Sharing one's password is considered a huge security sin; a recent Symantec survey made clear that telling it to even a boss or spouse is verboten. Gmail users may be glad to hear, then, that Google has figured out a way to encourage the creation of Gmail-related apps without asking everyone to compromise on the password issue.
A post on the Google Code Blog explained, "[I]t is more secure for the app developer to use the industry standard protocol called OAuth which enables the user to give their consent for specific access without sharing their password. Most Google APIs support this OAuth standard, and starting today it is also available for the IMAP/SMTP feature of Gmail."
An outfit called Syphir has already taken advantage of this feature to improve its SmartPush app for the iPhone, and you can view the result below.
A company known as Kwaga has upgraded its desktop "smart notifier," too.
So it looks like we'll see a great many third-party developers make an attempt at improving Gmail thanks to this development. And Gmail users won't have to worry about losing their privacy every time they give something new a try.