Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
3/28/2013
03:55 PM
Larry Seltzer
Larry Seltzer
Commentary
Connect Directly
Twitter
Facebook
Google+
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Gmail Users Cut Off in Windows 8

The new Calendar and Contacts apps in Windows 8 will not synchronize with Google at all, and Google email is limited to IMAP from now on. Google users will probably have to use the browser versions because Google has no plans to write Windows 8 apps.

Gmail and Google Apps customers will have a severely-downgraded experience on Windows 8 thanks to a protocol spat between Microsoft and Google.

This past December Google announced the sunset of support for a variety of interfaces to its email and other services, including Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS). Google plans to continue support for existing connections established over EAS, but would no longer support new ones, unless the Google account was a paying Google Apps account, rather than a free Gmail account.

The new version of Windows Mail released earlier this week supports only IMAP for Google accounts. The Calendar and Contacts apps do not support CalDAV or CardDAV, the open standards supported by Google for calendar and contacts synchronization. Therefore, the Windows 8 apps have no way of synching with Google. Microsoft hasn't said so, but I would expect similar updates for Windows Phone soon.

Just to be clear about this, the new apps are locking out even the Google users for whom Google will still support EAS, as I discovered this week when I tried to set up a new Windows 8 tablet using my paid Google Apps domain: The new apps won't even try to set up EAS if the server domain is google.com.

When I tried to set up my system for EAS I got an error: "This account can't be connected using ActiveSync," even when I knew I was using the correct values. I suspected that Microsoft was blacklisting google.com from all EAS and asked Microsoft. A Microsoft spokesperson replied:

In light of Google's decision to change its support for EAS, we are now using IMAP for those customers that wish to connect their Gmail accounts. More information on how to synchronize Google services on your Windows or Windows RT device is available here.
And it's even worse than it seems: Because contacts don't sync, the fact that you have IMAP email is of no value. An email program without contacts isn't very useful.

Of course, going this far was not necessary. It should have been fairly easy for Microsoft to try the EAS connection and, if it failed, report an error. Perhaps they could even report an error that noted that Google had removed support for EAS for some of its accounts and directed the users to instructions.

But doubtless many paying Google customers, free or otherwise, will want to use Windows 8. Google has made clear that it has no plans to write apps for Windows 8 (or Windows Phone), so Google users will be stuck using browser access to Google services.

It's hard to read this as anything other than payback for Google's withdrawal of EAS support. Google's options are now to:

  1. Ride out the storm, perhaps hoping that users will choose Chromebooks instead (and not move to Outlook.com or other alternatives)
  2. Reconsider its EAS policies (this would only make sense if Microsoft agreed to put EAS support for Google back in to the Windows 8 apps)
  3. Write Windows 8 (and maybe Windows Phone) apps
Microsoft, on the other hand, no doubt sees this as an opportunity to sell Office 365 and Outlook.com.

What will Google do? What should it do? You tell me. My money says Google rides it out for a while and then "discovers" customer interest for Windows 8 versions of its apps.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
anon6610309129
50%
50%
anon6610309129,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/28/2014 | 5:25:28 AM
Free Browser Tech Support
For Free Browser Tech Support Contact Us: 1-800-935-0537
http://computertechsupport.us/
ElenaG586
50%
50%
ElenaG586,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/11/2013 | 9:26:27 AM
re: Gmail Users Cut Off in Windows 8
You can manage your contacts with GlipMe, then feed Win8 and GMail automatically from GlipMe's data. Simpler...
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest - August 20, 2014
CIOs need people who know the ins and outs of cloud software stacks and security, and, most of all, can break through cultural resistance.
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.