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Google Nixes Some Calendar Features and Other Software Offerings 235

Posted by timothy
from the this-cloud-is-certainly-substantial dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google on Friday announced it is shutting down a slew of features and services as part of its winter cleaning. Google Calendar will be losing a few features, Google Sync will be axed (on the consumer side), as will Google Calendar Sync, SyncML, the Issue Tracker Data API, and the Punchd app."
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Google Nixes Some Calendar Features and Other Software Offerings

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  • by alen (225700) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:08PM (#42296813)

    I hate it
    iOS and android, I hate both versions

    Might use yahoo again

    • by MBCook (132727)
      Is IMAP really so bad?
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yes because IMAP doesn't have push. Firing up the radios on a phone to poll some server every 15 minutes is a giant waste of battery. Exchange ActiveSync does have push support, so killing EAS is a major step backwards for anyone using gmail on a non-google device. I'll be switching my email to outlook.com because of this.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          1) They are not 'killing EAS'. Google Sync was for accessing Google products via MS protocols -- which is ridiculous.
          2) IMAP has a push [wikipedia.org], it's just not enabled/provided by most IMAP providers
          3) Gmail has push in their own app for iOS and Android.
          4) If you're using WP8.... well, that's your own damn fault :P

        • Yes because IMAP doesn't have push.

          It doesn't? [wikipedia.org]

          Client support is a bit spotty (iOS Mail.app didn't support it, stock Android client doesn't either, alternatives like k9mail do), but that doesn't mean it's not there.

        • by BitZtream (692029) on Friday December 14, 2012 @11:11PM (#42298639)

          IMAP has had push since before Gmail existed, and I've been using it since then ... and GMail supports IMAP NOTIFY (the IDLE command).

        • by Bert64 (520050) <bert@s[ ]hdot.fi ... m ['las' in gap]> on Saturday December 15, 2012 @05:27AM (#42300177) Homepage

          IMAP does have a push system, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMAP_IDLE [wikipedia.org] and there is also something called P-IMAP although that is far less widely supported.

          Activesync works in much the same way, it sends a sleep request and the server then doesn't respond until it has some data to send.

    • by Jesse_vd (821123)

      Have you tried them in the last week? They redid the whole app and it's pretty awesome now, multiple accounts and everything.

  • Who cares (Score:4, Informative)

    by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:19PM (#42296927) Homepage
    I prefer to use rackspace. For $3 a month I can get quality email and mobile syncing of calendars, contacts, etc and without the data snooping and surprises of shit just disappearing when Google feels like it.

    Yes it costs money but if you can't afford $3 a month then stick with the data snoop or consider getting a job.
    • by Rakishi (759894)

      That's BS:
      a) There's a minimum of $10/month
      b) The non-exchange version doesn't have mobile syncing of calenders (according to the rackspace website)

      • That's not true. I know for a fact that you can spend less than $10 because I am doing just that and I'm pretty certain that includes calendars but I'll have to create a calendar on my account and see what happens.

        Perhaps they treat some countries differently or they have a very similar service but I can definitely say with certainty that there is no $10 minimum.
    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Shit will just disappear when Rackspace feels like it.

      You're rather silly to think Rackspace is going to keep providing it when its not profitable. They are no different than Google.

    • by jopsen (885607)

      I prefer to use rackspace. For $3 a month...

      Are they as stable as gmail?
      I have dreamhost, but I don't use their email... At the end of the day, I'm pretty sure that even if bought a VPS and put my mind to it... I couldn't host my email as reliable as gmail.

      • Re:Who cares (Score:4, Interesting)

        by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @07:43AM (#42300617) Homepage
        I've never noticed an issue with it. But there are other options too like fastmail (I think that's $35 a year) which anyone I know who has used it can't complain. I get less spam on my non-gmail accounts but I'm not going to say that's because they're necessarily better. It's porbably due to me using my own domain which you have to know about where as with gmail you can pretty much send email to @gmail.com and hit a valid address so I'll admit google has a harder job I would imagine.

