Nothing was as controversial as Google's announcement that it would shut down its iGoogle service in 2013. But iGoogle is just one of the many Google services, some publicly available like iGoogle, others in the form of APIs for developers, that the company decided to shut down in the past year. Other noteworthy Google services that were axed were Knol, an attempt to compete directly with Wikipedia, or Buzz, the company's first attempt at creating a social networking site.
Today Google VP of Engineering Venkat Panchapakesan announced the closure of additional services the company does not want to maintain anymore. Probably the most important one of those is Google Sync, a data synchronization service to sync Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts via Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync protocol.
Google notes that starting January 30, 2013, users won't be able to set up new devices using Google Sync, but that remaining connections will keep functioning, and that the service will be fully supported for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education. What this means is that Google Sync will work like before for those users, while everyone else will be affected by the upcoming change. Google's suggestion is to use CardDav, CalDav and IMAP instead to synchronize data between devices.
Google Calendar Sync and Google Sync for Nokia S60 will also be discontinued from today on. The contacts sync service SyncML will be discontinued on January 30, 2013.
Several Google Calendar features are shut down as well. This affects Appointment Slots which won't let you create new reservable times on your Calendar anymore starting January 4, 2013 while existing slots will continue to work for another year. Google is also retiring the Calendar Labs features Smart Rescheduler and Add Gadget by URL, as well as the U.S.-only Check your calendar via SMS and Create event via SMS (GVENT) which will be discontinued today.
The Punchd app will be discontinued as an Android and iOS application from June 7, 2013 on.
Developers should take note that Google will also shut down the Issue Trakcer API on June 14, 2013.
Another batch of services that gets removed by Google. While there seem to be alternatives available for most applications that get discontinued, it shows that Google is continuing its efforts to remove non-profitable apps and services from the company's portfolio.
Are you affected by the move?
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.