Google has created a suite of “lite” apps that are designed for its Android Go special configuration for more resource-constrained phones. Everyone, however, could probably do with such lightweight alternatives to Google’s core apps, presuming they’re also willing to live with the compromises. Google has, fortunately, made some of those apps available outside of Android Go phones and, for at least a day, it seemed that Gmail Go would become one of those. Unfortunately, that joy was short-lived and Google has pulled out the plug on the app’s accidental availability.
Launched back in 2018, the Gmail Go app was actually a rather odd version of the full version, and in a rather good way. In terms of core functionality, it is practically identical to the main Gmail experience, only that it comes at half the size in terms of storage consumption. In other words, it almost makes the main Gmail app’s large size questionable.
Given recent accusations of bloating up Gmail with an unnecessary Meet tab, it wasn’t surprising that many eagerly jumped on Gmail Go when it became available for almost all Android phones. But then just as it arrived unexpectedly, it was also yanked out without warning. You can’t install Gmail Go now unless you have an Android Go phone, at least not via the official, straightforward means.
Google confirmed with Android Police that removing Gmail Go’s wider availability was intentional. It was, in fact, just a glitch that the app even became installable on all Android phones. As to whether it plans to change that, Google isn’t saying for now.
It’s definitely disappointing that Google still hasn’t made Gmail Go more widely available, especially when other “Go” apps are. Perhaps because it paints the main Gmail app in a more negative light that it has decided not to stir the hornet’s nest further.