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January 15, 2009

Google Closes Many Services

Google decided to close many services that were either redundant, not very successful or unrelated to Google's core business.

After Google acquired YouTube, Google Video morphed into a video search engine, but you could still upload videos. Unlike YouTube, Google Video didn't have a limitation for the duration of a video. "In a few months, we will discontinue support for uploads to Google Video. Don't worry, we're not removing any content hosted on Google Video -- this just means you will no longer be able to upload new content to the service," mentions Google Video Blog.


Google Notebook, one of the best Google services, is also about to be discontinued. "Starting next week, we plan to stop active development on Google Notebook. This means we'll no longer be adding features or offer Notebook for new users. But don't fret, we'll continue to maintain service for those of you who've already signed up." After launching SearchWiki, Google Search removed the integration with Google Notebook and the integration with Google Bookmarks turned out to be a bad idea. The project was probably discontinued because it couldn't become a part of a more significant service, but it's disappointing to close a project that gained a lot of visibility and could become a clipboard for many Google services.



Other services that will be discontinued include Google Catalogs, a database of mail-order product catalogs last updated in 2006, Dodgeball, a mobile social network acquired by Google in 2005 that stagnated after its founders left Google, and Mashup Editor, a project that will be replaced by the more powerful Google App Engine.



Jaiku, the microblogging service acquired by Google, will migrate to Google App Engine and will no longer be actively developed. "As we mentioned last April, we are 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 on thanks to a dedicated and passionate volunteer team of Googlers. With the open source Jaiku Engine project, organizations, groups and individuals will be able to roll-their-own microblogging services and deploy them on Google App Engine. The new Jaiku Engine will include support for OAuth, and we're excited about developers using this proven code as a starting point in creating a freely available and federated, open source microblogging platform."


"Google engineers have long been at the top of the heap when it comes to the Google pecking order. Now, neither products nor engineers seem to have a protected status, as Google goes into the grim economic times predicted for 2009," writes Danny Sullivan. Google closed 3 new offices, slowed down hiring and no longer encourages wild experiments.

"Matt [Cutts] 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," reported BBC News.

{ via SEL. Thank you, Kevin. }

60 comments:

  1. It's too easy to close services to save money and at the end the biggest saver comes when all the services are closed because you lost the users by not having the services.

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  2. What about the page creator? Now a days they are not allowing new signups. It is saying "Google Page Creator is no longer accepting new sign-ups."

    Thanks
    Sunil
    Myhtmlworld.com

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  3. @sunil...

    I think Google Page Creator was phased out a while back in favour of Google Sites.. Might be wrong?

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  4. The link to appengine should be http://code.google.com/appengine/

    One thing I noticed was that they didn't mention 'Note in Reader' in their list of alternatives to notebook. Granted its not a complete replacement, but is what I still use it for (Note in Reader is incompatible with the NoScript extension, or I'd just use that)

    I'd hope this doesn't mean that Note in Reader (or Reader itself) are at risk.

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  5. I also received an email saying that Google Catalog Search will be shut down:

    After a long run as one of our first digitization efforts, we're saying goodbye to Google Catalog Search -- effective tomorrow, http://catalogs.google.com will no longer be accessible. We designed Catalog Search to help merchants bring their catalogs and products online, and to help Google users to find them. We hope to continue helping merchants and users use our technology to make buying and selling products on the Internet a better, easier experience, and as a merchant, you still have a number of great options to display and sell your products through Google: Google Checkout, Google Product Search and Google Base, which lets you upload your products quickly and easily so people can find them when they search Google (http://www.google.com/base).

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  6. The services google closed are those which I have stopped using before they decided to close. So I think it is better for Google to close unused services like Google video, page creator, Jaiku and notebook. Those stuffs are not well used around the globe. There are few more services from Google that can be closed to save running coast of google . Base, Subscribed links, and may be directory :)

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  7. I'm particularly sad about Notepad, which i though was great for clipping bits & pieces :'-(
    Reader offers a similar feature in shared/unshared notes, but doesn't let you edit them later :-/ and although Docs may offer a reasonable alternative, it feels less native & heavier

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  8. Evernote ( http://evernote.com/ ) is much better than Google Notebook.
    Jaiku is better than Twitter, but it doesn't have users :(

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  9. Using Google Notebook on a daily base, I'm very disappointed to see it getting abandonded.
    Evernote is alike, but i really do have to disagree that it is much better. It is way slower; it is strickier to be paragraped / ordened.

