My choice for a GPush alternative – Gmail Push Notification

As noted in the previous post, GPush from Tiverias Apps has become a #ZombieApp and has now ceased to work. Many people (especially on Twitter…) are looking for an alternative, as am I.

I thought I would share my reasons for the choice I have made.

What I want.

Ideally I was after :-

  1. a FREE app/service that would give me FAST alerts. Sound or text was an added extra but not needed.
  2. ALSO – learning from my experience with GPush, I ideally did NOT want to compromise my email security – by either giving out my password OR forwarding my mail.
  3. A full push service where the email itself was pushed in real time so I could read it immediately without going to the web Gmail account would also be a major bonus

This limited my choice – a lot!!

1) –  meant that most of the apps in the app store were a no go; and free services – like Boxcar – failed at point 2) and 3) . I gather you forward your email to them, they push a message alert/header and you open a web browser to see the GMail site;  even though they don’t KEEP your messages, I don’t like forwarding my email to a third party;  also I am already forwarding from multiple other accounts TO my Gmail, so do I really want to forward them on again?  However,  I admit – BOXCAR is my backup plan.   😀

Of course several people  – even Tiverias apps themselves – had said that Google was a good successor. However, “everyone else” said that the Google app was no good! I HAVE had the google iPhone app for many months – and I agree – I never seem to get push notifications over it – although they have been activated.

What I now use.

It seems I and (going by the comments on Twitter) many others, were making a fundamental error; it is NOT the Google APP we want – it is Google Sync – Google’s Push email service for Gmail  – that hooks directly into your inbuilt iPhone Email client/account using a Microsoft exchange service. Let me repeat that IT IS NOT THE GOOGLE APP .

Once I actually looked at the web instructions and set up my iPhone – I received almost instantaneous notifications by a badge alert  (remember I have it set to PUSH not FETCH) with the email immediately readable when I open the mail app. No message header popping up but otherwise exactly what I want. You do have to be careful about the initial set-up, especially if you are NOT syncing your calendar etc with Google (which I don’t – I’m also a MobileMe user) but the instructions are VERY specific.

So there you are – I have a free, fast, safe push email notification service for Gmail that I am confident will not become a #ZombieApp – unless Google liquidates<!>.


Lessons learnt from the GPush debacle

What GPush debacle?

For those who are unfamiliar with what I’m writing about, there WAS an iPhone app called GPush that was SOLD – by Tiverias Apps – through the app store from around July 2009. It offered real time push notification of new email to your iPhone account from GMail. The vendors used your (provided) email account details to poll the google servers FREQUENTLY and then sent a push notification WITH an excerpt of the header to your iPhone. Its reliability appeared to fluctuate but when it worked, it worked well.
Unfortunately there were multiple occasions GPush stopped working – and Twitter bore the brunt of the complaints process. Tiverias Apps did NOT have a good reputation for consistent customer service and would seem to go silent/unresponsive for extended periods of time.

On December 25th 2010 (Australian time) the following appeared in my in-box:-

Dear GPush user,

Thank you for your loyal use of GPush. Unfortunately, we have determined that the value added by GPush beyond such products as Google’s own push notification service is not sufficient to merit our continued maintenance of the service. We will therefore be shutting the service down as of December 31, 2010.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

The GPush Team

Is that supposed to mean Merry Christmas??

Now – I may be cynical about the timing, but I do wonder if they THOUGHT that there would be less of an outcry over the holiday period! At the same time the website disappeared from the web….Now it ends up as a godaddy parked page.

As expected there was a bit of an outcry on Twitter. Users decried the loss of service with some asking for a refund for the app they had bought. The only response to a refund request was:-

…..please contact apple directly,  we have no way to issue one, we’re sorry.

Along the way, they have suggested that:-

  1. They would be willing to sell the business and are looking for a buyer.
  2. They are going to keep the business running

Now – once again they have gone silent and GPush is dead. I have solemnly declared it a #ZombieApp.

So where are we now?

Older and wiser I suspect! Once you look at it, I don’t see how this could have survived. The business model is fundamentally flawed from the outset. Any company offering a sole product as an ongoing – time unlimited – service with no revenue stream can simply not survive! How on earth did Tiverias expect to maintain the infrastructure required to provide the service?? Why did we – the users – expect them to be able to?

Lessons learnt:-

Any PAID app that offers an ongoing service either needs

  • A strong associated advertiser base to generate income (Not popular with paid apps users) OR
  • A subscription model to generate income (As seen with some newspaper apps) AND/OR
  • Multiple OTHER revenue streams to support a non-revenue generating product (Google is a classic!)

To expect it to survive otherwise is naive at best and stupid at worst.

I am surprised that Apple allows these sort of apps onto the store and do wonder what provision for abandoned users exists within the Apple – iPhone App-store framework….?

I – for one – will think twice about plonking down money (how ever little) for another App based on this flawed model.

As for Tiverias Apps postulated plans…. I can NOT see another company buying their buisness for the stated reasons above. PERHAPS they will sell their user base/lists – and that raises a whole lot of issues about their right to sell it.

Lastly, with  respect to your GMail account, the user-name and password of which you gave to Tiverias-