Google is open-sourcing the code for its recently acquired ReMail application, citing strong interest in the mobile search product. Google, which released the code under the Apache 2.0 license, faced some complaints after removing ReMail's iPhone application from Apple's App Store with plans to discontinue it. The open-sourcing of ReMail signals a trend for Google acquisitions when it plans to kill off a product.
Google March 5 decided to open-source the code for its recently acquired
ReMail application, citing strong interest in the product.
Google purchased ReMail
on Feb. 18. ReMail's founder, Gabor
Cselle, built a popular application that lets Apple iPhone users download their
e-mail and conduct full-text e-mail search.
The application was considered by many iPhone users to be the best of its
kind. Google faced some complaints after removing ReMail's iPhone application
from Apple's App Store with plans to discontinue it. ReMail would, however,
continue to work for those who downloaded it, Google said.
Cselle, a former Google engineering intern who rejoined Google as a product
manager on the Gmail team, said after considering a number of options for keeping
the product available to users, Google decided to open-source the code under
"As someone who is passionate about mobile e-mail, my hope is that
developers interested in making e-mail-related apps can use ReMail code as a
starting point," Cselle wrote on the ReMail blog.
"Part of the reason e-mail apps are hard is because you have to pay the
tax of figuring out how to download e-mail via IMAP, parse MIME [Multipurpose
Internet Mail Extension] messages, handle attachments and store data. ReMail
has already solved these problems. If you have a great mobile e-mail idea, I
hope you will find ReMail's source code helpful in your quest."
Google is offering the code on its Google Code Website.
In addition to the
typical code documentation, Cselle suggested potential projects with
implementation tips geared toward creating features that users have requested
in the past.
The open-sourcing of ReMail signals a trend for Google acquisitions when it
plans to kill off a product.
When Google acquired AppJet
in December 2009, Google said it would
no longer offer AppJet's popular EtherPad real-time editing application to new
users or allow existing users to create new editing sessions.
After this plan attracted an angry mob of EtherPad users,
Google released the EtherPad code
to open source, also under
the Apache 2.0 license.
Expect more of these open-source moves in cases where Google buys products
either to integrate into its own portfolio or destroy to reduce competition.
While the AppJet engineers are building EtherPad-like editing for Google Wave,
ReMail's Cselle will likely build a version of ReMail for smartphones based on
Google's Android operating system.