Google, one of the Internet's darling companies, is finally starting to feel the economic downtown. Changes are headed for a few Google services including Google Notebook, Google Catalogs, Dodgeball, Google Video, Google Mashup Editor and messaging service Jaiku.
While these services have a strong following, they don't fit in with Google's long term strategy and are, therefore, being jettisoned to save on personnel time and upkeep.
What Types of Changes Should We Expect?
Jaiku is a micro-blogging platform that Google acquired in late 2007. The product is popular and more fully-featured than the more well-known Twitter, but the code base hasn't been touched since the acquisition. The service has floundered as a result. The product is being ported to the Google App Engine, and Google will then open source the Jaiku code base. The service will run in its current state with no future development.
Google Video is being cut out in favor of YouTube. This closure seems like a low hanging fruit. It is surprising that it has taken Google this long to slash the Google Video product, as supporting an alternative to YouTube doesn't seem to make any sense.
Google Notebook is losing all development resources dedicated to the product. Notebook will be available for the foreseeable future for current users, but won't take on any new users.
Google suggests using Google Docs, Google Bookmarks and Tasks inside Gmail as replacement services.
Dodgeball is an SMS service that Google bought in 2005. The service allows you to advertise your location to friends via SMS and enables meetups when your friends are nearby. Google said the service would be completely shut down in a matter of months.
Google Mashup Editor is a platform for creating simple web applications based on mash ups of existing services to be shut down as Google focuses on the more useful Google App Engine.
Google's Catalog Search was a proof of concept to show off Optical Character Recognition. However, since Catalog Search's launch, Google Book Search inherited the OCR technology and now will get more attention as Catalog Search is shut down.
Doing Too Much?
Google has been on an acquisition spree in the last few years, and it's obvious the company has awoken to this idea. Cutting these services will allow resources to be assigned to projects and products that help Google's bottom line. We are on the lookout for more services to be cut, with potential candidates being GrandCentral, Google Base and Google Knol.
One publication has questioned whether the closure of Jaiku and Dodgeball indicate that Google has a weak mobile play. This seems atrocious when you look at Google's other mobile products including Google Mobile Search, Goog 411, Google Maps For Mobile and they are doing very well in terms of usage. Also, Jaiku and Dodgeball have been replaced by other products in the market that have a wider audience and a current business plan.
By making these cuts, Google is simply paring down its offerings and concentrating on the ones that are pertinent to the markets the company is trying to make money in.