As part of their "Winter Cleanup", Google announced today that they'll be deprecating support for Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts over Exchange ActiveSync, or GoogleSync as they call it. According to Google:
Google Sync was designed to allow access to Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts via the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync® protocol. With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols. Starting January 30, 2013, consumers won't be able to set up new devices using Google Sync; however, existing Google Sync connections will continue to function. Google Sync will continue to be fully supported for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. Users of those products are unaffected by this announcement.
Apple led the development of the open source CalDAV and CardDAV protocols, expressly to be alternatives to Microsoft's Exchange dominance. I don't sync Google Contacts, or use them at all because I've historically found them to be both overly promiscuous (they continually fill with junk I didn't explicitly add) and unreliable. I do sync Gmail and Google Calendar, however, and so I'm not looking forward to not being able to add them via ActiveSync on future devices.
That's entirely because Google's IMAP service has always been shoddy. It throws up "exceeded bandwidth" and "too many simultaneous connection" errors that are downright embarrassing coming from the world's largest Internet company.
I have both a Google Apps account for work, and a Gmail account for personal use, so it looks like I'll get to keep EAS support on one of them but not the other, which creates a very inconsistent user experience.
I love the new Gmail app, but I prefer having all my email in one, unified app. I want to see everything in my inbox all at once. And as a user, I shouldn't have to care which pipe my communications are coming through, they should just show up in my interface. Having to go to separate app just for Gmail breaks that experience as well.
Overall, this feels like Apple ditching Google data from iOS 6 Maps, but at an even more problematic level: Microsoft can't just release an app of their own to fix it.