Googles creep towards a presence that is literally everywhere in the online world makes it seem as if everything it touches turns to gold. Their flagship search engine, Gmail, the Android operating system and the web browser Chrome would make any parent proud.
But Google does have some children who failed to live up to expectations and were abandoned on the mountainside, like less-hardy Spartan infants. The message: you can't be everything all at once.
10. Shared Stuff
As a social bookmarking service, Shared Stuff never really took off. It wasnt properly integrated into Googles suite of products, it was buggy and it didnt cover any ground that sites like Delicious (then styled del.icio.us) werent doing better.
In the end, Google cut their losses and abandoned the service, while some of the better Shared Stuff ideas have shown up in the more popular Google Reader. Google knows a thing or two about synergy, after all.
One of the most appealing parts of the Google experience is the simplicity and user-friendliness of its products. Google Wave was given a wave of publicity likening it to the social networks that Google was eyeing suspiciously.
It turned out to be more of a business-type application, suitable for collaborative working, but many users wouldnt have gotten far enough to figure that out: an introductory tutorial video that lasted more than an hour should have given Google an early hint.
Google just cant seem to get a handle on social networking.
Their microblogging site Jaiku was another such project that failed. There was nothing wrong with Jaiku. In fact there still isnt. While Google is no longer developing the project, it is still functional. It just never took off, possibly because it didnt fill a niche that Twitter wasnt exploiting successfully already. And nobody wants to tweet on two different platforms.
In 2005 Google acquired two new properties: the Android software system, and Dodgeball, a social service for mobiles. Sadly, Android seems to have quickly outgrown its playmate.
Google shut down Dodgeball in 2009 and is trying to cover the same ground with Google Latitude. At least Android is working out okay, although it must irritate Google that they cant popularize the software that would like to run on it. Another one of Google's children that didn't get picked for the team.
The writing was on the wall for Google Video as soon as YouTube came on the scene a month later, with the latter's high user base and well-known logo causing Googles eyes to wander and purchase its competitor in 2006.
So, Google Video (now Google Videos) is being phased out, with YouTube taking over its video uploads. Again, it wasnt so much that Google Video failed as that another product was just doing the same thing better. To the victor the spoils; that'd be YouTube... then Google.
SearchMash had a lot of interesting features, especially the ability for users to reorder " or mash up " their own search results with simple dragging and dropping. In fact, some people were quite content with this new product and used SearchMash as their default search engine instead of the standard Google Search.
Unfortunately, Google wasnt very happy with this uptake, as users of SearchMash bypassed the ads which are Googles bread and butter. SearchMash was killed off in 2008 and SearchWiki released as its replacement, offering many of the same features but, crucially, this time from the main search engine, complete with ads. In this case, it seems that service didn't always come first.
4. Google Answers
Google Answers was essentially a way for lazy people to outsource their googling. Users could post questions, offering $2 to $200 for the answer, as supplied by freelance researchers.
The site never had a large uptake " no doubts because people would sooner get their answers for free " and a large amount of the user base was made up of internet trolls.
This, combined with the platform's low visibility and user dissatisfaction that notifications were not dispatched when their questions were answered, is likely what led to the shutdown of the service in late 2006 " leaving many people even more mystified than they were already...
3. Google Buzz
Buzz is still going, but its not certain for how much longer. Intended to allow easy sharing of various online activities between Google users with Gmail accounts, it integrates various Google applications and services. Widely panned by critics and dogged by privacy concerns, it hasnt made much of an impact on the internet social space, and seems to be yet another failed entry into the social networking sphere.
Once again, like the awkward kid at the party, Google fails at networking.
2. Google Lively
If Google had another tagline to go along with Dont be evil, it would probably be Make lots of money " and Lively, the big G's web-based virtual world, didnt.
Second Life was already on the scene for casual users, offered a much bigger world to explore and allowed users to buy and sell items. What's more, Lively wasn't cut out for use by companies that use avatars for collaboration like IBM.
Lively is now very much dead.
1. Google Print Ads & Google Radio Ads
Forays into the world of print and radio ads by an online search engine seem strange enough, but when that search engine is the one that revolutionized online advertising to such an extent that a high Google ranking can make or break a business, it descends into farce.
Google cut the program in early 2009, after little more than 2 years of experimentation. More traditional media must have been devastated " a lifeline of revenue from the online world withdrawn at the last minute.