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Google Communications

Google Calendar Ends SMS Notifications 101

LuserOnFire writes: Google has sent out an email this morning that says in part: "Starting on June 27th, 2015, SMS notifications from Google Calendar will no longer be sent. SMS notifications launched before smartphones were available. Now, in a world with smartphones and notifications, you can get richer, more reliable experience on your mobile device, even offline." You can find the announcement on Google's support pages as well. "Richer" may be accurate, but I'm not sure that "more reliable" describes web-based notifications; that may be why the announcement linked does not apply for Google's "Work, Education and Government customers."
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Google Calendar Ends SMS Notifications

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  • Except... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EmeraldBot ( 3513925 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @07:59PM (#49806965)

    "Mobile notifications" both never work for me and deliver exactly the same information. Furthermore, my smartphone is a far frailer device that I do not feel comfortable taking half way around the world with me, where's a Nokia 3310 is a very durable and reliable phone (I speak from experience on this matter). Trendy for Google to cripple their services I suppose...

    • User error. Also the mobile notifications link in with existing apps so you not only get the same info, but also related information like navigation and map links, traffic predictions etc.

      As for not wanting to take a smartphone overseas because of experience... what were you doing with it, deflecting bullets in Iran? Your smartphone isn't magically more frail overseas, and if you're that worried/clumsy then just buy a rugged phone. There are many smartphones on the market more durable than your 3310.

      • Gravity and friction are culturally biased =)

      • There are many smartphones on the market more durable than your 3310.

        There are?! Which smartphone can out-tank the Nokia?

        • My Kyocera Brigadier can take quite a beating. See some comparisons here: http://versus.com/en/2014/09/2... [versus.com]

          • by matfud ( 464184 )

            And the Nokia 3310 is free. I have a couple kicking around. So you really do not care if you lose them, get them stolen, break a floor with them.

            • Yeah not taking a phone at all is free too. Oh wait are we racing to the bottom or are we still talking about why you can't sync Google calendar to your device?

        • Unless you get all your data from internet meme's then pretty much every rugged smartphone on the market, and most smartphones with a simple ruggedised case can out-tank a Nokia.

          • I was looking for specifics primarily because I've never seen a smartphone with shattered glass that could truly, properly function afterwards. The Nokia, though, could keep on chugging even with half its buttons exposed and the screen spotted with holes. And no, I didn't get that from an internet meme.
      • by swb ( 14022 ) on Sunday May 31, 2015 @07:36AM (#49808593)

        1) Someone will always comment on their continued use and the superiority of an essentially obsolete Nokia handset, whether it is an older feature phone or an N900.

        2) A pissing match will take place between otherwise zealous technology advocates as to how little they pay for mobile service, often coupled with how little value they find in mobile data or contemporary smartphones.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A paper calendar is even more reliable, and you don't even need to charge it

  • Yes more reliable (Score:5, Informative)

    by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @08:06PM (#49806997)

    Smartphone based notifications are not web based. The idea is that your device runs a calendar app and syncs with Google Calendar. You then get notifications regardless if you are online or outside a coverage area, hence more reliable than notifications which only work via sms.

    • Not to mention SMS is not reliable. SMS messages are not guaranteed, they are delivered on a "best effort" basis. Your mobile network is free to drop them on the floor and not retry if your phone moves out of signal range, the network is congested, or any other reason they feel like. This is particularly prone to happening when messages have to go across network boundaries.

      Obviously the person who wrote the summary was under the mistaken belief that SMS is designed to be reliable, just like lots of people b

      • by guruevi ( 827432 )

        SMS wasn't even designed to be used. I remember back in the day, we had to either dial a special code or get into a special menu on our Nokia's/Philips with all of 10x4 character displays to send free "diagnostic" messages to other phones. We also could deposit voice messages in mailboxes for free rather than pay for a phone call per minute.

    • The idea is that your device runs a calendar app and syncs with Google Calendar. You then get notifications regardless if you are online or outside a coverage area,

      And through what magic does that sync occur if you are offline or outside a coverage area?

      I'm not foolisbn enough to give an advertizing company my callendar, but I'm pretty sure that Google Clendar uses TCP/IP to sync. Which means you have to have data reception. Which is much less avaiable than SMS.

      • Which is much less avaiable than SMS.

        Not outside of Mountain View or the google bus. If you don't live there, well, fuck you.