        Fastmail might be the best option. They only do email so they're not likely to remove much unless they're going under. Though while they do only do email, they were bought by opera not that I've heard that's made much difference. I considered trying them myself but rackspace hasn't been a problem so I'm not sure I should change just for the sake of it. Email is so such a standard thing though I think it's easy to find decent cheap options and if someone does decide to charge for it they hopefully realise it's too competitive to offer a subpar service so they should hopefully not to that.
      • by green1 (322787)

        At a certain point, more reliability doesn't really help any more. I host my own email, on a VPS, is it as reliable as gmail? no. has it ever gone down? yes. has it ever been down long enough that anyone has got a bounce message ? I don't think so. And that's really what counts. it's "good enough" even if not perfect.

        Once something passes the "good enough" threshold, it doesn't matter how much more reliablie it is than that, and the way the email protocols work, a few minutes of downtime here and there just

      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        I have dreamhost, but I don't use their email... At the end of the day, I'm pretty sure that even if bought a VPS and put my mind to it... I couldn't host my email as reliable as gmail.

        My VPS on Hetzner has been more reliable than a Google Apps account I manage.

        According to my setup on Pingdom, my VPS has had zero downtime according to the authenticated SMTP check (fires off every minute), meanwhile Google Apps has refused logins this year 261 times.

    • If its so low bandwidth that your ISP doesn't care, just host at home on a VM for nothing. Its exactly what i do

      Sure many complain about running 'servers' on a home account but if its for your personal use and not pushing TB's a month, i dont think any will care.

      • by green1 (322787)

        That would be fine for callendar sync but don't try it with email, it's just asking for trouble. Many messages to other people will fall afoul of all sorts of spam filters, and your ISP is likely to outright block the port anyway. I did that years ago, and my connection was actually a "business" connection where I was allowed to run servers, unfortunately most spam blacklists still decided my IP was "residential" so half my email messages to people never got there. After moving to a residential connection

        • by nurb432 (527695)

          Myself, i have a 'host' that does the mail collection so i dont run into that problem, but i still run the actual storage of my data at home. Best of both worlds, as i have my stuff available everywhere ( including file storage ) but im not trusting anyone else to keep it safe.

  • Carddav/caldav? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ilsaloving (1534307) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:25PM (#42296991)

    Does this mean Android will FINALLY have decent out of the box carddav/caldav support?

    That's one of the biggest things that I've preferred iOS to Android. That, and the stupid way applications are stored on the system partition so you 'run out of free space' despite having gigabytes free.

    • Re:Carddav/caldav? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Qwavel (733416) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:29PM (#42297031)

      Whether they are better yet, I'm not sure, but Yes, they have indicated that they want people using CardDAV/CalDav instead of Exchange.

      Not too surprising, given that they have to pay MS for Exchange licensing, but I don't think these open protocols have the push support that Exchange had.

    • Re:Carddav/caldav? (Score:4, Informative)

      by LordLucless (582312) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:37PM (#42297123)

      That's one of the biggest things that I've preferred iOS to Android. That, and the stupid way applications are stored on the system partition so you 'run out of free space' despite having gigabytes free.

      That was changed with the release of ICS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      There are two apps that deal with this beautifully: carddavsync and caldav sync. Both by Martin Gnadja, both about $3. It's the best money I ever spent - sign up for a calendar/addressbook account at fruux.com and you are totally free of both Apple and Google, syncing data using open protocols. Feels pretty good, actually.

  • Calendar sync? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Obfuscant (592200)
    So, does this mean that the only valuable feature of Google I've found so far is going to stop today? That's the ability to sync all my Android device calendars through my gmail account. Gone? I won't be able to enter an appointment on my tablet and have it show up on my phone?
    • Re:Calendar sync? (Score:5, Informative)

      by LordLucless (582312) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:43PM (#42297171)

      Not unless you're using Exchange to do it:

      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.

