back to article Grinchy Google to shut down another batch of services

As part of its ongoing process of pruning and streamlining its engineering efforts, Google has decided to terminate yet another batch of unloved and little-used services, in what it's calling its "winter cleaning." Citing a need to "focus on creating beautiful, useful products that improve millions of people's lives every day," …

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Anonymous Coward

Seems that by dropping ActiveSync, Google dropped a bomb on Microsoft

http://www.theverge.com/2012/12/14/3768274/google-gmail-activesync-windows-phone

"This leaves Windows Phone users in a tricky position: at present, they’re offered two choices to set up a Google account. You can pick between email only or a combination of email, calendar, and contacts. The email-only option will set up an IMAP connection to Gmail which won't support push — it’ll sync every 15 minutes at best. The second option with calendar and contacts lets Windows Phone 8 users setup a Gmail connection using Exchange ActiveSync, with push email, calendars, and contacts. This solution will cease working from January 30th for new devices, leaving Microsoft little over a month to provide an acceptable alternative for end users."

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Devil

Re: Seems that by dropping ActiveSync, Google dropped a bomb on Microsoft

Not just windows phones.

It also nukes all those Symbian holdouts. That is what I used to use in the days when I was still carrying an E71 around.

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Re: Seems that by dropping ActiveSync, Google dropped a bomb on Microsoft

It's not just WinPhone users - theoretically you can set up a BlackBerry BIS account to point at Google's ActiveSync interface. I expect that Microsoft's response will be to recommend using their outlook.com.

What we're seeing is the beginning of a Google drive to reduce interoperability. Want to use your Google stuff in a convenient way? You'll need an Android phone then. It's like they're building a walled garden just like Apple have. I know that Android is "free", meaning that manufacturers can get into the garden that way. And I know that some Chinese manufacturers de-googlise Android to point it at their own services. But the end consumer can't easily take an Android phone, point it at some other cloud and get anything like the same functionality.

Fragmentation in this field is ultimately not good for the consumer. Personally speaking I think that the governmental regulators all round the world are missing some fairly important developments. It would be far better for Joe Public if there was true standards based interoperability to allow true competition.

That happens in the mobile network business, (or at least it does in Europe/UK), so why not in "cloud services"? Instead what we have at the moment is a series of walled garden phone/cloud combinations designed to trap the consumer. At least MS license ActiveSync to other players (like RIM), allowing other phone manufacturers in on MS's cloud.

ActiveSync is a good protocol, it's only drawback being that it's proprietary to MS. It does everything; email, contacts, calendar, etc. It's certainly way superior to the standard alternatives (IMAP, POP, SMTP, and they do only email anyway).

Pointing a BlackBerry BIS account at Hotmail using ActiveSync results in a pretty good set up. From the experiments I've done new message notifications are pretty much instant. I guess that Windows Phones are similarly nippy. Though presumably without BB's deep-down-in-the-radio-layer notification system Windows Phones use more battery power to do so.

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Re: Seems that by dropping ActiveSync, Google dropped a bomb on Microsoft

Actually, in some ways it seems less a move to reduce interoperability and more a move to marginalise those protocols which were intended to not to be interoperable. Sure, MS may licence ActiveSync, but Google are standardising on a free protocol. There is no reason MS could not make WinPhone use the free protocols as well as ActiveSync. As far as I can see, the only reason for that is a desire to lock people into ActiveSync, so this is bad for MS, but good for everyone else.

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Meh

Re: Seems that by dropping ActiveSync, Google dropped a bomb on Microsoft

Ditto Nokia N900....

But nevermind, I'm setting up my own personal cloud, providing IMAP, calendar and contacts directly from my NAS. Then I'll be finally freed of these big companies :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seems that by dropping ActiveSync, Google dropped a bomb on Microsoft

So much for Internet standards, RFCs and all that.

When are Google going to screw up the web then?

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Re: Seems that by dropping ActiveSync, Google dropped a bomb on Microsoft

"What we're seeing is the beginning of a Google drive to reduce interoperability. "

Perhaps if MS didn't require a monthly license to use ActiveSync per user then Google would continue to support it. But as a provider who can supply EAS to mobile devices, the costs are non trivial.

Or in other words, why should Google pay MS to use EAS when there are open standards that largely do the same that are (probably) license free?

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FAIL

Re: "There is no reason MS could not make WinPhone use the free protocols"

There isn't which is why Windows Phone does support 'free protocols'. You can use IMAP, POP3, whatever you want on a Win Phone, it just won't sync Calendars or contacts, but that is the same on every IMAP or POP client.

