In July 2011, Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page announced plans to streamline operations by putting “more wood behind fewer arrows.” That initiative began in earnest on September 2, when Google announced it would shutdown 9 products and a side company called Aardvark.
Announced in a Google blog post titled, A fall spring-clean, Alan Eustace, a Senior Vice President at Google, posted, “Over the next few months we’ll be shutting down a number of products and merging others into existing products as features…This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience. It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people.”
Eustace went on to explain that users of these products would be communicated with directly and would be given “sufficient time to make the transition and enabling them to take their data with them.” Employees are being transitioned to other projects within Google.
The Google team does not believe this will keep them from being creative and driving new concepts. Eustace said, “We’ve never been afraid to try big, bold things, and that won’t change. We’ll continue to take risks on interesting new technologies with a lot of potential.”
From the Google post, here is an overview of the products being eliminated:
- Aardvark: Aardvark was a start-up we acquired in 2010. An experiment in a new kind of social search, it helped people answer each other’s questions. While Aardvark will be closing, we’ll continue to work on tools that enable people to connect and discover richer knowledge about the world.
- Desktop: In the last few years, there’s been a huge shift from local to cloud-based storage and computing, as well as the integration of search and gadget functionality into most modern operating systems. People now have instant access to their data, whether online or offline. As this was the goal of Google Desktop, the product will be discontinued on September 14, including all the associated APIs, services, plugins, gadgets and support.
- Fast Flip: Fast Flip was started to help pioneer news content browsing and reading experiences for the web and mobile devices. For the past two years, in collaboration with publishers, the Fast Flip experiment has fueled a new approach to faster, richer content display on the web. This approach will live on in our other display and delivery tools.
- Google Pack: Due to the rapidly decreasing demand for downloadable software in favor of web apps, we will discontinue Google Pack today. People will still be able to access Google’s and our partners’ software quickly and easily through direct links on the Google Pack website.
- Google Web Security: Google Web Security came to Google as part of the Postini acquisition in 2007, and since then we’ve integrated much of the web security functionality directly into existing Google products, such as safe browsing in Chrome. Although we will discontinue new sales of Google Web Security, we’ll continue to support our existing customers.
- Image Labeler: We began Google Image Labeler as a fun game to help people explore and label the images on the web. Although it will be discontinued, a wide variety of online games from Google are still available.
- Notebook: Google Notebook enabled people to combine clipped URLs from the web and free-form notes into documents they could share and publish. We’ll be shutting down Google Notebook in the coming months, but we’ll automatically export all notebook data to Google Docs.
- Sidewiki: Over the past few years, we’ve seen extraordinary innovation in terms of making the web collaborative. So we’ve decided to discontinue Sidewiki and focus instead on our broader social initiatives. Sidewiki authors will be given more details about this closure in the weeks ahead, and they’ll have a number of months to download their content.
- Subscribed Links: Subscribed Links enabled developers to create specialized search results that were added to the normal Google search results on relevant queries for subscribed users. Although we’ll be discontinuing Subscribed Links, developers will be able to access and download their data until September 15, at which point subscribed links will no longer appear in people’s search results.