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Google buys app, removes from app store

That's one way to make the iPhone less attractive

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Google has bought the publisher of iPhone mail search app reMail, and promptly pulled the application from the iTunes store until further notice.

reMail is an indexing application that downloads copies of all your e-mail for local searching on an iPhone. Or at least it used to be, before Google bought the company. Now reMail is only available to existing users, while the Chocolate Factory decides what to do with the technology.

Gabor Cselle, reMail's founder, used to work for Google so he'll be right at home as "Product Manager" back at Mountain View, where we assume that some of reMail's capabilities will emerge within some forthcoming Google product.

reMail has only been in the application store for about six months - with a free version limited to one Gmail account and a premium version which can connect to multiple accounts.

The app uses IMAP to download copies of the entire mailbox, which can then be searched with various Boolean options. reMail reckons that 1000 e-mails take up about 5MB of space - an average of 5KB per message - so there's no clever compression going on, which means it must be the local search capabilities that caught Google's eye.

It's also possible that Google just wanted Mr. Cselle back in the fold, but more likely some sort of improved local search for Android will emerge. Or perhaps Google is just planning to buy up all the iPhone developers, one at a time, until Android is the only game in town. ®

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