What's happening with Google contact and calendar syncing on Windows Phone 8

What's happening with Google contact and calendar syncing on Windows Phone 8

Summary: The Microsoft-Google dance over Google calendar and contact syncing for Windows Phone users just got a little more complicated.


Microsoft is in the midst of rolling out its General Distribution Release 2 (GDR2) update to its Windows Phone 8 operating system. One of the promised features in that release is support for Google's CalDAV and CardDAV protocols for syncing Google contacts and calendars.

Seemingly because not all Windows Phone 8 users have received the GDR2 update yet, Microsoft and Google have come to an agreement that will provide air cover for Windows Phone users setting up new Google calendar and contact synchronization.


Google has agreed to extend its support of Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol from July 31 to December 31, according to The Verge (citing a Microsoft spokesperson).  

I've asked Microsoft whether CalDAV and CardDAV support actually made it into GDR2, which is officially known as 8.0.10327.77 or 8.0.10328.78 (with version numbers depending on phone model and carrier). I asked because Microsoft doesn't call out CalDAV/CardDAV support on the list of features in the GDR2 update. No word back yet. (Note: Microsoft added a mention of CalDAV and CardDAV support to its Windows Phone 8 Update history page on or around August 7.)

Update: A couple of readers who have GDR2 have noted that CalDAV/CardDAV support is, indeed, part of the update. Here's some proof.

Update 2: Microsoft also confirmed GDR2 does include CalDAV/CardDAV, even though the Windows Phone Update site doesn't mention these features. A spokesperson provided me with the same statement Microsoft is giving others about the extension of the cut-off deadline with Google: "We’ve reached an agreement with Google to extend support for new Windows Phone connections to the Google Sync service through December 31, 2013."

Update 3: The key word here, it's worth noting is "new." This date extension is relevant only for new Windows Phone connections to Google Sync. For Windows Phone users with existing Google Sync connections, it's business as usual. Windows Phone users who already have Google Synhc connections are able to connect to Google calendar and contacts even without the Google CalDAV and CardDAV support in GDR2, and will continue to be able to do so after December 31, 2013. The just-announced extension is for Windows Phone users who've bought new phones and are looking to sign into Google Sync for the first time.

The next Windows Phone 8 OS update is GDR 3. GDR3 allegedly is targeted to arrive this fall. This OS update allegedly will add support for five- to six-inch devices with 1080p support. Along with the higher resolution, GDR3 also could include changes in the start screen and core Windows Phone 8 apps, such as possibly adding a third column of mid-size-tiled apps in the start screen. 

The Microsoft-Google dance over CalDAV and CardDAV support has been a complicated one.

At the end of January 2013, Microsoft and Google came to a last-minute agreement to extend Google's support of Google Sync, which is built on Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync, until July 31 -- instead of terminating it by the end of January, 2013, as previously announced. In the interim, Microsoft would build support into the Windows Phone operating system for CalDAV and CardDAV, the Google calendar and contacts sync protocols, the companies announced.

But then in March, Google announced CalDAV API support was being discontinued on September 16, 2013, with the Google Calendar API becoming the CalDAV replacement. However, according to Google's blog post on the topic, some unnamed "whitelisted" developers would be able to continue to use CalDAV. Microsoft is one of those on the white list.

While the Windows Phone team is working on supporting CardDAV and CalDAV, the Windows team announced it would not add CardDAV or CalDAV support for users who are trying to connect to a Google account via Mail/Calendar/People after January 30, 2013. Here's Microsoft's guidance as to how these users can sync their Google accounts with Windows 8 and Windows RT.

Topics: Windows Phone, Collaboration, Google, Microsoft


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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  • A good time to bail

    Looks like a good time to bail on gmail. Switching accounts over to my outlook.com address in 3 - 2 - 1 ...
    • Indeed

      I already did and I am much happier. Outlook.com just seems to work better.
      • Well, good luck...

        ...getting your email delivered - i had more than few problems with Hotmail/Outlook blocking emails from legit sources. I'm not talking about emails in Junk folder - a lot just being dropped, silently, even if i whitelist the source.
        Now - think about it: what if you don't get an electronic bill from your bank, CC, utility?

