Along with the myriad Android-related announcements yesterday, a couple of smaller ones, though still important, were overlooked.
One such announcement was the introduction of a Gmail API, which will allow app developers to make better use of Google’s massive email capabilities. Until now, developers have been limited to accessing a user’s emails through either IMAP, or a closed set of APIs that don’t allow for much configuration.
The addition “is a standard Google API,” which authenticates using OAuth 2.0 with a user’s account, and lets apps access messages, threads, labels and drafts as they would in the proper Gmail app. The idea behind releasing a Gmail API is that it makes email data accessible in environments, such as backend cloud services. This means that if Dropbox wanted to add the ability to send a tech support message without leaving the app itself, it can request just a single aspect of the API, and limit the company’s exposure to secure data.
Right now, the API is in beta, but should roll out with Android L later this year. The Gmail API is a big deal, and will make using certain aspects of the Gmail service way more enjoyable in third-party apps.
[source]Google Developer Blog[/source]