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Google refreshes its Gmail iOS app with Apple Notification Center support

Google today updated the iOS version of its Gmail app, which adds full support for Apple's Notification Center.

The search giant also added the ability to send messages from alternate email addresses and improved the log-in experience.

With the Notification Center update, iOS users can now opt to have their messages show up via banners, alerts, and on the lock screen.

"Plus, notifications are now incredibly fast - up to 5x faster than in the previous version," Jason Parachoniak, a Google software engineer wrote in a blog post.

The Android-esq Notification Center was added to iOS last year via iOS 5. It combined all notifications, divided by apps, in one place, accessible by swiping down. The idea was to not have notifications interrupt your iOS activity. A text message received while playing a game appeared at the top of the screen, but didn't interrupt the game, and then disappeared.

Yesterday's update, meanwhile, also allows users to send from an alternate email address. "If you have configured alternate sender addresses in Gmail on your desktop under Settings->Accounts->Send mail as you will see a From: option when composing new messages in the app," Parachoniak said.

Finally, the login update allows users to stay logged in as long as they like. "You can still choose to sign out of your account, but you won't be automatically logged out after a certain period of time has elapsed," Parachoniak said.

The iOS Gmail app rolled out in November after a brief false start that required Google to pull it from the App Store.

Earlier this month, Google announced that it is rolling out a new custom themes section in Gmail that will let users set their own background images. Last month, Google said Gmail users could use their email accounts to view and reply to activity in Google+.