Google Shutting Down Google Sync and ActiveSync for Gmail: Looks Like an IMAP World After All


Google announced today a raft of “winter cleaning” shake ups to Google Calendar and Google Sync. At first blush, Google makes it sound like the no one will really miss these features, except that Google Sync is something many iOS users have been relying on for a while to get Gmail push notifications with the default Mail app.

First let’s look at what Google Announced:

  • On January 4, 2013, we’ll be shutting down several less popular Google Calendar features. You’ll be unable to create new reservable times on your Calendar through Appointment slots, but existing Appointment slots will continue working for one year. In addition, we’ll discontinue two Calendar Labs—Smart Rescheduler (we recommend Find a time view or Suggested times as alternatives) and Add gadget by URL. Finally, Check your calendar via sms and Create event via sms (GVENT)—U.S.-only features for creating and checking meetings by texting information to Google—will be discontinued today, as most users prefer mobile Calendar apps.
  • 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.
  • In addition to Google Sync, we’re discontinuing Google Calendar Sync on December 14, 2012 and Google Sync for Nokia S60 on January 30, 2013. We’re also ending service for SyncML, a contacts sync service used by a small number of older mobile devices on January 30, 2013.
  • The Issue Tracker Data API allows client applications to view and update issues on Project Hosting on Google Code in the form of Google Data API feeds. We’ll shut down the Issue Tracker API on June 14, 2013.
  • Punchd is an app that keeps loyalty punch cards on your smartphone. On June 7, 2013, we will discontinue the Punchd Android and iOS apps, and merchants will no longer honor Punchd loyalty cards. Users can continue to earn punches and redeem rewards at participating businesses until June 7, 2013. We remained focused on developing products that help merchants and shoppers connect in new and useful ways.

From: Winter cleaning | Official Google Blog

It all sounds like this is stuff that folks can live without and Google already has replacements for. However, if you’ve been using ActiveSync to set up Gmail on your iOS device (to get push notifications and avoid IMAP), this is a big deal to you. While existing ActiveSync setups can continue, new ones cannot (after January 30th). Does this mean that if you have to reset your device you won’t be able to use ActiveSync when you get accounts back up? We don’t know, but will be asking Google if they can shed light on it.

The real end goal here is that Google wants you to use the new GMail app for iOS, IMAP, CalDav, and CardDAV for email, contacts, and calendar syncing and not rely on GoogleSync (which to Google’s mind was just a bandaid solution).

Personally I haven’t (knock on wood) had problems with Google’s IMAP set up. I have more issues with how Mail interacts with it (when I delete, I want it in the trash, thank you) than how it works from Google’s side. However, I know lots of you have a love-hate (hate-hate?) relationship with Gmail’s IMAP set up. So, what do you think about this change? Is Google cutting out things that we need to move on from or just hurting users?


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