Google Products Graveyard: Mourning Google Reader and Other Discontinued Google Products and Services
Google Reader is going away on July 1, leaving its small but loyal fan based scrambling to find a replacement RSS reader. (This longtime Google Reader user has been very happy since switching to Feedly.)
With Google Reader on its death bed, and iGoogle approaching the end as well, we thought it was high time we revisited some of the many other Google products that we’ve said goodbye to over the years. Many of these products were great ideas that just never caught on with a larger audience; some had overlapping functionality with other products, forcing Google to focus development efforts on one over the other. I still mourn the old, social version of Google Reader. Which Google product still haunts you from beyond the grave?
Our Google Graveyard infographic reviews some of the many great ideas that went dodo-wise at Google over the years. As Eric Schmidt, former Google CEO once said, “We celebrate our failures.” So today we celebrate 10+ years of Google product ghosts, with Google Reader being the latest to pass away.
Click the infographic to see the full-size version.
List of Google Products Retired and Discontinued Since 2006
What it did: An once-robust RSS reader with a small (in Google’s eyes) but very loyal fanbase.
What happened: Google stripped Reader of its social properties in October 2011, then finally axed the product. Date of death: July 2013.
What it did: A customizable homepage containing web feeds and Google Gadgets, launched in May 2005. Renamed iGoogle in April 2007.
What happened: Citing “erosion of the need for the site,” Google will retire iGoogle on November 1, 2013.
What it did: Desktop instant messaging service that provided text and voice communication.
What happened: Replaced by Google Hangouts on May 15, 2013.
What it did: Allows users to store, manage and share all their health and wellness information in one central place.
What happened: Development ceased June 24, 2011; accessible until January 1, 2012; data available for download until January 1, 2013.
What it did: Google’s attempt at a Wikipedia competitor, Knol enabled subject experts and other users to write authoritative articles related to various topics.
What happened: Content was not accessible after October 1, 2012.
Google Insights for Search
What it did: Similar to Google Trends, Insights for Search provided insight into popular search terms.
What happened: Discontinued since September 27, 2012. The functionality was merged with Google Trends.
What it did: An online photo editor. Before being acquired by Google in 2010, Picnik was the default photo editor in Flickr.
What happened: Closed on April 19, 2012.
What it did: Google Buzz was a social networking, microblogging and messaging tool that was integrated with Gmail, initially (to much chagrin) as an opt-out service.
What happened: Discontinued on December 15, 2011.
What it did: A social search service that facilitated Q&A sessions over live chat, intended to match askers with good answerers.
What happened: Acquired for $50 million in February 2010, Aardvark was discontinued in September 2011.
What it did: Sidewiki was a browser sidebar tool that allowed users to contribute information to any web page.
What happened: Killed in September 2011 along with a host of other unsuccessful products.
What it did: A free application that allowed users to save clips of information in an online “notebook.”
What happened: Discontinued in September 2011. Google launched a similar product, Google Keep, in March 2013.
What it did: As the name implies, an online dictionary service.
What happened: Shut down without warning in August 2011; part of the functionality was integrated with the define: operator.
What it did: A “playground” where adventurous users could test and provide feedback on prototype projects.
What happened: Discontinued in July 2011.
What it did: Released as an invite-only preview in 2009, Google Wave was a framework that allowed real-time collaborative editing with elements of email, IM, wikis, and social networking.
What happened: Google ceased development of Wave in August 2010 due to lack of interest
What it did: This feature allowed logged-in users to annotate and re-order search results.
What happened: Search Wiki was discontinued in March 2010.
What it did: Google bought Dodgeball, a mobile social networking service, in 2005. Its founder went on to leave Google and form Foursquare.
What happened: Google killed Dodgeball in 2009, replacing it with Google Latitude.
What it did: Jaiku is to Twitter as Dodgeball is to Foursquare: This microblogging service was so named because the posts resembled haiku.
What happened: Google stopped development on Jaiku in 2009.
What it did: A 3D animated chat program, using avatars, that was only supported on Windows.
What happened: Google Lively only lived six months, going to the chopping block in December 2008.
Google Page Creator
What it did: A basic website creation and hosting tool that required no HTML knowledge.
What happened: Canned in 2008.
What it did: Zeitgeist was a collection of popular search queries, including weekly, monthly and yearly lists, plus topic and country specific lists.
What happened: Closed May 2007 and replaced by Hot Trends, a dynamic feature in Google Trends.
What it did: Google's answer to Yahoo Answers employed paid researchers and asked users to bid for a response to their question.
What happened: Users preferred their answers free, and the product was killed in December 2006.
Other discontinued and abandoned Google products include Google X, Google Catalog, Google Web Accelerator, Google Video Player, Google Audio Ads, Google Sets, SearchMash, and Writely.
With Google Reader going away next week, are you still in a state of shock or have you already moved on? (Body’s not even cold yet!) Which dead Google feature do you miss the most?