Google's Gmail is an email service, but it’s also a personal database. I often send messages to myself with information clipped from online articles, attachments, photos — anything I think I may want or need later.
The trouble is, searching Gmail — the mobile app and desktop version — for those information scraps isn’t as easy as you might expect, given that it’s made by the company that developed the leading search engine. I was pleasantly surprised by Gusto, a free iPhone/iPod touch app that aims to simplify your emailbox. Gusto does that, but so do countless other apps including Mailbox, CloudMagic and Acompli. Search sets Gusto apart.
By tapping a magnifying glass icon, you can search messages using a keyword and no fewer than 10 criteria: account/folder; date; read/unread; attachments; file type; file extension; file size; photo type; photo extensions; and photo size. That’s a lot more filtering capability than I’ve seen in other mobile email apps, including Gmail. The ability to search by date alone is worth the price of admission — especially because that price, as I mentioned, is free.
Search aside, Gusto is also worth a download if you’re a heavy Facebook user. The app integrates your Facebook photos, which makes it extremely easy to attach a Facebook image as an email attachment. I’m not sure how often I’ll use that feature, but it’s nice to have. I’m more likely to use the app’s Files feature, which shows email attachments as a list of files that you can view and attach to new email, among other things.
As an email manager, Gusto improves upon Apple’s Mail app, which is very basic. I like Gusto’s interface and its flexibility. For example, you can view inbox messages in a list (the default mode), as big previews or as thumbnails. And it’s easy to add attachments to your messages with Gusto, something that can't be said about Apple’s Mail app.
The latest version of Gusto (v2.0) also works with Yahoo Mail.
So what’s not to love? The app automatically adds a "Sent from my iPhone w/ Gusto" signature to each reply or new email you create. I see no way to modify the signature, so I simply edited out the "w/ Gusto" part of each message. After installing the app, the thumbnails of my photos were extremely slow to load, which meant I had to tap a thumbnail just to see what the image was. Also, as of this writing, there’s no Android app, and the iOS version isn’t optimized for iPad.
If you’re looking for an alternative to the iOS Mail app (and who isn’t?), you’re a big Facebook user and you use Gmail or Yahoo Mail, you should give Gusto a try. It’s free, and it makes searching email much easier.