In December last year Google announced that it was dropping support for the Exchange ActiveSync protocol, which allowed users to sync their Gmail contacts and calendar on their devices. At first Google had said that it would cut off support on January 31st, 2013. Later it extended the date up to July 31st so as to let Microsoft build support for CardDav and CalDav in Windows Phone 8. Google has now granted another extension, keeping Exchange ActiveSync up for Windows Phone till December 31st, 2013. Microsoft has confirmed that they have reached an agreement with Google to extend support for new Windows Phone users through the aforementioned date.
The Windows Phone 8 GDR2 update brings support for CardDav and CalDav, however the update is not yet available for all devices as of now. This extension would enable Microsoft to ensure that most of devices out there are equipped with support for the CardDav and CalDav protocols which are now used to sync calendar and contacts with a Gmail account. As per recent rumors, the GDR2 update will start becoming available in more regions over the next few weeks.