Today, Sparrow's Dom Leca announced that his third party email client company had been purchased by Google, and we just talked to sources familiar with the situation. The talks have been ongoing for a while; Sparrow was well known, and our sources say Google recognized that the five-person-team had a "lot of expertise in how to make mail communication really simple." While we couldn't get an exact number, we're told that Sparrow was acquired for under $25 million, and that there wasn't a bidding war surrounding the purchase. Our source couldn't specify a timeline, but the goal is to get the Paris-based Sparrow team in-house on the main Mountain View campus in California.
In an email to users, Dom Leca explained that Sparrow products won't be receiving new features, and the team will be joining the Gmail team. While some of the work that Sparrow has done on its native iPad app may be seen in future releases from the Gmail team, it's safe to assume that the app won't be released in its Sparrow-branded form. Still, the Sparrow iOS and Mac apps will continue to be available from Apple's App Stores. As far as when we'll start to see some of the Sparrow DNA integrated into Google's products, there's no timeline yet.
Google wants to bring polish, "beauty," and ease of use to all of its Gmail experiences
Of course, Sparrow is also known first for its Mac client, and the Google purchase makes a native Mac Gmail client more of a reality. We heard that the acquisition is less about "building for a specific platform," and that Sparrow's experience at building simple and powerful email clients will be helpful in bringing consistency to the Gmail ecosystem. Our sources also noted that Google isn't ruling out native Gmail clients for platforms beyond iOS and Android, and emphasized that Google wants to bring polish, "beauty," and ease of use to all of its Gmail experiences across platforms (a suggestion that a native client for Mac and PC might be in the offing). Sparrow, apparently, is a way to get there.