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  10. Let the Google guys know that you are disappointed. Post on the specific blogs. I doubt that it will make them reconsider the decision but at least they should know!

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  11. > Dodgeball, a mobile social network acquired by Google in 2005 that stagnated after its founders left Google

    You make it seem as though Dodgeball failed because it's founders left, when the founders tell a different tale; one of neglect, lack of resources and an apparent general lack of interest from Google.

    > The new Jaiku Engine will include support for OAuth, and we're excited about developers using this proven code as a starting point in creating a freely available and federated, open source microblogging platform.

    We already have one platform, laconi.ca (http://laconi.ca), and while I don't know that you could say it is necessarily "proven," it has shown to hold up quite well running http://identi.ca. Having an alternate platform and new codebase to work from, will hopefully trigger new interest in developing the federated system that laconi.ca is going to be. Hopefully, there will be some collaboration regarding it.

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  12. [a different Andrew!]

    Any further evidence of the recession has to be bad news, but in most of these cases, the developments had been overtaken by related services, and so they are either redundant or moving toward a dead end.

    It's sad for those who have found such services perfect for them - but if we look at the big picture, it's better for Google to concentrate on projects that have more 'life'.

    I'm most upset about Jaiku (not that I ever used it!), because the Google version of web 2.0 (dread term!) is always less gimmicky and geeky than their rivals, and always takes us forward, rather than wallowing in silliness. I really hope it takes on a new life!

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  13. I've said ti before and heard it before. Google needs to publicize these services more.

    I would probably have used Google Catalog at times had I known about it.

    Also, I wonder what the odds are of Grand Central closing. That's a service I might be willing to pay for.

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  14. More bad news, this time from Google Apps:

    "Starting today, Standard Edition will support a maximum of 50 users for new customers. Existing Standard Edition customers with more than 50 users can continue their current service at no charge, and schools and non-profits of all sizes still have access to the free Education Edition." ###

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  15. @Alex I saw that yesterday as well and forget to mention it in my email.

    Still wondering if the Google Catalogs data was owned by Google or just displayed by Google from merchants. Also, why wouldn't they (if possible) just merge the catalogs to Google Book Search? The catalogs are a lot like the magazines they introduced recently and could easily be ported there for future use even if they weren't going to accept new catalogs.

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  16. Tham, i dont care about the others, but google notebook is a big tool for me. i use it on a daily basis for work and personal use.

    Best way to keep info and share it around many locations and pc

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  17. What about GrandCentral? Zero transparency from the dev team about what they're doing. I read something about growth into Spain, but what about the US? No enhancements / integration?

    Can someone throw us a bone?

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  18. Anyone know another service that will let me store snippets of text and code online?

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  19. I used Notebook and will be sorry to see it go. I guess I will switch to Scrapbook, a plain old Firefox extension. I will be a little more wary of cloud-based applications in the future. Like Notebook, they can easily vaporise away.

    By the way, as of today (2009-01-15) my start page for Google Bookmarks still has the following helpful tip:

    Check out a better way to organize your bookmarks using Google Notebook

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  20. I never did understand google notebook. It was sorta a bookmark. But I never knew when it would show up, how to add stuff into it or even how to retrieve data from it.
    I think the reason people were not using it was it was way too confusing.

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  21. I have been using notebook for a while, and I find it very useful
    I don't know what kind of internal google politics killed the project, but it is a shame to see it go.
    It was one of the most promising google projects

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  22. I am pretty upset about Notebook as I use it every day- will have to search for the best alternative now. Frankly, I used to swear by anything Google, and encouraged everyone to get on board with them, but lately they are starting to piss me off- first with the 'redesign' of iGoogle, now taking away a service I depend on- if it weren't for Gmail being so awesome I would move on completely....

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  23. I'm very upset at google video closing. It's the best place I've found to upload and share longer videos that youtube won't accept. Anyone know of a good replacement?

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  24. Add the cancellation of GDrive to that, and it sure seems that google is no longer interested in acting as an online operating system.
    What is the purpose of this blog then?

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  25. It was a great disappointment for all google crazers!