In reality there is no reason that Google couldn't reverse-engineer the ActiveSync protocol and name it Google-sync or something like that. Performing black-box reverse engineering is perfectly legal and how Samba got along before Microsoft released the specs to it.

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no reason that Google couldn't reverse-engineer the ActiveSync protocol

MS never take anyone to court over a thing like that have they?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "There is no reason MS could not make WinPhone use the free protocols"

"Performing black-box reverse engineering is perfectly legal"

In many countries, yes. But many countries allows stupid software patents. So when you try to re-implement it, you may be sued for patent infringement.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Seems that by dropping ActiveSync, Google dropped a bomb on Microsoft

Google are dropping a bomb on their users, make no mistake. This is hostile to anyone that doesn't use Android and that uses Gmail.

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I still dont get why Google is dumping iGoogle

That was probably the bit of Google I used most.

Found uStart, which seems quite good. Theres now no reason to keep gmail, other than as a legacy in box for people I dont hear from much.

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Boffin

Re: I still dont get why Google is dumping iGoogle

Try adding /ig after your google url... tada, igoogle is back ;)

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Boffin

Re: I still dont get why Google is dumping iGoogle

No, iGoogle (in its /ig incarnation) will be discontinued in November 2013, so less than a year to go.

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FAIL

Sigh

I rely on Google Calendar and ActiveSync to combine my work diary and private diary in one place. Nothing else seems to do the trick properly.

And I too like iGoogle as my default home page. I think they're shooting themselves in the foot with lost ad revenues as I will have to use a different portal from now on.

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Re: Sigh

"And I too like iGoogle as my default home page. I think they're shooting themselves in the foot with lost ad revenues as I will have to use a different portal from now on."

One would have to think that ad revenues are only significant when there are really huge numbers of users. I would think that the services Google is cutting are services that can not attract enough users for the ad revenue to exceed expenses. Ad-supported services would seems useless in supporting niche-market products. One might think that, when ad-support pays so poorly per user, a "niche-market" could still be one that contains tens of millions of users.

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Facepalm

Re: Sigh...... "unloved and little-used services"

... yeah, like iGoogle. My door to the universe. Big, big loss.

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Happy

Re: Sigh...... "unloved and little-used services"

Isn't AOL still going?

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Re: Sigh...... "unloved and little-used services"

Havent seen an AOL disc for yonks, not bothered by the software but they make good coasters.

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Anonymous Coward

More reasons not to trust the internet's biggest advertiser. Before someone claims these are free services so suck it up, it needs to be pointed out google isn't doing things for fun. They do it do it for your data so they aren't free and people have the right to complain all they want.

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many ways to pay

I pay for Gmail by having to delete all their spam postings in forums. I was hoping that was one of the services they were going to drop since I would benefit from that. I suppose spammers would beg to differ.

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Anonymous Coward

now you know why their products stay in beta for years

they need an easy excuse to pull them at any time

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Looks like I am using it.

Google Sync

Google Sync 1 device configured

WindowsPhone

Most recent: sync on Dec 14, 2012

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Unhappy

Bugger...

So I am about to lose:

Google Calendar Sync with Outlook. (Was wondering why it was crashing.)

Google Sync (Contacts, calendar) on my Nokia E51, E61.

.. and a few annoyed customers probably who use Google Exchange to sync their iPhone and Google stuff.

.. and my Galaxy Tab just died too - RAM has gone read only.

All they need to do now is kill IMAP and I'm outta there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bugger...

I think the way out is your own email domain etc. It's better than dealing with the trio of morons called Google, Apple and Microsoft.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bugger...

No, you can still use them as you probably do now for spam receipt. Anytime you sign up for a board somewhere or buy a one off purchase, you use them. Any thing sent after the join confirmation email then goes in the Google bit bucket. And you use your own domain for Real email.

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FAIL

Great.

Great. Google is dropping features in calendar & Mozilla is dropping sunbird. I guess calendars are too hard for open source.

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Re: Great.

As I understand it, the Lightening (calendar) plugin for Thunderbird is an independent effort by a some guy somewhere who tries his best to keep up with Thunderbird changes, but doesn't always manage to do this on time.

You're right - why are simple and common standard calendar functions so difficult to provide?

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Re: Great.

"You're right - why are simple and common standard calendar functions so difficult to provide [for free]?"

I added the bit you missed. If you want a calendar service, why not pay for one (e.g. Outlook/Exchange) or help out/donate to the Lightning devs (Kewisch et al)?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Great.

Try waving your money at them or telling them you have a way of reducing their tax bill further, should get their attention.

