Google's continuing “spring cleaning” effort, which actually began last fall and has closed or combined more than 30 products since, is eliminating several more products Google now considers obsolete or redundant. These include Google Mini, Google Talk Chatback, Google Video, iGoogle and the Symbian Search App.
On The Chopping Block -- An Overview
Google says that Google Mini, a Google Search tool specifically aimed at small businesses that features simplified deployment and licensing as well as a specialized cost structure, has “had a good run” but has functionality that can now be better provided by products including Google Search Appliance, Google Site Search and Google Commerce Search. Google Mini will be officially discontinued on July 31, but Google promises to continue to provide technical support to Mini customers for the duration of their contracts.
Meanwhile, Google says Google Talk Chatback, which allowed websites to embed a Google Talk widget so that they could engage with their visitors, is “outdated.” Google will encourage Google Talk Chatback users to switch to the Meebo bar, which is designed to create unique Web experiences for sites to help drive engagement and brand awareness while providing incremental revenue to Meebo’s publisher partners.
Google Video stopped taking uploads in May 2009, about two-and-a-half years after Google purchased dominant online video platform YouTube. Google Video users have until August 20, 2012 to migrate, delete or download their content. Google says it will then move all remaining Google Video content to YouTube as private videos that users can access in the YouTube video manager.
Google is taking a slightly longer-term phaseout approach to its iGoogle mobile service, which will shut down for good on November 1, 2013. According to Google, with “modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android (Google interestingly leaves out iOS), the need for iGoogle (which launched in the mobile Dark Ages of 2005) has eroded over time.”
Also on the mobile side of things, Google says it will “soon” (no specific timeline given) retire its Symbian search app to focus on mobile web search. According to Google, “Switching from the app to the web experience will enable users to make the most of the web-wide improvements we make for search all the time.”
Out With The Old, In With The New
Google’s non-seasonally-specific spring cleaning effort coincides with a large push to stay current with the rapidly changing pace of technology by releasing new products and services. Just in the past few months, Google has introduced a new initiative under the DoubleClick banner called the Brand Activate Initiative, designed to meet the challenge of measuring changes in brand favorability of large-scale entities like a movie, a whole online campaign, fashion range or other multi-pronged event.
Google has also recently started transitioning Google Docs to Google Drive, which aims make it easier for users to create, gain access to and manage Google Docs while offering more free storage, and upgraded its Google BigQuery service to allow users to run queries against massive data sets using a SQL-like language.
Google is smart to realize that tech users have little to no sentimentality and are constantly on the lookout for the latest and greatest features and functions. Other IT providers might also want to do a little spring cleaning, and not be afraid to retire or reconfigure once cherished product and services when they are no longer leading edge.