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  26. I second Greg S's question about Grandcentral. It could be Google's killer service with enhancements and Gmail inegration. I use it and love it but with the lack of activity I half expect to see it's name in posts like this which would be a huge loss.

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  27. I love Notebook! I guess I'll keep using it as-is.

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  28. I switched from Google Notebook to Evernote some time back. Evernote's Firefox extension makes it very easy to take web snippets, and the online/offline search ability makes it very nice. Being able to search for text in images is also nice (not 100% reliable, but works fairly well). I even use Evernote as a delicious replacement for multi-pc synchronization.

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  29. they want to discontinue google notebook? They are crazy!! google notebook is hundred times more at hand than google docs and anyway it is the best way to manage bookmarks I have ever find, it just lacks a little more development on sharing links capabilities and a better integration in google chrome but it was fantastic in many aspects! if they will discontinue it what how people will save bookmarks?

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  30. Google Notebook will continue to exist, but it won't accept new users and we won't see new features or bug fixes. I assume that the service will be closed at some point, so you should explore some alternatives: Zoho Notebook, Evernote, Zotero.

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  31. I too loved and used Google Notebook and am very sad to see it go. I don't think Google had a bigger fan than I, but that is also starting to slowly fade :(

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  32. I'd be really surprised to see GrandCentral closed by Google. I think the big picture for GC integration is just too compelling to pass on -- consider the integration of Gmail, GTalk, mobile and home phone services in one cross-functioning system.

    Being able to transfer an active phone call between home, mobile and the GTalk client is an obvious win. I'd also expect to see integration of event notifications from Calendar, Alerts, and GC voicemail, which could be delivered to any of the supported devices/formats.

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  33. This sucks, I leave notebook open all day because I use it so much. I really have a lack of trust in Google products now. What's going to be canceled next? Maybe Google Reader, it doesn't make Google any money from adverts.

    It makes me wonder what will happen to Google Bookmarks? Hopefully they'll add folders and Chrome and Android will sync to it. I originally thought that they'd kill the old bookmarks site and only have it as part of notebook.

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  34. I'm really bummed about Notebook also. As another person pointed out, Docs is way to heavy to use for that purpose. I also use notebook to handle my google bookmarks.

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  35. Say it ain't so Joe... I like notebook a lot.

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  36. Heh, the Evernote folks twittered that they're working on a Google Notebook to Evernote migration tool: http://twitter.com/evernote/status/1122274943

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  37. Save Google Notebook, Sign the petition and spread the word
    http://www.petitiononline.com/gnoteb/petition.html

    Let them know how many of us are there that do care about the Google Notebook.

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  38. Hello !

    I have one question : I have 2 gmail accounbts, one for family and close friends and one for "offcial" mails.
    What's puzzling me is that I have the Google Labs feature on only one account. And in spite of searching for the Google Labs feature on the other account, I still haven't found it.
    What is there to be done ?
    The Google Labs feature is very useful and I want to have the same options for both accounts !

    Thank you for your help !

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  39. Very sorry to hear about losing Notebook. I fight the urge regularly to recommend a larger scale usage/implementation of Google products on campus or to family and friends--as much as I love their products and have benefited from them--FOR THIS VERY REASON. Had I done so, I'd now be asked (by all my "grateful" colleagues) to explain why I was sealing all their efforts--hundreds of hours of organizing and creating and tagging--into a time capsule marked "DO NOT OPEN!" In a way, I think I needed the reminder that when it comes to Google apps (and any other web 2.0 app provider), we are the product, not the customer. They got what they wanted--gobs and gobs of data based on our musings and meanderings through their applications. What would be nice is to have a customer's GOLDEN PARACHUTE of sorts, at least some kind of data parachute, where we could keep or store our data for later use in some other application? Why not allow us to at least archive our data from these discontinued products in a "universal" format that can be utilized down the road--perhaps an XML file or something, ANYTHING. Otherwise, Google will be partly responsible (right!) for a digital dark age that it is helping to create by dumping not just apps, but years of user-created information. C'mon Google! Throw us a parachute or something! Give us a reason to believe you'll help us maintain a legacy of information more than a few years old.

