Updates to the new Windows 8 apps: What Google users should know

Updates to the new Windows 8 apps: What Google users should know

Summary: If you're a Google user who also happens to use Windows 8 and/or Windows RT, here's the latest on what you need to know if you want to sync your accounts.


Since yesterday, when Microsoft began rolling out its Mail, Calendar and People application updates for Windows 8 and Windows RT, I've gotten a lot of questions about what's going on with Google calendar and Gmail synchronization.


In late January, the Windows team acknowledged that it planned to make changes as to how Microsoft-Google synchronization was handled. The reason? Google is dropping Exchange ActiveSync support (for all but its paying Google Apps customers). Unlike the Windows Phone team, which opted to support CalDAV and CardDAV -- which were Google's preferred syncing protocols at least until recently -- the Windows team drew a line in the sand.

That line, as originally stated by the team was January 30. The team said those who had connected their Google accounts to Windows PCs before January 30 would be fine. The exact statement:

"If you've already connected your Google account to your PC using the Mail, People, or Calendar apps, this change doesn’t affect you at all. Your email, calendar, and contacts will continue to sync properly."

But it appears the reality is more complicated. The Verge noted prominetly yesterday that Google calendar sync was disabled with the latest app update releases. And, indeed, that's the case.

With the new set of Mail/Calendar/People updates, Microsoft is switching all syncrhonization of Gmail accounts to IMAP. The "official" statement, provided to me on March 26 via a spokesperson, is: "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."

Some time between last night and this morning, Microsoft officials added a new set of instructions to the sync page for those installing the new Mail, Calendar and People updates. It says:

"To sync your email and contacts, you’ll need to remove your existing Google accounts and reconnect them. It’s important to note that if you have more than one Google account, you can only get your contacts for one account. And you'll no longer be able to sync your Google calendar with the Calendar app."

There are detailed instructions that follow about how those with the app updates should go about syncing their mail and contacts with their Google accounts.

A spokesperson confirmed that Calendar won't update with Google information, even for existing connections, once a user moves to the updated Windows 8/Windows RT Calendar app. IMAP is an email-only protocol, so I guess this shouldn't be too surprising. But I don't think the Softies made this plan as clear as they perhaps should have back in January.

Topics: Windows 8, Google, Microsoft, Microsoft Surface


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Updates to the new Windows 8 apps: What Google users should know

    Just another example of why everyone should avoid Windows 8 totally............what a mess
    Over and Out
    • Although I do hope...

      that Microsoft extends the existing apps to (somehow) work with Google's mail/calendar apps - for the sake of those people that use Google's apps (personally, I use Office 365) - I'm not holding my breath.

      Also, from my point of view, if I wanted to base my OS on the features that Google either does, or does not provide, I would likely move toward Chrome OS and stay away from any version of Windows. However, I am not a huge fan of Google (used to be, not any more) so Windows 8 is suiting my needs just fine :-)
    • Well Google Gets What

      "It" created, more unhappy customers. They should not have dropped EAS so rapidly, they should have worked with Microsoft much earlier.

      Maybe Google thinks of gMail as a beta product still?
      • Wow

        Love my job, since I've been bringing in $5600… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I'm making it online.(Click Home information)
    • actually

      google was the one who removed exchange activesync support
    • googles flaw

      its time to blame google here
    • Huh?

      Google decided to drop their support, and somehow this is Microsoft's fault.
      Michael Alan Goff
    • Updates to the new Windows 8 apps: What Google users should know

      Just another example of why everyone should avoid you totally............you're a mess
      William Farrel
    • You don't call youselft linuxgeek anymore?

      You do this a life, you always comment the first and change name after a few days. What a garbage bag are you?

      I am hugely surprised that you are not banned.

      MJ, please ban this guy. He's got 7 flag already.
    • Not sure why this would be a reason

      To avoid Windows 8. windows 7 for instance does not even come with a mail client. Not to mention that there are dozens of mail clients available for both operating systems that will sync the calendar from Google.
      • Not *Quite* true

        Sjaak - Windows RT does NOT have "dozens of mail clients available". You're forgetting the ARM version. Your choices until recently were basically the mail app included only. TRUE, there now exists a GMAIL app in the store, but it is woeful v1.0 software at best. Simple things like the delete button scrolling off the top of the screen as you're moving down your inbox make this a no choice for me.

        What I don't understand is the everything or nothing approach. We use Google Apps, which means there's no changes to our synchronizing protocol at all. Yet Microsoft have just now decided to cut everyone off, regardless of whether we have the ability or not (I do).

        Sounds like the sulking child in the corner to me. If they really think this means I'm switching to Office 365 or other hosted exchange, they STILL after all these years don't get it.

        I originally bought in to Google because it works on EVERYTHING, and has since I started using it in 2011. Android, iPhone, Outlook, Windows 8 all just worked with native clients perfectly with Google Apps.

        Now that Microsoft and Google do not want to play any more, I'll be weighing up my options before paying my next yearly subscription.

        Oh, and Google still have not updated their sync software to use with Outlook 2013, so they're just as bad in my opinion.

        It's like Google and Microsoft have both decided they do not want customers any more. Strange decisions. This is not the way to move forward.
    • Or avoid Google totally

      'nuff said.
    • Nothing better than an biassed opinion, eh?

      Nothing wrong with Microsoft's own solutions. The problem is firmly at Google's door.
    • It's Google not MS

      It's Google fault here not MS and your just a hater, no one likes a hater.
    • Inquiring Minds Would Like To Know

      How is this Microsoft's fault?
    • LOL!

      Let's establish the facts. Google dropped support for EAS because they said it was proprietary. They said they support CalDAV and CardDav. Then a few weeks later, they dropped support for open syncing protocols CalDAV and CardDAV. What are they pushing developers to? A proprietary protocol named Google API.

      That's the problem.
    • Seriously?

      You are aware that this is all Google's doing, right ?
      Youssef Samir
    • Yeah, Microsoft runs Google too

      You see, the reason Google changed their public APIs was that Microsoft forced them to do so so that Microsoft could cripple their apps for Google users. This had nothing to do with Google being azzh*les and dropping yet another product/API people have become reliant on.

      Seriously dude, you need to lay off the drugs.
    • comments having no base

      have you even used windows 8
      Govind nelika
  • Maybe Unclear?

    I think the message from MSFT about gmail is quite clear - not the best option for Windows users particularly with Outlook.com being a superior solution.