With Google Podcast shutting down in 2024, here are 5 Google projects that have been killed
Google's announcement on September 27 revealed the discontinuation of the Google Podcasts app in 2024. Google's cemeteries of innovations, this decision doesn't come as a complete surprise.
For many, Google is often synonymous with the internet. Ranked among the world's most successful companies, Google is renowned for its widely used search engine and a culture steeped in experimentation.
While Google consistently introduces a plethora of innovative products, it's also known for its tendency to discard many of them. This raises the question of why Google has struggled to maintain a consistent portfolio of products, particularly when it aims to wave off intense competition.
For instance, Google's announcement on September 27 revealed the discontinuation of the Google Podcasts app in 2024, with the intention of redirecting its streaming listeners to YouTube Music. Given Google's cemeteries of innovations, this decision doesn't come as a complete surprise.
In the past, the company used to retire products during quarterly "spring cleanings." However, it now seems to do so on a greater scale. Regardless of the timing and rationale behind these decisions, it's undeniable that Google's projects, whether a hit or a miss, consistently exhibit immense promise.
This ongoing cycle leaves us intrigued. Here’s our comprehensive coverage of five Google projects that garnered significant hype but ultimately fell short of expectations.
One of the most abstract and ambitious concepts ever designed by Google, Google Wave was launched in 2009 to usher in a new era of online collaboration by creating "waves" or dynamic virtual spaces on the internet.
Users could seamlessly exchange polls, images, video clips, and much more. Essentially, Google Wave aimed to redefine communication and push it into the future, positioning itself as a futuristic email alternative.
Further, Google Wave included a messaging system for direct communication and user file sharing. It also featured "Wave Robots," a feature enabling users to automate specific tasks within the platform.
However, despite its innovative features and immense potential, Google Wave was discontinued in 2010. The primary reason for its ultimate failure was its inherent complexity, which made it difficult for users to grasp and fully utilize its capabilities. Moreover, it failed to garner the broad user base it aspired to achieve.
Google URL Shortener
In 2009, Google URL Shortener was initially created to simplify and condense lengthy web addresses. Beyond its URL-shortening capabilities, it possessed the added functionality of seamlessly directing web users to specific applications on both Android and iOS platforms.
However, the introduction of innovative technology like Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL) prompted Google to discontinue this project in 2019.
In an official blog post, Google engineer Michael Hermanto reflected on the legacy of the URL Shortener: “URL Shortener has been a great tool that we're proud to have built.” He continued, “As we look towards the future, we're excited about the possibilities of Firebase Dynamic Links, particularly when it comes to dynamic platform detection and links that survive the app installation process.”
This transition underscores Google's commitment to embracing cutting-edge solutions and continuously evolving to meet the changing needs of its users.
The Nexus Q represents an unusual chapter in Google's hardware endeavours—a product so misaligned with consumer expectations that the company made the decision to halt its release before it ever reached the hands of consumers.
A full decade after its introduction in 2012, this $299 media player, pitched as a "social streaming device," Nexus Q stands as a stark example of what can transpire when a company becomes entangled in its own self-contained ecosystem.
Amidst the Nexus Q's enigmatic concept, there were indeed promising elements. Hindsight reveals that the device contained the foundational elements and early DNA of what would eventually evolve into Google's successful Chromecast. However, the execution of the Nexus Q was short-lived and, to some extent, eccentric. In a promotional video released on the day of its announcement, someone cryptically described the product as “this living alien object.”
Launched in 2016, Google Daydream was a virtual reality headset designed to provide users with immersive VR experiences. Users could relish this virtual treat by inserting their smartphone into the headset.
However, in 2019, Google decided to discontinue Daydream and remove the remaining stock from stores. Google recognized that the display capabilities of smartphones, although impressive, couldn't deliver the high-quality virtual reality experiences that consumers desired. Plus, in a highly competitive market, Daydream struggled to compete with the more potent VR headsets like Oculus.
In 2019. Their rationale was grounded in an insightful observation: requiring users to place their phones in a headset and thereby relinquish access to their everyday apps proved to be a significant source of friction. This foresight was validated as the Daydream View headset experienced diminishing user engagement over time.
In retrospect, Google's decision to discontinue Daydream was a strategic move aligned with the evolving VR landscape and consumer preferences, highlighting the company's commitment to delivering impactful and user-centric technology.
Google Reader, initially introduced in 2005, served as an RSS feed aggregator for users to effortlessly gather content from multiple sources.
Launched at a time when blogging was hitting its stride, it effortlessly condensed the vast expanse of the web into something accessible and profoundly valuable for news aficionados and prolific commenters. Google Reader ensured they never missed a beat.
It also offered an array of features for organizing and consuming news and articles, options like expanded displays for efficient scanning of numerous items at once and folder-based views.
However, despite its popularity, Google made the challenging decision to shut down Google Reader in 2013 as part of a larger "spring cleaning" initiative. The rationale behind this move was its rapidly declining usage, a stark contrast to the platform's devoted user base.