Kiwi for Gmail Arrives on Windows to Challenge Office Desktop Apps

Zive's popular Kiwi software helps Google's G Suite applications make the leap from the browser to the desktop.

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Zive, the New York City-based developer behind the popular Kiwi for Gmail app for Mac users, has made the leap to Windows to give Office a run for its money.

The company today launched Kiwi for Gmail 2.0 for Windows, providing users of G Suite a desktop-like alternative to Google's browser-based productivity applications, which includes Docs, Sheets, Slides, and of course, Gmail.

On the Mac, Kiwi for Gmail is already a hit, ranking not only as one of the most well-regarded apps on the Mac App Store, but "the highest-rated app" in the productivity category in the marketplace, Eric Shashoua, CEO of Zive, told eWEEK. Currently, Kiwi for Gmail has a 4.5-star rating for all versions on the Mac App Store, a rating shared by other popular apps like Microsoft OneNote and Wunderlist.

At the outset, Shashoua and his team's goal was "to build software that was really beautiful," and Kiwi for Gmail's uncluttered and sleek user interface reflects the efforts Zive made to achieve that aim. "We really believe in making the application blend with the aesthetic," he added.

As a bonus, G Suite users get more than a fresh coat of pixels. They also get a massive productivity upgrade.

Noting that the PC desktop remains the go-to platform for content-creation and business productivity, Shashoua said his company's software enables users to escape the constraints of browser applications and use G Suite's various tools to power through their workday much like they would using Microsoft's Office desktop applications on a Windows PC or Mac.

Compared to the browser-based G Suite experience, Kiwi for Gmail users are multitasking nearly three times as much versus juggling multiple browser tabs on Google's interface. The software also drives usage on other applications besides Gmail. For example, users are likelier to fire up Docs and Slides two-and-a-half times more often as a desktop app than on the browser.

Users can also expect the immediacy and responsiveness of a desktop app. Zive was able to "cut a lot of the fat that you have in a browser," Shashoua said.

In terms of security, the company's account isolation technology helps keep a lid on sensitive business information and prevents data leaks. For administrators, an assortment of controls help businesses tailor the software to their environments, including limiting the application to one G Suite account to keep workforces focused and help users avoid blending their personal and professional data.

Also included is Zen Switch, a do not disturb feature akin to that found on smartphones and a notifications system that filter alerts, allowing users to focus on high-priority tasks. Also helping keeping users on-task is a global shortcuts feature that allows users to quickly create email drafts within the current application. Like Office, Kiwi allows users to place desktop icons for each app on their desktops or taskbars for one-click access.

These features, along with productivity-enhancing benefits of bringing G Suite to the desktop "opens the doors to enterprise," Shashoua said. In fact, much of corporate demand Zive is experiencing of late comes from businesses with "Kiwi users in their IT departments."

Editor's Note: This story was updated to correct all instances of Zive's corporate name.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...