        Oh - and just one mailing list email that's dropped silently: samba mailing lists... Now - i wonder what would antitrust people in US and EU say about that?
        • Master Joe Says...Not Me

          Not sure if anyone but you is having this issue, but I can't say I have. I've been using Outlook.com exclusively for amount 4 months now, and I've yet to not receive an e-mail. In fact, I've slowly closed all of my Google services, and I'll completely disable my account this weekend, when I have time to finish that off. I have been using my WP8 device and Windows Live Mail on my PC and the Windows 8 Mail app on my Surface Pro to check my e-mail, without experiencing any issues.

          --Master Joe
        • probably nothing since it probably wasn't

          Hotmail/Outlook that dropped it. I've used hotmail since before MS bought it and it's worked great. The only problems I ever had were from the pre MS era. Not a single problem since and that's been a lot of years. I've had more Gmail problems in the last 18-24 months than ever with hotmail be a factor of about 4.
          Johnny Vegas
      • Suggestions on migration?

        I know there are services that help migrate multiple Google Apps for Business accounts. Any suggestions on services / approaches to migrating?
        Bob Tabor
  • I said this before...

    ...when the news was announced, but I love how Google takes a licensed industry standard and switches to an open source industry standard only to abandon it in favor of a customized, closed source customization of that standard and then **barely** offers to play nice with others. This is the same behavior that got Microsoft in really hot water with many regulators.

    I guess it's true... some people never learn from history.
    • You need to read more history

      • Wishy washy

        I still feel I can't trust Google in the future, as much reason as they've given me not to trust them all ready. Wishy washy and all around poorly run. Being the biggest only means you've managed to lure more people to your product, it doesn't make it better. In Google's case, anything but their product is better anyway.
  • What's happening with Google contact and calendar syncing on Windows Phone

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around why anyone with a Microsoft Windows Phone is still using Google contacts and calendars. They are a rare breed. Everyone else I know with Microsoft Windows Phone ditched Google.
    • Those that have work accounts on Google

      My company moved to Google Apps after the State of Wyoming moved to them. I only connect the company account to my phone.
    • Personal and Work Email Accounts

      Similar to grayknight's situation, my wife's business uses GMail accounts, so she has to maintains that as an additional account on her Windows Phone (well, she doesn't HAVE to, but it helps her to be able to do so.)
    • your masters disagree

      Apparently, Microsoft pledged Google to keep the service until the end of the year. So it seems many users of Windows Phone do indeed use Google services and Microsoft knows this.

      The world is multi platform and anyone who cannot understand this deserves their fate.
    • Rainlendar sync

      For example, I use nice desktop Rainlendar Pro synced to google calendar (there are more options but this one integrated well with WP by adding google account - calendar items are synced as usual, I receive notifications, alarms, etc ...)
  • CalDev & CardDev are not going away


    Google announced in June that they weren't being discontinued based on feedback:

  • Feels like the customer is losing here

    I hope this isn't as silly as it seems.
  • There is NO way to sync Google Calendar with Windows 8 or Windows RT!

    Unless you're using the old version of the Windows 8 Calendar app, you can't downgrade either and of course if you want Windows 8.1 you'll lose access anyway.

    December 2013 - All the more reason to be angry at the Windows Team for booting off existing active users from accessing Google Calendar on Windows 8 after they upgraded the Windows 8 Mail/Calendar/People apps a few months back.

    It worked perfectly fine before the Calendar upgrade and NO warning was given the update totally removes Google Sync (i.e- EAS) support. I'd NEVER have upgraded Windows 8 Mail/Calendar/People apps if I'd known.

    The instructions in that link on how to show Google Calender events since upgrading to the latest Windows 8 Calendar app are bordering on insulting.

    Export them and use Outlook.com calendar instead. Are you for real?
    • Windows 8 sync

      bradavon, you took the words right out of my mouth. The "solution" to syncing your Google calendar to the Mail app is exporting to Outlook.com first - well... that doesn't exactly sync anything. Oh, and just have people send the updates to your Outlook address... kinda misses the point, doesn't it.

      I agree, MS ought to at least add CalDAV support to the Calendar app.

      Mary Jo, help?
  • We're still going to lose Gmail Push E-Mail support

    The best we're left with on iOS and Windows Phone is IMAP, which doesn't support Push (at least not properly/is supported).
    • I thought gmail supports...

      ...IMAP IDLE - are you telling me they don't? Because if they do than problem is with email client not supporting it (meaning MS, Apple, etc.)