[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsRKXfkTlC4&feature=player_embedded]YouTube - Get reMail Now[/ame]
Last month, Google acquired reMail, the startup that had developed a well-regarded app to do full-text searches of all the mail on your iPhone. In a move that raised concerns about the reason behind the acquisition, Google promptly took reMail off the App Store and the company announced that product support would be terminated at the end of this month. Today, reMail breathed new life into the dead app by open sourcing it and releasing it as a Google Code project.
Founder Gabor Cselle had been a GMail Fellow before going off on his own and starting reMail. He's back on the GMail team now, and there had been worries when reMail was acquired and removed from the App Store that Google was paying Cselle off in order to kill his project. Instead, this news validates reports that Google was making a pure talent acquisition to bring Cselle back to the Googleplex. Making the code available not only makes it virtually certain that the app will reappear in some form, it also will allow other devs to make use of reMail's search refinements, as well as using it as a "skeleton" for other apps that can add services to iPhone Mail. Cselle said that his "hope is that developers interested in making email-related apps can use reMail code as a starting point." Devs can now mine the reMail repository for code that downloads email via IMAP, parses MIME messages, and deals with attachments and data storage.
The Google Code project page also lists the unfulfilled feature requests made by users, including landscape mode, additional account types, localization etc., and asks for developers to help out with those. Cselle says he will provide some support to programmers who wish to work on improving the app. Developers are reportedly also interested in creating an Android port.
In December, a similar sequence of events occurred when Google acquired AppJet, Inc., the makers of EtherPad, and assimilated it into the Google Wave project. Google immediately disabled the ability to create new EtherPad documents or open new accounts. After loud and sustained outcry from the user base, Google open-sourced EtherPad a day later.