Just recently, Googleâ€™s 3D world Lively was shut down. Now Google announced theyâ€™re canceling a couple of other products or product features. These are:
- Mobile serviceÂ Dodgeball. â€œWe have decided to discontinue Dodgeball.com in the next couple of months, after which this service will no longer be available,â€ GoogleÂ says. The original founders of this Google-acquired company already left a while agoÂ in frustrationÂ due to Google allegedly not evolving their product.
- TheÂ Mashup editor, which is still only available in a limited test version. This product, originallyÂ released in 2007, was letting you create programs accessing and mixing APIs like the Google Maps API. Google suggests the App Engine would now be the way to go, as far as Google products go. â€œExisting Mashup Editor applications will stop receiving traffic in six months,â€ Google notes.
- Video uploading at Google Video.Â For quite a while now Google had made acquired YouTube their official video upload site, at least judging by things like where Google uploaded their own content for official blog posts (and judging by how much easier it was to get videos onto YouTube in terms of speed and lack of bugs). Google Video is a meta video search engine these days. Now that change in direction has become more completed and official: â€œIn a few months, we will discontinue support for uploads to Google Video,â€ Google writes, adding that existing uploaded content wonâ€™t be removed, though.
- Google Catalog. This was a bit of a precursor to Google Print, now known as Google Book Search. The scanned and OCRâ€™d catalogs of this collection areÂ painfully out of dateÂ by now, tough. â€œ[W]eâ€™re bidding it a fond farewellâ€ GoogleÂ says, stating they want to focus efforts â€œto bring more and more types of offline information such as magazines, newspapers and of course, books, online.â€
- Last not least,Â Google NotebookÂ â€“ while not being directly canceled â€“ wonâ€™t be worked on anymore. â€œStarting next week, we plan to stop active development on Google Notebook. This means weâ€™ll no longer be adding features or offer Notebook for new users.â€ GoogleÂ sayÂ they will continue offer the service for existing users. The Notebook extension wonâ€™t be supported anymore, though, Google adds. Google suggests users look into Google Docs, as well as theÂ SearchWikiÂ feature (wow, I never use that anymore… it just ends up cluttering search results).
(Google-acquired â€œactivity streamerâ€ Jaiku, on the other hand, will be migrated. Google says they â€œare in the process of porting Jaiku over to Google App Engine. After the migration is complete, we will release the new open source Jaiku Engine project on Google Code under the Apache License. While Google will no longer actively develop the Jaiku codebase, the service itself will live onâ€.)
Google is acting quick and getting leaner during the recession, and sometimes thatâ€™s good to focus on whatâ€™s important. Not doing so, you risk trembling over your own weight, and especially deserted products like Google Catalog wonâ€™t be missed by many. On the other hand, some of the users of the now canceled products, like the Mashup Editor, may begin to miss their tools, and trust Google less when it comes to future choices of where to put their content. Reto Meier in the comments writes:
The loss of the Mashup Editor is quite a blow to me personally.
Iâ€™ve got a few sites hosted there, two of which have nearly a thousand daily page views. Itâ€™s going to be a pain porting them over to the App Engine
If all these are signs of a less experimental, more consolidated Google*, then there may be another side effect: potential employees may be less willing to apply for a job. For one thing, a rather free-roaming environment is an attractive job feature for developers. Also, if you were a genius programmer in the mood to create a new product with uncertain future and user base â€“ a product which you believe might take a lot of fighting for it to evolve into something great â€“ would you apply at Google, a company that killed of their exploration of a social 3D world after just little over 5 months? Or would you rather start-up your own little company… including the potential to get acquired by a bigger company, like Google, later on?
*Also seeÂ BBC, who talked to Googleâ€™s Matt Cutts. â€œMatt insisted that the early spirit of freedom and experimentation was still there in the culture. But when I pressed him on whether even Google could afford that luxury in harder times, he admitted that people like him now had perhaps to be a little more focussed on the bottom line. But he said the one day in five spent on personal projects was not being discarded.â€ I wonder if Mattâ€™s perspective, being as BBC puts it a â€œgreybeardâ€ in the company (heâ€™s there since 2000), is representative for the situation at large?
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