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Are ads coming to Google’s Gmail Android email client?

APK teardown of Google’s new Android email client shows that ads may be coming soon along with bookmarking option.

Gmail for Android

Ads have been a staple for Gmail users on the web, but Google’s smartphone and tablet experience has been a refreshing ad-free one for mobile devices for quite some time. In a recent APK teardown by Android Police, however, it was determined that Google is planning to include advertisements on Gmail message threads, among other improvements to the mobile client.

These are evident with the lines pertaining to ads, ad presentations and ad elements, which have been added to version 4.6 (build 836823).

In terms of user interface, the updated app continues with Google’s current design language, particularly with the use of the Card UI standard popularized by Google Now. However, this comes with a small price, at least depending on how you look at it. Android Police’s Artem Russakovskii speculates that the ads could likely appear similar to email threads. Meanwhile, the app code suggests that users can bookmark or save ads that they find interesting. This suggests that ads on mobile Gmail will be something like sponsored or featured stories on Facebook, which a user can “like” or bookmark.

According to the mobile Gmail client’s Google Play entry, the app has at least 500 million downloads. Even if the updated app would work only on Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) versions of Android and up, Google’s mobile ads are likely to reach a significant number, given that Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean use have far surpassed older versions of the mobile OS already.

Apart from ads, the updated Gmail app includes a few changes, notably the following:

  • Unsent message warning in the Sent view;
  • Improved presentation of contacts without profile photos in notifications;
  • Cancel button has been removed in prompts (users have to tap Back to cancel);
  • Darker UI icons.

Gmail will be pushing this update sometime this week. If you are not auto-updating your apps, you can check out the Gmail client on Google Play.

Source: Android Police

Image credit: HDBlog.it

J. Angelo Racoma
J. Angelo Racoma has written extensively about mobile, social media, enterprise apps and startups. Angelo develops business case studies for Microsoft enterprise applications and services. He is also co-founder at WorkSmartr, a small outsourcing team.

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