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  40. This is really worrying - I am an avid Google Notebooker. If they can stop supporting something as useful and important as this, can we trust the same from Google Apps???? Will there come a time when our documents will no longer be supported? I am very concerned and very put off by this. My faith in Google has slipped badly....

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  41. No! No! No! Not Notebook!

    This is too good of a product, and it needs to be developed, redeveloped, and integrated into all your services. Is it less of a product than, say, Evernote? That questions is irrelevant, as its integration is what makes it so great. And it does (or did) just what you would expect it to do.

    I really hope this one is reconsidered, and if not, that it would be resurrected once the recession is turning around.

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  42. I made the decision to switch from Google Notebook (which was - and is - a great idea) to an unpaid Evernote account a couple of months ago, based mainly on my acquisition of an iPhone, which has an awesome Evernote app. So I am less heartbroken about the closure of GN than everyone else here.

    However, I wanted to point out that GN does indeed provide an XML "out". Under your list of notebooks, click on "manage notebooks". Then click on "export" for one of them. Choose "atom" format, and you will get an XML file.

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  43. I think they'll close down Google Search next - after all, nobody uses it.

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  44. As an avid user of Notebook I am greatly saddened that Google are cutting this excellent utility. As a Googlephile I have been very brand loyal but the scrapping of notebook has made me review the applications I use and I am already sampling and migrating content from Google apps to other services, such is my disappointment. I am sure many others will feel equally let down but at least it has made me diversify my providers of such services.

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  45. WSJ anticipated this move:

    "The financial crisis has created a new sense of urgency within the company. Top executives say they remain committed to projects they believe hold long-term potential, but are prepared to "starve" lesser ones. Among the projects whose future is uncertain are Google Notebook, a site for storing and taking notes on Web pages, and Google Audio Indexing, which allows users to search for phrases within online video footage of politicians, say people familiar with the matter."

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  46. But what about the Google Labs ? Why is it not available in both my Gmail accounts ?

    Thank you very much for enlightening me on this matter !

    (I wrote on January 16th, but I had no answer... )

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  47. Probably because you're using IE6, a browser released eight years ago. You should upgrade or switch to Firefox.

    http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=29418

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  48. Hello, Alex !

    Thank you for your answer!
    I use Mozilla Firefox 5.0, but the problem is still there : I can benefit of the really useful Google Labs only on one account.
    I tried to find a way to have the little google labs icon (the little green Erlenmeyer flask between the gmail address and the settings, in the right top corner), but I'm apparently not enough of a Miss Marple.

    And : I created a gmail account for my father one week ago, and again, no google labs icon .

    Thank you once more for your kind help,

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  49. more cutbacks...google can afford to keep this projects running, but i guess everyone got to watch the bottom line in these uncertain times. notebook will be missed by many i think

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  50. hi emilia, labs needs to be enabled in gmail settings to make it available

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  51. No! Not the Notebook! Please no.
    I'm working daily with my notebook and there are to many information I can't risk to loose them.

    Don't do that. Please

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  52. You can continue to use Google Notebook as it is today, but don't expect new features or other improvements.

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  53. The main reason I use Google Video these days is because I can upload long (45min - 1hr) videos, and there's no limit on how much I can upload in a week or month (and it's all free -- important because these are for a non-profit organization). Are there any other video hosting services with these features? YouTube doesn't allow the length, Vimeo doesn't allow the size...

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  54. Well, I'm back again.
    crumlin blinds dublin : thank you ! That's very nice of you ! I feel less bad about not being that much of a Miss Marple ! :)

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  55. yes it's really the that GOOGLE has many joining network relation

    thanks google & it's entire team

    thanks again

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  56. why google closes services,i think it going right because google is the right engine.google know which service is best or not

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  57. soy usuario compulsivo de notes, sugiero que cobren por el servicio yo estaria dispuesto a pagar 50 euros al año por el

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  58. The link to Google Notebook doesn't work; it goes to http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=gn and should be linked to http://www.google.com/notebook/

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  59. So sad to know this. Seems like google is wasting too much money. Poor google, it's products don't catch much attention.

    It wouldn't impress me if somehpw google closes all it's services, even google itself.

    I've seen this situations in the past...

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  60. On subjects of Trust Google is falling below ... investing time in Notebook was a lousy investment. I see that IGoogle is next. Google Bookmarks? Gmail? and what are they doing with all that data anyway?

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