Gmail users with a Windows Phone: you’ve got some good news. Google will be extending support for Google Sync through July 31, according to a Microsoft blog post. The service allows Gmail to be used on mobile devices through Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol, enabling support for multiple Gmail calendars and push email on smartphones and tablets. In December, Google said it would drop EAS support by today, Jan. 31.
The support extension is a boon for Microsoft because it without EAS support in Gmail, any Windows Phone users with Gmail accounts would experience a far more limiting experience for mail, calendar events and contact management.
Why is Google even dropping EAS support? For starters, it’s not free: Google — or any company that wants to use Exchange ActiveSync — pays a licensing fee to Microsoft. That’s not the primary reason though, else Google would cease all Sync support. Instead, it will still provide it to Google Apps for Business, Government and Education users.
Google does, however, use the IMAP mail protocol, CalDAV for calendar information and CardDAV for contacts. This trio provides much of the same support currently available through EAS but through a non-company standard; these are more open protocols used on the web. The extra time for Sync allows Microsoft to rework its mail client with these three protocols so that Gmail users on Windows Phone won’t see a service disruption.
Also of note: I noticed in passing the BlackBerry Z10 handset that runs BlackBerry 10 already supports IMAP, CalDav and CardDAV, in addition to the standard Gmail account setup. That means Gmail users considering a new BlackBerry don’t even have to worry about Google Sync.