        That seems to be pretty much the attitude of google these days. Either that or incompetence. For example, distressingly often I get an Edge or 2G connection. Even though I have all maps for the area cached, searches still take 5 minutes. It has to send about 10 bytes and get back a few k of textual results and coordinates. Even at 9600bps that should take seconds not minutes.

      • And through what magic does that sync occur if you are offline or outside a coverage area?

        You don't really understand much of anything do you...

        But let's follow your strange scenario that for some reason you don't have any service for an extended period of time, how do you get things onto the calendar? You should have coverage at some point to add new things to your calendar, if you don't ... well things get added to your local calendar and hence you get the notifications anyway.

        Maybe you should look up the concept of "syncing" at some point. It'll blow your mind.

  • by xeno ( 2667 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @08:37PM (#49807129)

    I find it really ironic that Google, a company so used to being the new hotness upstart company, is so willfully ignoring usage patterns of a significant minority comprising "the youth" and people on the wrong side of the internet divide, and much of the third world, and anyone without a data plan outside of wifi range.

    What these people have in common is they use sms or some form of text-like DM instead of email, so email notifications sit in an unread inbox and are effectively useless. Syncing calendars is fine as long as each individual maintains their own calendar, but sms is one of the nice ways to notify individual attendees without some major calendar confab.

    For example, my kid's french tutor uses Google calendar for scheduling, and if you load the calendar it shows *every* person scheduled on that calendar, which is great for finding available spots, but it's not something you would leave visible. Turn it off/non-visible, and you lose web notifications. However, at present each person gets an sms notification for their appointment, even if they turn the calendar off. Sooo.... Google expects every person on a shared calendar to leave that calendar active at all times in order to receive web or email notifications, which are likely ignored if not disabled?

    It's a tone-deaf move. Personally, I use sms to ensure my kids get the notification no matter what, and this downgrade will result in all sorts of ignored events and missed appointments. One workaround, at least for t-mobile, is to email the notification to 800YOURNUM@tmomail.net ....tho there was some talk of the service being taken down to avoid abuse.

    • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Saturday May 30, 2015 @09:12PM (#49807259) Homepage

      Most of the kids these days have smartphones of some sort, either Android or iPhone. If they use Google Calendar at all, they almost certainly also have a calendar app that would handle the notification. So why would they even need SMS? I'd even bet they don't use SMS for talking to their friends, they probably use one or another messaging or social-media app.

      And app-based notifications have one advantage: since the app has the calendar data cached locally, it can generate notifications even when the phone can't get a signal or network connection.

      • Most of the kids these days.......

        How much is it costing google to run the SMS service? The company used to do useful stuff, now they just endlessly kill off their services and re-skin stuff to make it harder to use (gmail)

        Run the damn SMS service for another decade until it's well and truly not needed, then end it and get ire from no one.

    • I find it really ironic that Google, a company so used to being the new hotness upstart company, is so willfully ignoring usage patterns of a significant minority comprising "the youth" and people on the wrong side of the internet divide, and much of the third world, and anyone without a data plan outside of wifi range.

      So, basically the non-profitable ones they can't sell ads to?

      Because, let's be honest here, Google makes the new hotness to sell ads. That it is useful "new hotness" is just the way they lur

      • by KGIII ( 973947 )

        I really admire their marketing genius. I really do. They started out with the inclusion of the phrase, "Don't be evil." That phrase, from their inception, was nothing more than a marketing ploy, a gimmick, and so many folks (including hopeful people from the FOSS community, I mean even the hard edge freedom fighters from OS communities) tried so hard to love and promote Google.

        The cold, hard, reality is that the not being evil bit was (and is) a market strategy that had a massive effect. Coupled with their

    • by krelvin ( 771644 )

      I find it really ironic that Google, a company so used to being the new hotness upstart company, is so willfully ignoring usage patterns of a significant minority comprising "the youth" and people on the wrong side of the internet divide, and much of the third world, and anyone without a data plan outside of wifi range.

      I'm sure Google is very aware of the usage patterns as they track everything they do. As for ignoring the wrong side of the Internet device and much of the third world, that isn't their business, they are an Internet business and almost everything they do is based on that. If you don't have access to the Internet, most of their stuff doesn't work.

