In a move that may raise some eyebrows in the iPhone power-user community, Internet giant Google has acquired iPhone mail search application reMail. reMail may not be a top-selling iPhone application, but it has gathered a loyal following from serious Gmail and IMAP users who need to keep in touch with folks via their iPhones and somehow navigate the heaps of email they have carefully squirreled away in Gmail or IMAP accounts: reMail offers fast searching capabilities for those information troves, making mobile email more of a reality for serious email users.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. reMail developer Gabor Cselle will be joining Google as a product manager on the Gmail team.
As a result of the deal, the reMail iPhone application will be discontinued, and it has already been removed from Apple’s App Store. Existing reMail users who have the application on their iPhones or iPod touches will continue to be able to use the app, however. reMail will continue to support users through the end of March 2010, and users can activate all paid features—like support for IMAP and Rackspace accounts—by clicking “Restore Purchases” inside the application.
Google’s plans for reMail and Cselle remain unclear: some reMail customers upset about the acquisition and discontinuation of the application have speculated Google bought reMail merely to squash it, since it arguably made the iPhone a better Gmail client than Google’s own efforts. However, it’s equally plausible that Google sees reMail’s technology as a way to improve Gmail for all mobile users—especially those in the Android ecosystem.