      GoogleSync and GoogleCalendarSync are Google's implementation of ActiveSync; they're not used to describe the general syncing features Google offers. This announcement is basically saying they're retiring a proprietary protocol in favour of open standards.

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      You should have been running your own private server with an encrypted VPN. Google is shit and getting shittier. Depending on these monetizing crack babies is not rational.

      Yes there is a feeble offering for a linux box that will do all that and more. Try freecode or wait for the fanbois in 3...2...1...

    • So, does this mean that the only valuable feature of Google I've found so far is going to stop today? That's the ability to sync all my Android device calendars through my gmail account. Gone? I won't be able to enter an appointment on my tablet and have it show up on my phone?

      From TFA's link to Google's statements:

      "What do I need to do if I’m already using Google Sync?

      Nothing! Existing users can continue to use Google Sync on their current devices.

      Starting January 30, 2013, users, other than paid Google Apps users, won't be able to set up new devices using Google Sync and should see our sync site [google.com] for instructions. You can also consult with your device carrier or manufacturer for how they recommend to sync with Gmail, Google Calendar, and Contacts. Google Apps for Business,

  • New features (Score:5, Insightful)

    by openfrog (897716) on Friday December 14, 2012 @07:32PM (#42297069)

    On other news sites, I read that Google today announces 18 new features. http://googleblog.blogspot.ca/2012/12/google-communities-and-photos.html [blogspot.ca] etc.
    And here: http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/14/google-gives-google-end-of-year-update-adds-low-bandwidth-hangouts-full-size-mobile-photo-backups-better-event-planning-animated-gifs-and-more/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+(TechCrunch)&source=email_rt_mc_body&ifp=0 [techcrunch.com]

    Just Google it...

    But on Slashdot, I read that drivel coming right out of Burston-Marsteller, or some other PR drone.

    This is supposed to be a technology forum but somehow, some Slashdot editors perhaps seem to think that this is 'provoking' material, in the good sense of being humorous and driving up the number of comments?

    But at what price? At what price, just in terms of credibility, for a beginning?

    Could someone answer that?

    • On other news sites, I read that Google today announces 18 new features.

      All those new "features" are just additional Google+ cruft, and are of little interest to most people.

      Basically Google appears to be hellbent on getting their foundering social platform going, and is pulling people off other - arguably more useful - projects in an attempt to somehow accomplish this.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by houghi (78078)

      What 'provoking' material are you talking about? Are they NOT closing down those things? They are closing down things. The fact that they are starting up other things is not relevant to those who are using the things that are being closed down.

      The fact that they open 2 new highways does not mean anything as I might never take them. The fact that they close down one that I take each day is of a much higher importance.

      Saying "But they opened two new ones" sounds more like PR talk that anything constructive. S

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday December 14, 2012 @08:39PM (#42297671)

    I am sad to see these go. Appointment slots have become increasingly useful in our department. We were getting ready to roll out a trial use of appointment slots to allow our students to self-reserve appointments with our department advisors... but now that's obviously not going to happen.

  • by sdsucks (1161899) on Friday December 14, 2012 @08:50PM (#42297745)

    No more push email for iOS (currently done via exchange)? That's the last reason I actually use any Google services.

    I've been moving away from Google for about a year now because I feel that they have turned form only partially evil to complete evil. Eliminating push email is the final trigger to get me to completely eliminate Google services from my life.

    Goodbye Google, and thanks for the years of services. Good luck with that G+ thing that you're pushing so hard. I'm sure someone likes it, since you've managed to alienate so many by forcing it upon us (and yes - I would say "forced" is adequate - the last gmail account I signed up for automatically had a G+ profile created...).

    • by kllrnohj (2626947)

      I've been moving away from Google for about a year now because I feel that they have turned form only partially evil to complete evil.

      Oh for fuck's sake, are you kidding? Not support a proprietary, Microsoft protocol and instead using open, free protocols is *EVIL* now?

