Google to shut down a bunch of projects you've never heard of

Google is shutting down a bunch of projects you've never heard of — and some you have. On the chopping block: iGoogle, Google Video, Chatback, Google Mini and the Symbian Search App.

(Credit: Google)

"What the hell is iGoogle?" a voice asked over the cubicle wall after Google's announcement today that it's continuing to streamline its product set.

The company said that this death notice is part of a "spring clean" that it started last spring. Here are the products meeting their demise:

Which service are you most sad to see go?

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This customisable home page for the web was launched in 2005. It's a combination of RSS reader and widget platform, and Google said that the need for it "has eroded over time", given new apps on browsers and mobile devices. Users will have 16 months to manage a transition to these new apps before Google pulls the plug.

Google Video

The search engine's original video-hosting platform continues its long, planned glide into obsolescence. Nobody's been able to upload to the service since May 2009. On20 August, Google will export what's left on Google Video to private YouTube channels. Videos longer than 15 minutes (the usual limit for YouTube users) will still be transferred over from Videos to YouTube.

Google Talk Chatback

This was a text chat widget for web publishers. Google is now pushing publishers who want that function to the Meebo bar, from the instant message company Google acquired a month ago.

Symbian Search App

Users of old Symbian smartphones will soon find the Symbian Search App for Google "retired". Google recommends throwing out these old phones and buying Android models. Wait, no. Actually, according to the announcement, "We encourage you to go to and make it your home page."

Google Mini

Finally, Google is discontinuing the Google Mini, a hardware search appliance for enterprises that launched in 2005. Google isn't giving up on the concept; the Google Search Appliance is still available.

Google has never been averse to killing underperforming projects. Its most visible shutdowns are in the social sphere — Wave, Buzz, Friend Connect, Aardvark — but the company has also killed an offline platform with a lot of promise (Gears); the Linux version of Picasa; its knowledge-based experiment, Knol; and several other interesting experiments.

In many cases, concepts and technologies form failed projects live on. A lot of what Google learned from its social ventures is now embedded in Google+, and Knol's DNA can be seen in Google's new Knowledge Graph.


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PeterM11 posted a comment   

RIP iGoogle - nothing can replace it.

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