      As for a calendar entry, unless it is brand new, you will have sync'd the calendar entry and unless you CHOSE to silence the scheduled time alert, you will stil

    • by Bogtha ( 906264 )

      I find it really ironic that Google, a company so used to being the new hotness upstart company, is so willfully ignoring usage patterns of a significant minority comprising "the youth" and people on the wrong side of the internet divide, and much of the third world, and anyone without a data plan outside of wifi range.

      It's you that's out of touch. Kids don't use SMS like they used to, it's all about apps like Snapchat now. And most kids don't generally care about calendar reminders either.

      As for pe

      • What's got project Loon to do with data plans in developed areas?
        Data plans are small or expensive because the spectrum is finite and there's no real way around it.
        So, on a cheap plan you may have a lot of voice, unlitimited SMS and say 300MB of data transfer per month.

        If that calendar is a shared one and you need to sync the calendar but don't do all day long because internet access is unavailable, then it won't get synced.

    • This might seem like a novel concept but you could add the appointment with the French tutor to your child's calendar. You know, set up the appointment on one account and invite the teacher as an attendee. Then it shows up on the teacher's calendar AND on your child's. Then you can sync the child's calendar and only have to see their appointments. In fact, this is how these appointment systems are supposed to work.
  • Waaaaaa! Call me a WAMBULANCE!

    Google is shuttering a FREE service that has mostly been eclipsed by better technology!

    Listen, Luddites, Google has no obligation to provide you with squat, unless you are paying them.

    Move on.

    • by KGIII ( 973947 )

      I dare contend that the service is not free. You exchange privacy and personal information, that will be marketed to and aggregated to track your other activities across broad networks, in exchange for their services. This does not negate your point that they can close it down and that whining is irrelevant. I do, however, stand by my belief that it is not free. It does not cost money but there is an exchange of goods being made. In my mind that makes it not free. I should think that most here would be in a

    • Waaaaaa! Call me a WAMBULANCE!

      Google is shuttering a FREE service that has mostly been eclipsed by better technology!

      Listen, Luddites, Google has no obligation to provide you with squat, unless you are paying them.

      Move on.

      No one here's demanding the feature, they're pointing out why it's a stupid move. Google may fully have the right to remove any features it wants, but doing a favor for someone usually goes a long way. If I see you struggling with your groceries, I may not be under any obligation to help - but you would still consider it polite for me to assist you, yes?

    • Google is shuttering a FREE service that has mostly been eclipsed by better technology!

      Ad supported != free.

      Listen, Luddites, Google has no obligation to provide you with squat, unless you are paying them.

      Yes, they earn billions by not being paid.

    • Listen, Luddites, Google has no obligation to provide you with squat, unless you are paying them.

      Where did my phone come from? Magical woodland faries?

      • If you're saying you paid for Google services because you bought a phone with then, then you bought a smartphone, and since it has a calendar app it then can provide you notifications even without a network connection at all. So I can't see how this could possibly impact you unless you're entering events on a computer which has a network connection, yet are for some reason refusing to allow your phone to sync over that same network connection while you're doing so and are instead relying on SMS notification
        • If you're saying you paid for Google services because you bought a phone with then,

          I bought the phone from google, so yeah, I paid google for the services.

  • Odds on the reason the WEG side retains SMS is the G portion. The government's a huge bureaucracy with a lot of inertia, and there's probably tons of places in their rules and procedures where SMS is specifically required (it may not be the sole option, but it has to be an available option). A lot of the time it makes sense: many government employees (think emergency services) have pagers because they can pick up a basic alert signal in situations where they can't get a usable data signal (all they have to

  • After the "new" photo web storage service that are awful . Doesn't upload picture and upload "noise" picture... these announcement make them ending difinitly their moto "Don't be evil"

  • ...and Google taketh away. Been here, done this, several times. Not surprising.

  • It looks like the age where you can use SMS instead of apps is coming to a close.

    Five years ago, most of what I did with a smartphone was possible with SMS. I could call a cab, order a pizza, look up arrival times at a bus stop, tweet, and check in on Foursquare.

  • You dumb asses, Google.

    I use a Nexus 5 but I don't have a data plan since I'm near WiFi most of the time (plus I don't feel spending $30+ just to get a data plan). However, I loved having the capability to get SMS whenever an event was added to my Google Calendar (by other family member, for example).

    So, Google could have justified this move by saying that sending free SMS is costing us an arm and a leg, and this is a cost-cutting maneuver. Instead, they are hiding behind "oh everyone has a smartphone these

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