A walk through the Google graveyard, where its discontinued products and apps rest in peace
Long before giving the boot to its social media service Google+ and Inbox app, Google killed a host of products and services that no longer met its expectations. Here’s a memorial in their name.Sutrishna Ghosh
Just when we thought Google Plus was going to be the only loss we mourn this year, the tech giant served another blow announcing the digital death of its Inbox app. An email service (aside from Gmail), Inbox was the place where Google carried out all its AI-powered experiments like Smart Compose, Nudges, high-priority notifications, etc.
Over time, however, Google integrated all these smart features with the main Gmail app, rendering its Inbox service pretty much futile. The same can’t be said for its once-ambitious social media service Google+, which died a slow, gradual death owing to reasons like low usage, failure to meet consumers’ expectations, and a massive security breach.
In fact, these two services are just the tip of the iceberg, that is Google’s cemetery – a cold, dark place where all the products and services that Google has killed over the years rest. From the once-popular Google Reader and the social networking site Orkut to the less celebrated Google Wave and most recently the Allo app, these are just a few names among the host of other products that have been given the boot.
Sometimes it was the products that failed to meet expectations, and sometimes Google had a change of plan. And on a few rare occasions the digital oblivion was just the only logical way forward, as the company continues to reinvent and reprioritise its online strategy.
As Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO, once said, “We celebrate our failures.” So here’s remembering the lost apps and products, starting from 2019, and going backwards, that are gone but not forgotten.
Google Allo: It was given the boot this year after becoming a testing ground for Google’s messaging features. Much like the Inbox app.
Google+: Owing to low engagement rate and a software bug, the social media service is being axed April 2 onwards.
Goo.gl: A URL shortener, the service was discontinued last year. Come March 2019, Google will stop catering to existing users as well.
Google Spaces: An app for group discussions, Google Spaces was discontinued as the company refocused its messaging services.
Google Talk: After giving the boot in 2017, Google had been urging users to transition from Talk to Hangout. Now there are reports of the Hangout app getting a makeover as well.
Project Ara: The modular smartphone project was cancelled in 2016. Reportedly, it was because of broader streamlining efforts of Google’s hardware production.
Panoramio: The geo-located phone sharing service was axed in 2016, as Google migrated to Maps Views.
Google Code: It was axed in 2016, but the projects hosted on Google Code are still available in the code archive.
Picasa: In a bid to focus on a single photo service, i.e. Google Photos, Picasa was discontinued in 2016.
Google Moderator: There was a gap in expectation and usage, due to which Google shut this down in 2015.
Helpouts by Google: Again, over an expectation issue, Google decided to down the shutters on this service in 2015.
Google Catalogs: The shopping app for tablets was retired in 2015. Google didn’t specify any reason.
Orkut: With the growing popularity of Facebook and a couple other social media platforms, Orkut died a gradual death in 2014.
Building Maker: The 3d buildings maker was discontinued in 2013.
Google Latitude: Features of this service was incorporated into Google Maps, and the service was discontinued in 2013.
Google Checkout: The payment processing service basically moved to Google Wallet.
iGoogle: This was retired in 2013. Google said the reason was the evolution of the web, which made the personalised home page redundant.
Google Reader: Google discontinued this in 2013 over declining following. Google Reader, however, still has some loyal fans who mourns its loss.
Sparrow: Google Inbox killed the need for this email client for mac in 2012.
Code Search: Google discontinued its code search engine in 2012.
Urchin: With the advent of Google Analytics, Urchin was gradually put to rest in 2012.
Google Jaiku: Due to a lack of traction and shifting focus, Google shut down this micro-blogging service in 2012.
Picnik: An app with similar tools were integrated into Google+, and picnik was discontinued eventually.
Google Wave: The real-time collaboration app was discontinued due to a lack of active users in 2012.
Google Fast Flip: The online news aggregator was shut down in 2011 without any specified reason.
Sidewiki: Google gave this the boot in 2011, along with a few other products as part of its spring cleanup.
Google Notebook: The online note taking app was gone as part of the spring cleanup in 2011.
Asides from these, Google also axed a slew of other products and services such as Knot, Google Health, Google Video, Google Desktop, Google Labs, Google Dictionary, Aardvark, Google Buzz, Google Gears, Google 411, SearchWiki, Ride Finder, Audio Ads, Web Accelerator, Page Creator, Lively, Dodgeball, and Google Answers.