Google is scrapping several services as part of what the company terms an ongoing effort to create a “more seamless, beautiful user experience.” The services are all being folded into or replaced by other Google services, rather than having their functionality completely eliminated.
Apps for Teams, Listen, Video for Biz, Blogs on Chopping Block
Google is discontinuing its Google Apps for Teams, Google Listen and Google Video for Business services, as well as select Google-created blogs. Following is a brief review of the how and why for each:
- Google Apps for Teams Gets Personal -- Google began offering Google Apps for Teams in 2008 to allow people with a verified business or school email address to collaborate using non-email applications from Google like Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Talk. However, Google says it has discovered the service is less useful than expected, so on Sept. 4, 2012 the company will start converting existing Google Apps for Teams accounts into personal Google accounts and shutting down Google Apps for Teams. This change does not affect other editions of Google Apps.
- Google Listens to Changes in Podcast Market -- Google launched Google Listen through Google Labs in August 2009 as a means of discovering and listening to podcasts. The company says Google Play now makes Google Listen redundant, so as of Nov. 1, 2012 existing users will still have access to the app but podcast search will not work. Podcast subscriptions will be accessible via Google Reader.
- Google Video for Business Drives Away -- The Google Video for Business video hosting and sharing solution has allowed Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers to use video for internal communication. Starting this fall, Google will migrate all videos hosted on Google Video for Business over to Google Drive. All migrated videos will be stored for free and will not count against a user’s Google Drive storage quota.
- Google Streamlines Blogs -- Finally, Google says it will streamline its current offering of more than 150 company-created blogs that are either updated infrequently or are redundant with other blogs. The company promises it will not cut back on how much information it posts, but just make postings to more popular blogs.
If Services are Canceled and Nobody Uses Them, Will Anybody Notice?
The Android Authority blog seems to think that at least in this instance, Google is getting rid of services that most people do not use. Referring to Apps for Teams, Listen and Video for Business as “services you probably never heard of before,” a blog posting asks the open question whether anyone has used them or will miss them. Android Authority does credit Google for its “penchant for adding so many products and services to its lineup and also for “not having any qualm about dismissing the less than successful ones.”
In With the New
Whether these services were especially popular or not, Google is once again proving its commitment to continually reinventing and improving the services and features it offers. The company only released Google Drive in April of this year, offering free cloud storage for up to 5 GB of images, videos and documents. Google Drive is essentially a replacement of the Google Docs service and in fact, Google considers Drive to be an “upgrade” of Google Docs.
And while it does not appear to threaten the existence of any current Google services, the recent Google purchase of social business startup Wildfire Interactive further demonstrates Google’s commitment to refreshing itself as the needs of end users evolve at a rapid pace.