At the last minute, Google extends Windows Phone calendar and contact syncing

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Google has shown mercy on Microsoft and Windows Phone users once again, extending its Google Sync reprieve. The move allows anyone with a Windows Phone device to set-up new connections for Google Calendar and Contacts using Google Sync until December 31—a key concession, because Microsoft only recently began rolling the open standard technology plans on using post-Sync to Windows Phones.

Beginning in 2014, only paid Google Apps accounts for enterprises and institutions will continue to have Sync support. All users with free Google accounts, meanwhile, will have to use the open CalDAV and CardDAV standards to set-up access to Google Calendar and Contacts on a Windows Phone.

The CalDav and CardDAV protocols allow client devices like phone to sync calendar and contacts data from Google’s servers, similar to Google Sync.

Windows Phone 8 update coming soon

Google’s deadline extension allows Microsoft more time to finishing rolling out the latest Windows Phone 8 update, dubbed general distribution release 2 (GDR2), with the required open CalDAV and CardDAV support. The six month delay of Sync's death lessens the odds of Windows Phones users being stranded sans both Sync and the GDR2 update.

Newer handsets such as theLumia 925,Lumia 1020, and HTC 8XT will come with GDR2 installed.

Long time coming

Google has been threatening to shut down Google Sync to free users for some time, but has continued to extend the deadline for Windows Phone. In December, Google said Sync would no longer be available to new phones as of January 30, 2013. Users who had existing connections would be able to continue using Sync; the move only affected people setting up new phones connected to free accounts.

But without CalDAV and CardDAV support built into Windows Phone, Microsoft was left scrambling to come up with a solution for its users. Google then showed mercy on its Redmond-based rival by extending the deadline for Sync’s demise until July 31. And just as Microsoft preps to roll out GDR2, Google has thrown Windows Phone users a bone once again.

By the time Google shuts down Sync access for new users in 2014, Microsoft will have had more than a year’s notice of the coming shift. So with exactly five months to go until Google Sync bites the dust for free users, Microsoft should have plenty of time to rollout GDR2 to all Windows Phone 8 users.

‘Frenemies’ for life

Microsoft's illicit WP8 YouTube app prompted closer collaboration with Google.

Typically cutthroat rivals, there appears to be a thawing in the relationship between Google and Microsoft in recent months. In addition to Google’s Sync mercy, the two companies in May agreed to work on a YouTube app for Windows Phone. The agreement followed a long struggle to get a usable YouTube app onto Microsoft’s mobile platform.

But the relationship is not perfect. Google in May complained about Microsoft’s unwillingness to open its chat standard so that other companies could incorporate Messenger (and now Skype) contacts into their clients. Google, by comparison, had allowed third-party chat clients to access Google Talk for years. At the same time Google was making that complaint about Microsoft, however, the search giant was working towards replacing Google Talk with Hangouts, a private chat architecture.

“[Hangouts] features are not supported by third-party clients because they aren’t standardized,” a Google spokesperson told TechHive/PCWorld in May . “We would not rule out working with third-party clients if we saw a strong desire to do so from other large messaging systems.”

Google’s doesn’t completely leave third-party clients out in the cold as users can still communicate via text-based chats with Hangouts accounts.

Meanwhile, Microsoft decided against including CalDAV and CardDAV support in its modern UI calendar app in Windows 8 earlier in 2013. That decision has left Windows RT and modern UI fans without a simple method to sync their Google contacts and calendar with their PC; however, Microsoft does offer a workaround on its support site.

So while Google and Microsoft were able to come to terms on YouTube and Google Sync for Windows Phone, this pair of frenemies continues to bicker on a number of other issues.

This story, "At the last minute, Google extends Windows Phone calendar and contact syncing" was originally published by TechHive.

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