Much like humans, consumer products and technology solutions have a lifespan. They come into being and then deprecated over a period. It helps if you know the origin of success is in its ancestral failures. 166 Dead Google products and services succeeded by better alternatives through Google’s home innovation or market acquisition. If you are a startup founder or an entrepreneur with an excellent stint in failures, here’s an opportunity to reevaluate your product life cycle.
So, between 2006 and 2021, Google had 166 dead Google products across APIs, Apps, Hardware, Operating Systems (OS), SAAS solutions, etc. Some of the products include Google Hangouts (2013-2021), Translator Toolkit (2009-2019), Fusion Tables (2009-2019), Google Plus (2011-2019), G-Suite Training (2013-2019), Google Bulletin (2018-2019), Goo.gl (2009-2019), and Orkut (2004-2014) among 158 other solutions. Let’s review the brief history of the solutions now no more or reincarnated into a whole new species.
Google Hangouts (2013- Early 2021)
Research suggests that Google ordered the death of Hangouts around October 2020. The app finally succumbed in April 2021. Google Hangouts, a cross-platform messaging app, was a feature of Google+. Hangouts was born to Google+ Messenger and Google Talk in 2013 and now succeeded by Meet, Chat, and Google Voice.
Translator Toolkit (2009-2019)
The Translator Toolkit was an online computer-assisted translation tool (CAT). In the hay days of the app, it had great seekers amongst dominant language users. However, with advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies, as the discipline evolved to be more inclusive, Google Translate became the new cool joining a host of advanced web-based translation programs.
Fusion Tables (2009-2019)
Google’s Fusion Tables was a viewable and downloadable web service for data management to gather, visualize, and share data tables. Google Fusion Tables and the Fusion Tables API have been discontinued after nine years with no substantial reason but to focus on improved and specialized features that served as better alternatives, including BigQuery, Cloud SQL, Maps Platform, and Data Studio.
Google Plus (2011-2019)
In December 2018, Google announced the sunset of the social networking site Google Plus or G+ for low usage and product maintenance. After eight long years, in April 2019, Google buried Google+ in the cemetery of dead Google products making way for Currents, an enterprise tool for internal communication accessible through Google Workspace.
G-Suite Training (2013-2019)
G-Suite Training Center was the rebranding of Synergyse acquired in 2016 now reborn as Google Workspace Learning Center. Without any detailed explanation, Google discontinued the G-Suite extension, possibly deprecating the function due to misalignment of cost and output and other varying reasons. Now, Google Workspace has tied up with Byjus for another sprint.
Born in 2009, the URL shortening service from Google called the Google URL Shortener has now transitioned to Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). In March 2019, the service no longer available, redirecting users to the new Firebase console. The potential reason behind this could be attributed to better market alternatives such as Bit.ly and Ow.ly.
Google Bulletin (2018-2019)
Google killed their hyperlocal news service, Google Bulletin, in the womb, basically when it was still testing the waters. The feature allowed neighborhoods to post native news otherwise lost in the shuffle. We looked up Google Search and found no declaration by Google while the failure is documented on various sites. Let us know if you have any information about this abortion by Google.
Google Employee Orkut Büyükkökten’s Orkut was once a successful social media platform until Facebook jaunted. On June 30, 2014, Google scheduled the death of Orkut on September 30, 2014. There are plenty of case studies documenting the business model and what led it to its demise. As a product guy, you’ll feel some good vibes from Orkut’s determination to build Hello outside Googledom.
The dead Google products discussed here are documented at The Google Cemetery built by Naeem Noor, who was curious to know what befalls the products and services that Google acquires, often to kill small yet potential businesses and sometimes to phase out generational licenses to advance toward better user experience and new business model to profit. Naeem’s curiosity landed him a mountain of Google solutions now extinct. Cody Ogden built a similar mortuary: KilledbyGoogle, a bit more illustrated. Unsure of who set a precedent, we found that LifeHacker covered Naeem Noor’s The Google Cemetry and Cody Ogden’s KilledbyGoogle at a difference of a year.
Now, as of June 6, 2021, The Google Cemetery comprises the death of 9 software solutions, 9 social solutions, 109 services solutions, 1 SaaS product, 1 OS, 13 hardware solutions, 22 apps, and 10 APIs. At this point, an entrepreneur may see an opportunity in developing a new tool that can automatically analyze thousands of websites to identify if a dead Google product is slowing the site’s performance or crashing due to unsupported Google plugins. Visiting the analog of the dead and discontinued Google products may also help develop a better product with modern considerations. It is the same way Google reengineers the dead Google products.
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