15 December 2012

Official Google Blog: “Winter cleaning”

Last January, we renewed our resolution to focus on creating beautiful, useful products that improve millions of people’s lives every day. To make the most impact, we need to make some difficult decisions. So as 2012 comes to an end, here are some additional products, features and services we’re closing:
  • Google Sync was designed to allow access to Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts via the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync® protocol. With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols. Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won't be able to set up new devices using Google Sync; however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function. Google Sync will continue to be fully supported for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. Users of those products are unaffected by this announcement.
Venkat Panchapakesan

I didn’t pay much attention to this announcement until I read a follow-up by Ed Bott. I’m disappointed to see this feature discontinued, since I am using it right now on the iPhone to sync my Gmail account to the default Mail app and receive push notifications and I was kinda hoping to also set up Gmail in Outlook 2013 with this method. In the future if you want push notifications on any other platform than Android you will have to use the official app; which could be a problem on Windows Phone, since Google apparently has no plans to develop apps for that mobile OS. Even on iOS replacing EAS with three different protocols for mail, contacts and calendar will bring unnecessary headaches for users, because you need to set up the same Gmail account three times instead of a single time; just try changing your password and re-typing it into three places instead of one.

Also, it’s funny how free users get to enjoy the “open” experience, while the poor paying customers are stuck using EAS/Google Sync. As usual, open it used very freely, as a cover for business decisions. The announcement should actually read: we don’t make enough money out of free accounts to justify the licenses we pay to Microsoft, so you will just have to use the official apps so that Google can collect more data on you and display more ads. And if this is a move to limit the potential threat of Windows Phone 8 on Android by restricting access to key Google services, as some suggested, that’s even worse: it becomes an anti-competitive action. Somehow this is not a Google I would like to trust in the future.

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