New Gmail for iOS keeps it all in the family

If you're a Google fan and an iPhone owner, you can do your happy dance now. An update to Gmail for iOS does an end-run around default iOS apps in favor of Google's own.

The latest version of Gmail for iOS lets you open links in other Google apps. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Google updated Gmail for iOS (review) on Monday with a surprising new feature: links open directly in the corresponding Google app, assuming it's been installed.

Tapping a link to YouTube, Maps, or a standard URL will skip Safari in favor of apps built by Google, assuming you've installed them. So, YouTube links in Gmail will open in the YouTube app; location links will open in Google Maps, and standard URLs will open in Google Chrome.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. We will update the story when we hear back from Google.

This is a major win for Google, which, along with other third-party iOS app makers and many iOS device owners, have complained that Apple prevents links from opening in third-party browsers, even when you choose that browser as your default app.

Google still lets you turn off the feature through Gmail's settings, which may be how Google was allowed to get away with the change.

Another, smaller change in Gmail for iOS allows people who use multiple Gmail accounts to sign out of one account at a time, instead of being forced to log out of all Gmail accounts at once.

 

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