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December 19, 2006

Google's Discontinued Services

Google launched a lot of services over the time. Some were successful, others were decent, but very few were discontinued. Here's a list.

1. Google Keyboard Shortcuts (2002) - use your keyboard to navigate between search results.

2. Google Voice Search (2002) - search Google with a telephone call. This way you didn't have to type queries, as Google used voice recognition.

3. Google Viewer (2002) - view Google results as a slide show. Google Toolbar has this feature, but it doesn't go to the next result automatically.

4. Google Webquotes (2002) - read comments about a web page.

5. Google Compute (2002) - an add-on for Google Toolbar that allowed you to use your computer's resources to help research projects (the program worked only when your computer was idle). "When you enable Google Compute, your computer will download a small piece of a large research project and perform calculations on it that will then be included with the calculations performed by thousands of other computers doing the same thing. This process is known as distributed computing."

6. Google Answers (2002) - get answers from researchers for a fee. The product was discontinued in November this year.

7. Google Search API (2002) - a SOAP API that allowed developers to integrate Google's search results into their applications. The product is now deprecated.

8. Google Deskbar (2003) - search Google from your desktop and see search results in a mini-viewer. The product has been integrated into Google Desktop.

9. Google X (2005) - a Mac-like interface for Google. The page has been live only for a day and it has been removed to prevent a suit from Apple.

10. Google Video (initial version) - search the content of television shows. Google recorded the TV programs and allowed people to search closed captions and see images from the show. You couldn't play videos.

As you can see, some products were replaced by more powerful ones, others were unsuccessful, had copyright problems or technical difficulties. It's interesting to note that most discontinued products were launched in 2002.


  1. In the immortal words of the Joker, you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs.

  2. I still don't quite get why they discontinued Google Compute... it was a fun project!

  3. Didn't Stardock make the toolbar look like that before Apple got into the act?

  4. Google recommended that we use AJAX Search API instead of the SOAP one, but if you still want to use the new API like the old one, I've cracked it here: The code is free and I'm quite sure that it still falls within the Google terms of service for the new API, as long as you don't use it commercially.

  5. Matthew, what you did violates Google's TOS. Here's what they say:

    Can I scrape the search results from the Google AJAX Search API if the API doesn't meet my needs?

    Sorry, but no; the AJAX Search API is the only permissible way to publish Google AJAX Search API results on your site. We'll block your application if it accesses search results outside of the API.

  6. I could think of a few other services I wouldn't mind seeing gone. And of course I love to see google groups to be turned back into the format!

    ... just breaking eggs doesn't make an omelette.

  7. Quote WebSearchGuide on WebQuotes:

    "Google WebQuotes (...) uses the links and anchor text to get comments about a search from other websites. "Google WebQuotes annotates the results of your Google search with comments from other websites. This offers a convenient way to get a third party's opinion about each of the returns for your search, providing you with more information about that site's credibility and reputation. For example a search on weather underground brings up results where these words are used in reference to the weather underground website, and groups them by additional terms - tropical, Belgium, forecasting etc."

  8. Funny, I entered my name in mixed case, and it comes out lower-cased :)
    Blogger bug!

  9. >>And of course I love to see google groups to be turned back into the format!

    I couldn't agree more!

  10. Keyboard shortcuts are still available, as google keyboard experiment.

  11. Don't forget about the 'Lively'...

    Lively was a network of avatars and virtual rooms created and decorated by its users. Google launched Lively on July 8, 2008 as an experiment in providing people with more ways to express themselves on the Web.
    Lively's users created thousands of cafes, bars, discos, tropical islands, treehouses, space stations, galleries, bedrooms and more. Lively's users shared their rooms with people from all over the real world, meeting and chatting with each other via their customized avatars.
    The experiment ended December 31, 2008.