Google just dropped the lightweight Gmail Go app on the Play Store, offering Android users two options for using Google’s email service on their device. But what’s the difference between the two Gmail apps, and which one should you use?
Google’s “Go” apps are lighter, streamlined versions of its regular Android apps. Gmail Go has all the basic email features of the Gmail app, plus customisable gesture controls, inbox filtering, multi-account swapping, and a dark mode theme. However, there are a few small changes that make Gmail Go less taxing on slower hardware.
Long-time Gmail users will notice that Gmail Go doesn’t have Google Meet integration, so there’s no Google Meet banner or video call shortcuts in the app — at least for now.
Stripping out Google Meet features reduces the app’s installation size and helps keep the focus on the core email features. That said, you don’t need to Gmail Go just to nix Meet from Gmail; you can hide Google Meet in the main Android app and on desktop if you want.
Gmail Go also ditches the Gmail app’s “layered” UI elements and instead uses subtle outlines to differentiate between the app’s various buttons and features. It also scales back the animations and caps the framerate. These changes preserve memory and make the app easier to run on older or weaker devices.
Gmail Go is an alternative to the main Gmail app that works great if your phone has trouble running the standard Gmail app. Check it out if you’re still rocking an older Android handset, but there’s no reason to swap if your phone handles Gmail fine already — it won’t even install on some new devices. (Besides, there are plenty of other options if you’re looking for an alternate email service.)