I love Sparrow. It’s like the iPhone Mail App for the Mac – I love the iPhone Mail App. Writing with it actually makes me feel quite ‘happy’; everything is a click a way and the simplicity just makes the App get out of your way.

When I bought it, I trialled stopping my practice of always having a Gmail window open in Chrome. It did mean I had to fire up iChat but that’s fine. Reading email is great. Multiple Account management is fantastic (even better in the last update). Writing email is perfect and its’ handling of HTML mail is probably my favourite of any mail client.

Today, I have found myself resuming the Gmail window practice for one reason; search. If I type a word in to the Gmail search box, if I have an email; sent, archived, in a folder etc.. that contains that word then it sure as hell finds it. Sparrow (and other mail clients) are fine – even good – at finding emails in your inbox, or a known folder, but when you want to cast your net extremely wide they fall over. Part of this is inherent to being a desktop client; you can only search what you have on the desktop, plus what the exchange search protocol will give you access to – not much. It is rubbish. That said, if you asked me if I’d set aside 3GB of my SSD space in order to store all of my emails and index them then I couldn’t say YES fast enough.

I’m not sure whether this is by design (this functionality mimics the iPhone’s search box which is context-aware to the folder with no option to search at the top level) or whether they both share a technical limitation which dictates this lack of a feature. But unfortunately it does mean that it’s basically impossible for anyone with a lot of email, to move totally away from the Gmail web client at the moment.

Gmail – any chance you’d like to make the search functionality available via an API?