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Google closes more features in 'spring' clean sweep

Google closes more features in 'spring' clean sweep

Google's product closures continue, with over 60 services shuttered since the company began its 'spring' clean last year.

Advertising giant Google has announced another raft of service closures as it continues to streamline its offerings, with a number of smaller services joining the likes of Google Wave.

In the last year, Google has been dramatically trimming down the number of separate projects it has on the go. Aside from the aforementioned Wave, an unholy cross between Skype, Facebook and Sharepoint that was rejected by users but lives on in part through Google+, the company has closed down translation APIs, severely restricted its mapping APIs, removed the iGoogle homepage customisation feature, and the Google Labs not-quite-ready-for-prime-time test-bed service.

The latest features to hit the chopping board include AdSense for Feeds, a service that allows users to tie adverts to their RSS feeds, the Classic Plus feature to add a custom background to the Google search page, the Gadgets add-ins to Google Spreadsheet, Google News Badges, and the Android Places Directory app.

Additionally, the company has confirmed plans to consolidate storage across all its features: as a result, those who use both image-sharing service Picasa and document collaboration service Drive will find their storage shared between the two: buy a 100GB contract, and it'll be applied to both services. Previously, it was possible to sign up for different plans on different services, or to use free storage on one and paid-for storage on another.

Finally, the company has ditched the Insights for Search functionality in favour of a revamped version of Google Trends which provides access to search trends and comparatives for volume across regions, categories, time-frames and properties.

'Technology offers so many opportunities to help improve users' lives. This means it is really important to focus or we end up doing too much with too little impact,' claimed Google's senior engineering director Yossi Matias in a statement regarding the closures. 'So today we're winding down a bunch more features — bringing the total to nearly 60 since we started our "spring" clean last fall. We want people to have a beautifully simple experience when using Google. These changes will enable us to focus better so that we can do more to help improve the products that millions of people use multiple times a day.'

16 Comments

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Jim 1st October 2012, 14:31 Quote
I'm going to be really gutted when iGoogle finally goes. It has been my homepage for years now, and I have no idea what I'm going to use to replace it.
wuyanxu 1st October 2012, 14:40 Quote
iGoogle
Wave

both fantastic projects, superb idea and well executed, sad to see them go.

are you going to try out Google+. nope, that would also be gone in a few years time, so might as well not bother signing up at all! love your Android? things get moved around on every release. Love simplified Google page? nope, shove a dark bar on top.
Mankz 1st October 2012, 15:07 Quote
I love you iGoogle.. please dont leave me
Nikumba 1st October 2012, 15:36 Quote
iGoogle is great, I know google's suggestion was to use their reader but just not the same
Fizzban 1st October 2012, 16:11 Quote
Never used igoogle. Can't see this affecting me much, or at all.
rollo 1st October 2012, 17:12 Quote
Long Live Igoogle was a nice thing
fluxtatic 2nd October 2012, 05:05 Quote
Wait, did they say they're killing Google Labs? So, they're killing off the section that spawned a lot of what makes Google useful? Well, GMail, at least. Seems like pretty well everything they've killed/are killing came from Labs in the first place.

Screw not being able to use a custom image on their homepage - the only reason I sign into Google is to check email, and I sign out as soon as I'm done. I couldn't tell you the last time I was on google.com, and that was likely only to check out some Easter egg. Thanks to integrated search from the browser, I have no need to visit the site.

I wonder if this is some "time to grow up and be a real company" pressure from shareholders.
Shayper09 2nd October 2012, 05:30 Quote
This reminded me...

"You blocked me in Google+
And now you're going to die"

Just isn't the same :/
Gareth Halfacree 2nd October 2012, 10:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic
Wait, did they say they're killing Google Labs?
Yup, way back in July 2011.
julianmartin 2nd October 2012, 10:57 Quote
i am a bit miffed about iGoogle I must admit. Can't understand why they would get rid of it....
Lenderz 2nd October 2012, 11:22 Quote
iGoogle being my landing page also means that 99% of my searches are done through Google, because its just there, its a simple, elegant solution to create a great personalised web experience and as of yet I've not seen anything that competes well at all, which seems nuts to me. If Bing or Yahoo were to offer a comparable service I'd start using it in no time at all, and they'd start generating Ad revenue from me and thousands of users like me. It blows my mind that Google doesn't get this, and more so that the competition doesn't capitalise on this opportunity, its a very "light" service to offer in terms of load and resources and drives people to use your portal as a default.

As for Picasa, I've been paying Google for Storage on Picasa for ages, and had to leave Google+ because they bundled it in with it meaning anyone I'd shared photos with on Google+ could then reshare the whole album with anyone they wanted, why would they offer that feature it seems crazy and took me out of their social network (the only social network I used for a while).

I'm sure they know what they're doing as a company but they seem to be actively trying to drive my traffic to the competition.
faugusztin 2nd October 2012, 11:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by julianmartin
i am a bit miffed about iGoogle I must admit. Can't understand why they would get rid of it....

Not enough users. Simple as that.
Lenderz 2nd October 2012, 11:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
Quote:
Originally Posted by julianmartin
i am a bit miffed about iGoogle I must admit. Can't understand why they would get rid of it....

Not enough users. Simple as that.

Define "enough" the costs to Google of running the service even with no maintenance would be an absolute pittance with their existing cloud infrastructure. Not even worth noting really, and it likely pays for itself with the fact that if you're an iGoogle user you likely use multiple devices all with an iGoogle homepage and drives all search traffic through Google plus provides interesting metrics on user data. They mentioned somewhere in the region of 200,000 users I believe (seem to remember reading it on a Google Blog about the time they announced the shutdown a few months back).

Thats with no updates in years and no active encouragement for people to use it. In my office alone 3-4 people have iGoogle home pages on their laptops/iPads and desktops.

If someone else was to offer an comparable service it wouldn't be a problem, we'd be over there like a shot and I'm sure MS wouldn't mind another 200,000 users driving all their traffic through Bing. It irritates me nobody seems to be offering a decent alternative.
faugusztin 2nd October 2012, 11:34 Quote
It's not up to me define "enough". Google kills projects which don't have high enough user base. If you disagree with them, it's unfortunate for you, but it's what they did many times before - it's just now that they hit a project you used.
Lenderz 2nd October 2012, 11:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
It's not up to me define "enough". Google kills projects which don't have high enough user base. If you disagree with them, it's unfortunate for you, but it's what they did many times before - it's just now that they hit a project you used.

Very true, it just seems an odd business practice honestly to annoy what are substantial numbers of customers who are driving revenue through your business and are likely to be heavy users.

That said, I think I've just found a new alternative I'm going to have to try.

Its called igHome and it even advertises as an iGoogle alternative. : http://www.ighome.com/
stanonwheels 3rd October 2012, 16:10 Quote
Still using iGoogle for all my RSSing, gonna miss that.
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