Gmail Go, the latest of the Go Apps is in the Google Play Store

Gmail Go
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Have an entry level phone (opens in new tab) that lags whenever you run heavy apps? 

All too often, even if you have a smartphone, you don’t have the RAM to run your favorite apps seamlessly. This is more often the case with budget smartphones rather than flagship models, but it’s a pain nonetheless. They either crash or don’t install in the first place because you don’t have the space. 

Google devised a solution by releasing a chain of Go Apps (opens in new tab) that don’t tax your memory and don’t compromise on the usage experience. The latest addition is the Gmail Go app. The similarities are so astute that it makes one wonder why they should even bother using the regular Gmail app.

It’s currently available on Android Oreo 8.1 (opens in new tab) and versions that will come later. Not only does the app support the most basic features of Gmail (opens in new tab) as well as multiple accounts, but you can also sync your non-Gmail mail accounts like Yahoo Mail, or IMAP/POP email accounts instantaneously.

The differences between the regular app and the Go app are so slight, that you wonder if the Go apps are just the next evolutionary step.

The Gmail Go app

What makes the Gmail Go so different from the original Gmail app (opens in new tab) is the smaller apk size, 20.66MB vs 9.51MB. Hence, the app is lighter when you install it on your smartphone consuming only 25MB as compared to the 47MB that the regular app accounts for. 

You’d think, that with such a cut back, the user would have to compromise on features. Fortunately, that isn’t the case. Even with its lightweight built, the Gmail Go app lets you categorise your email according their function. That is, social, promotional and important under separate tabs so that you can focus on emails as per their priority. 

It even supports the conversation view that will group emails for IMAP, POP3 and Exchange accounts within the same interface. 

The design is more or less identical to the original Gmail app aside from a slight change in the way that the user profile is displayed. Currently it sits on top of the title bar displaying your profile photo and background image. 

Safety (opens in new tab) being on the forefront of everyone mind with myriad of privacy issues (opens in new tab) that being highlight of late, you wonder if that’s where the Gmail Go app goofs up. Instead, the new app comes equipped with Google’s internal data sets and algorithms so that spam messages will still be blocked as per their guidelines regardless of which account is synced. In case a message or two do sneak through, the option to mark it as spam or important still exists. 

Some sources (opens in new tab) have reported (opens in new tab) that there is some lag in the new app. They’ve also justified that this will probably be fixed before the Android Go device are officially launched. 

Regardless, the prime motto of the Go Apps is to use less RAM and data, which the Gmail Go app delivers. The question still remains, why does the regular Gmail app need to be twice the size when the Gmail Go app works just as well?

 Android Oreo (Go Edition) 

The Android Oreo (Go Edition) (opens in new tab), meant to be a powerful online experience for entry level smartphones, is going to host a bunch of Go Apps that can empower devices with just 512MB to 1GB of memory. 

Other Go Edition apps that are already in the Play Store are Files Go, Gboard Go (opens in new tab), Google Go, Maps Go and YouTubeGo (opens in new tab)

Not all of these apps are the same as their regular counterparts. 

For example, the YouTube Go app has its own set of unique features. You can download videos for offline viewing and even share videos with friends that are in your immediate vicinity. The Files Go app has a feature that’s similar to Apple’s AirDrop ad-hoc service. 

Gmail Go may only be available to Android O 8.1 (opens in new tab) and Android Go users, but Files Go, Google Go and Maps Go are available across the board.

Since the Go apps might actually be better that the regular apps, they may perhaps, make the regular apps obsolete in the coming months.

The Paradox

Limiting the Gmail Go app to Android O 8.1 or above means you either need a Nexus phone or a Pixel device to run it. Aside from that you could run it on an Android Go (opens in new tab) device… Which doesn’t exist as of now. 

If the differences between the Gmail Go app and the regular Gmail app are so few, shouldn’t Google just scrap the original app and exclusively offer Gmail Go? Perhaps it’s the bugs or limited availability, but Google didn’t even officially announce that the Gmail Go app was in the market. 

If more users feel the way that we do, perhaps Google (opens in new tab) with take that initiative in the near future.

Prabhjote Gill is the Senior Journalist at Business Insider India. She covering everything space, tech and defence at Business Insider India. She is also in-charge of allocating stories to junior writers.