Google has earned a reputation for placing little sentimental value on products that theyve created. Regardless of a product's popularity amongst users, once the order is given, development and support often come to a screeching halt. In some instances, access to a product vanishes altogether with little or no explanation from Google as to why the product was terminated. In this post, we will revisit 10 Google products that fell victim to the unmerciful Google Guillotine.
Introduced in April of 2007, Googles telephone service provided users with free local directory assistance, which was a popular alternative to the often expensive 411 service provided by telecommunication and mobile companies. The product was terminated on November 12, 2010, most likely due to the ever increasing popularity of smart phones.
Billboards like this one were placed across various cities in the United States and Canada to advertise GOOG-411.
2. Google Video
In January of 2005, the search giant threw its hat into the then emerging ring of free online video sharing with Google Video. Fans praised the service for allowing users to remotely embed videos on other websites without running into bandwidth and storage capacity issues. In October of 2006, Google bought former competitor YouTube. By 2009, as YouTube became the clear favorite amongst users, Google Video ended the ability for users to upload videos. Since then, the service has been renamed Google Videos and operates as a video search engine that indexes videos from many popular video hosts.
3. Google Wonder Wheel
Googles keyword research and discovery tool was well-received by SEOs and PPC campaign mangers when it was first introduced in May of 2009. Unfortunately, the Wonder Wheel took its last spin on July 20th of this year. Its removal might be a protective measure to keep webmasters from gaming the search engines algorithm.
4. Google Answers
Starting in April of 2003, Googles question and answer service allowed users to pay researchers to answer questions for them. By November of 2006, the service was closed. All Google Answers discussions, however, were publicly archived. Since then, Google has acquired Aardvark as their Q&A service, though much hasnt been done with it since the acquisition.
5. Google Wave
On May 27, 2009, Google intended to win businesses and individuals over with the announcement of its project management tool that allowed for real-time collaborative editing. However, its very restricted invite-only trialing period prevented users from communicating and collaborating with others. Due to users lack of interest in the product, Google announced on August 4, 2010 that Wave would no longer be developed as a standalone product. It has since then been renamed Apache Wave, after the product was taken on by Apache Software Foundation.
6. Google Lively
In July of 2008, Google released their web-based virtual environment to compete with the likes of SecondLife. The project, created by Googler Niniane Wang during her 20 percenttime, was scrapped on December 31, 2008.
7. Google X
March 15, 2005 serves as a reminder of arguably the most bizarre product launches in the search engines history, Google X. Google introduced on its homepage a traditional search bar with what looked to be a dock user interface similar to that of Apples Mac OS X operating system. Mysteriously, it was pulled the very next day.
8. Google Labs
On July 11, 2011, Google delivered a major blow to the developer community by announcing that they were shutting down Google Labs to focus on more crucial matters. Google first titled Google Labs, their website dedicated to demonstrating and testing new projects, in 2006.
9. Google Web Accelerator
On May 4, 2005 Google Web Accelerator was released, it used caching technologies on a users computer to speed page load times. The product was made unavailable on January 20, 2008, only a couple of months before its 3rd birthday.
10. Google Toolbar for Firefox
July 7, 2011 marked Googles announcement that it was also ending Google Toolbar development. Since its inception in December of 2000, Google Toolbar has had its supporters and pundits. There were users that said it streamlined their search and overall web browsing experience, and there were those that claimed that it was a nuisance that invaded their privacy. Regardless of where you stand on the argument, the toolbar had a pretty good 11 year, 7 month run.
Brian Flores is a SEO and blogger for InMotion Hosting, a provider of virtual private servers in the United States. You can follow him on Twitter @BrianAFlores.