      The only way you can trot this out in relation to "don't be evil" would be this is Google being *LESS* evil.

    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @12:12AM (#42298941)

      I feel that they have turned form only partially evil to complete evil. Eliminating push email is the final trigger to get me to completely eliminate Google services from my life.

      So in an effort to embrace and open standard and axe support for horrible proprietary crap from Microsoft you're now ditching them because they've become ... too evil?

      *slow clap*

      Please do us all a favour and stop moaning and just go and migrate to MobileMe, err I mean iWorks, err mean iCloud and I'm not even sure it's still iCloud I mean it has been out for like a year so I expect Apple to axe it in favour of the next incompatible proprietary crap soon.

    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @04:20AM (#42299933)

      There is an open standard for push support for email - IMAP IDLE. GMail implements it, as do most IMAP services, and a lot of IMAP clients. Microsoft's patented ActiveSync, designed for use with exchange/outlook, is also licenced by google both for client devices (android) and their servers, i.e. GMail/google apps, primarily so they can both connect to exchange as client, or serve up activesync for outlook clients. The server side is is now going away on their free personal gmail accounts - presumably because of the licencing fees for a not-often used service on their free version, as outlook also now supports IMAP IDLE.

      Apple supports IMAP IDLE on OSX in Mail, but not iOS. It does support ActiveSync, so iOS can connect to Exchange servers. But Apple not supporting IMAP IDLE is the exception, not the rule. They say it's too power hungry for mobile devices, which is partly true - but activesync works very similarly, and is a similar power drain, and they support that.

      Apple use their own method for iCloud I believe (which is why it fell foul of patent infringement in Germany, and had to turn off iCloud push support there).

      So you have various options. Use the Gmail app, and get push that way (I don't know what method google uses for the App). Forward your google mail to icloud, and use that, if you want to hang onto your gmail address. Use a 3rd party app to implement IMAP IDLE support (for example PushMail on the app store should do it, it's aimed at Sparrow but does support the native Mail app on iOS by the looks of it). Implementing a 3rd party solution on iOS is tricky, as you need it to run in the background since iOS doesn't include IDLE support natively, and that is restricted heavily on iOS, which is why I believe Sparrow never got IDLE support.

      But google was one of the very few services to implement activesync in the first place, apart from Exchange itself of course. If you want push email support, the standard is IMAP IDLE basically everywhere. So your complaint is that Google is dropping a patented, proprietary de-facto Microsoft standard for free accounts while keeping the open standard that Apple doesn't support on iOS, is to complain how evil Google is, and migrate to...?

      A closed proprietary standard by Apple that only works with their software - iCloud? (Let's hope they keep that one going longer than mobile.me or its predecessors)
      Another IMAP provider that provides IMAP IDLE support, but not Microsoft's activesync, leaving you in the same boat?
      A hosted Exchange account? (shudder)

      I'd suggest your actual problem is an insistence on using a client OS device that doesn't support open standards, and makes it very hard for 3rd party apps to do so.

  • Not just Series 60 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Echemus (49002) on Friday December 14, 2012 @09:57PM (#42298197)

    Turning off support for syncing Symbian/S60 devices will also cripple the non-Symbian devices that support Mail For Exchange; the N9, N900 and N950.

  • by pubwvj (1045960) on Saturday December 15, 2012 @07:04AM (#42300493)

    This is why I don't use cloud/web apps and specifically don't use Google products. If I'm using a tool to get my work done I don't want the maker suddenly yanking it or even features out from under me.

  • ...the cost to the user is reduced privacy. Instead of giving money to Google, you give a little bit of yourself. Google is primarily a data mining company -- they profit from the data they gather from watching the way you use their products and services by selling it to other people who are interested in knowing how you use those products and services. NB: They also have entered the appliance market with the Nexus brand, and are taking on other appliance makers like Apple. There are two reasons I can
  • I suppose this announcement kills the future continued usage of all of my WM6.x phones... no more wireless calendar sync for them (which is essential for me)...

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