Google does some ‘winter cleaning’, retires features and services you may or may not miss


Google is doing some winter cleaning, according to its official blog, but instead of snow, we have features and services being swept. Perhaps the most notable casualty of the bunch being shut down is Google Sync, a service that allowed users to sync Google’s Mail, Contacts and Calendar through Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync protocol. iPhone users in particular use this feature to sync their mail to iOS’s native mail app, and interested users should take notice. Google probably doesn’t mind so much, as they would probably prefer that you download their newly redesigned Gmail app anyway. You will no longer be able to sign up for new accounts beginning January 30 of next year, but existing users along with Google Apps for Business, Education and Government users should be in the clear.

The rest of the shutdowns involve some very specific and likely obscure calendar-related features, such as setting up events through SMS. Punchd, an app that allows you to keep loyalty punchcards on your phone is also on the chopping block.

One thing I have to say about these changes is that as long as Google Reader isn’t being touched, I’m happy. Because the day its part of Google’s ‘winter cleaning’ is the day I leave the Internet!

Are any of you affected by these changes? Let us know in the comments!

[via Official Google Blog, image via Rex Roof]

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  • Bruce

    Google joins the “Thumb the Nose at the Competition” crowd. Do no harm?

    They cut off Calendar Sync almost immediately, and that was the service I found most useful, keeping our calendars in sync among the PC, 2 iPads, an Android tablet, and an iPod. Any news on workarounds? I’ve heard that there are a few out there.

  • AFPhys

    @Col. Panek:
    Yeah – here in the NE of the US it is still pretty nice. Seems a lot like 1947 and 1948 to me… when the ground around these parts never did freeze and farmers were plowing during the whole year!

    I’m glad we’re finally getting warm enough to get back to the temperatures we were over 60 years ago :)

  • Larry Truitt

    “You will no longer be able to sign up for new accounts beginning January 30 of next year,”

    Does this mean that current users can’t add accounts?

    So if I wanted to set up 3 additional gmail accounts after January 30th, I wouldnt be able to do it?

    Or am I just confused on this?

  • Col. Panek

    Is that a picture of Googletown- Mountain View, CA? Things are still green here in central NY, and it’s almost Christmas. Thank you, Al Gore.

  • Frank D

    Yes, Google Reader is a must-have!

  • Tom

    Any word on whether Gmail Phone Call feature will extend free U.S./Canada calling through 2013?