I was curious about this, so I logged in to the website and deleted my GMail account. Then I recreated it. The process is very different.
During setup, it asked if I wanted to sync contacts. I chose to. Then it told me to go through some setup steps on the device, which I did. The activation was very BES like and when finished, I had all my contacts from GMail on the device.
I will admit that I have not deleted and recreated my GMail account in quite a while. Perhaps a couple of months when there was talk about contact sync in the past.
Since they don't post a "You are using BIS 3.0" sign on the site, I am guessing I am and that the change happened for VZW sometime recently.
Z10 and PlayBook <- 9650<- 9630 <- 8330 <- 8130 <- 8830 <- 8703e <- 7130e <- 7250