usability stakes with a new swipe feature and more in the latest update.
Getting the Mail
Google's Gmail app had a pretty rocky start, but is slowly getting there in terms of features. With email still one of the most-used features on a smartphone (see IDC's latest connectednesssurvey), it is almost a shame that new hardware comes with crazy new features (like Samsung's Galaxy S4 tricks) and not focusing on doing the things we do most better.
So, the latest updates sees Google's developers add swiping between email messages, so no going back to the menu or tapping those up and down buttons. It is also easier to perform actions on multiple messages. When you tap one message's tick box in the inbox, edit mode becomes active and you can then tap on more messages to select them.
Gmail apps are slowly getting better (swipe in action)
You can then archive or delete the selected mails, or tap more to add labels, move them to folders, report as spam or mark a bunch of mails as read. There's also the inevitable "performance improvements and bug fixes" tag. The update is now live on the App Store for download.
While Google may be focusing on restoring Android to primacy as it fades into the background thanks to successive major mobile device launches that barely recognize the OS, it could help by creating new ways to interact with email beyond mere reading apps.