Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Google Dumps Five More Products, Including Onetime High-Flier iGoogle

Google today said it would discontinue a bunch of products, many of them five or six years old — a.k.a. dinosaurs in Internet years.

Perhaps the most notable shutdown is the iGoogle personalized home page, which many people still use and rely on. As an indication of the size of that user base, Google is waiting all the way until Nov. 1, 2013, to retire the product, a full 16 months. Everything else in the batch is shutting down later this summer.

Google said today that iGoogle’s value had “eroded over time” with the growth of personalized, real-time apps for Chrome and Android.

IGoogle launched in 2005, though it wasn’t officially given the name until 2007, after becoming Google’s “fastest-growing product” with tens of millions of users, according to a report from the time.

Also, in a show of support for the Meebo Bar, for which Google just paid $100 million, Google is shutting down an embedded chat product called Google Talk Chatback and encouraging Web sites to use Meebo instead.

Another cut is Google Mini, part of Google’s enterprise search products since 2005. Some customers are still under contract with that product, and Google said it would continue to support them.

Google Video, the one-time YouTube competitor that somehow hasn’t died yet, will finally cease hosting content, with everything left set to be migrated as private videos to YouTube. The Google Video team now works on video search.

And last, Google is retiring its Symbian Search app and encouraging users to use the mobile Web instead.

The additional subtractions bring Google to a total of about 35 discontinued products over the past nine months, including Gears, Knol, WaveBuzz, Code SearchAardvark, Google Labs, Slide, One Pass and the Google Flu Vaccine Finder.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work