Google says it 'messed up,' yanks Gmail app for iPhone, iPad

The app contained a bug which broke notifications; Google promises fix 'soon'

Just minutes after launching its first native Gmail app for Apple's iPhone and iPad, Google pulled the program, saying it had "messed up" by issuing a flawed version.

"Unfortunately, it contained a bug which broke notifications and caused users to see an error message when first opening the app," Google said in an updated blog post. It promised a new version "soon," but did not set a timetable.

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Google tweeted much the same. "We have pulled the app to fix the problem. Sorry we messed up," the Gmail team said on Twitter.

David Girouard, Google's vice president of apps and the company's top executive for its enterprise group, issued his own apology on Twitter and Google+.

"Googla culpa!" said Girouard on Twitter. "Sorry, but we pushed a bad version of our iOS app for Gmail. More info shortly -- we're working on it."

As of 2:30 p.m. ET, the Gmail app was not available on Apple's App Store.

Scores of users had taken to Twitter to report that the Gmail app displayed an error when they first launched the program.

That message read, "Notification Error" and "no valid 'aps-environment' entitlement string found for application."

Contrary to Google's Help website for the app, there was no way to enable push or sound notifications for incoming email, one of the key features that the company had touted earlier in the day when it debuted the software.

But users blasted the app for more than the notifications snafu.

"Good news everyone! The awful Gmail app has been pulled from the App Store due to it being absolutely terrible in every possible way," said Mike Rundle on Twitter.

Others criticized the Gmail app for not supporting multiple accounts and for what they called an "ugly" user interface.

According to one iOS app developer, Google's mistake was "easy to make" and "a pretty trivial thing to fix."

"What Google probably did is create the standard certificates, then create the Push certificates and didn't re-generate/download the Store certificate," Paul Haddad, the creator of Tweetbot, told today. "It's a really easy mistake to make and there's no indication of a problem anywhere within the submission process to Apple. It's also a pretty trivial thing to fix, and I'd expect Google to re-submit and Apple to expedite the release pretty quickly."

Google said that users who had already downloaded Gmail for iOS could continue to use the app while it crafts a new edition.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is
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This story, "Google says it 'messed up,' yanks Gmail app for iPhone, iPad" was originally published by Computerworld.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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