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Re: Great.

Still got Evolution. Might be worth giving it a try again maybe? I've always used it on my Linux machines and there is a windows version. It's a bit long in the tooth now, but it still has some advantages over Thunderbird, like a pretty good calendar for one thing.

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Gimp

Google obviously don't make money from Calendar Sync, they have not found a method to "inject "the usual publicity..

This will piss me off as I have never found an alternative. There must be a busload full of people that use this, it's the only way to sync the calendar between Outlook and Android.....for free......

Google Apps has to be paid for......thumbs down to google for behaving like twunts....

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Aww, diddums. How nasty it is of the big Googly beast to make you pay for the labour of others.

Actually, it's not nasty at all.

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Childcatcher

You could say the same about iGoogle...

... but I'd be more than happy to pay for it, I'm surprised they don't offer that option

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Linux

????

WTF, do you really believe that Google have a problem paying their staff ?

I actually do pay the labour, indirectly through my usage of Google, multiple Android devices and also through Google Adwords.....

<--Tux because you probably don't agree with Linux being free either.....

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"Google Sync was designed to allow access to Gmail, Google 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."

Basically, "we're dropping support for old proprietary software and allowing support for open standards". Some would call this progress. This is a free to use open standard that anyone can build software for, licence free. Apple use this already, and i'm sure given some time and some pressure Microsoft will likely cave and build support in as well.

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Google wont work their arse of for free to sync to the outlook you pay for?

just give me you wallet and fuck off back to lala land

Love MS.

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WHAT??!?

They're turning off Activesync? Google...WHY......I couldn't care about the other stuff, but Activesync has made my life so much easier, so many times with guys phones at work..don't make me go back to imap.

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Errr... read the article.

They're not turning off ActiveSync, they're turning off the link between Exchange Servers and Gmail.

You can still use the proprietry ActiveSync connection to connect to Exchange servers

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Activesync

Fortunately my gmail is via a Google apps account. How much longer Google choose to provide a free apps account though remains to be seen. They've already stopped new signups.

If Google pull this feature then I'll probably move to outlook.com

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Coat

This would have been fine if IMAP was a decent replacement for EAS - especially on mobile devices - but as we all know it isn't. Google themselves use several proprietary extensions on their IMAP servers to make their stuff work, so this "you can do essentially the same thing using open web protocols" (IMAP is a web protocol?) talk is a load of rubbish.

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FAIL

Yes. IMAP is a web protocol. It's a very efficient web protocol. With IMAP idle, supported by several IMAP servers and quite a few clients, you get 'push' email. For example, my phone connects to my Dovecot IMAP server and I get email notifications the moment they hit my inbox. CalDAV etc. are also widely supported on mobile devices. iPhones can do CalDAV. CardDAV is for contacts, it's less widely used but I think the the iPhone does them.

So you *can* do essentially the same thing using open protocols. I can prove this by doing essentially the same thing with open protocols.

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Facepalm

Very annoying

This is a shame as it was a really great workaround for copying contacts between smartphones. I work for a mobile telco in tech support and have used this option many times to help sustomers migrate too and from IPhones as an easy way to get the contacts off the phone.

As far as I remember if you set the GMail account up on the IPhone as Gmail and not exchange it doesnt give the option to also add contacts and calendars - anyone fancy checking this for me, because I think that google might be well aware of this fact also!!

As I said...annoying -esp. as I will now have to migrate my contacts to outlook.com as a backup measure too

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"beautiful, useful products that improve millions of people's lives"

and advertising.

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"The download link for the Google Calendar Sync plug-in for Microsoft Outlook was removed on Friday."

Maybe there's another way to sync my Outlook (Office 2010) calendar with my Google one - but I don't know it and any other reasonably knowledgable user ( i.e. who knows enough to set that up) is well stuffed.

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The obvious answer is to spend £2.82+VAT per month on an MS hosted Exchange account.. not free, but not expensive. Is that what Google want us to do?

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Thumb Up

Outlook.com will also let you setup an account with your own domain, basically what "Hotmail for Domains" was (Pretty sure it was called that).

I put a client onto Exchange Online for a few quid a month recently, as he didn't need all the features of Office 365. It's really cheap as you say.

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I guess my Google calendar is the one I use least. It was useful to sync calendars to my alternative computers, but I can live without it. Bye Bye Google calendars.

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Syncing Outlook and Google calendars still possible

The gSyncIt software still works after Google's changes - it allows you to sync Outlook's calendar and contacts with those held in your Gmail / Google Apps account. It's easy and straightforward to use.

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