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Google's failed ideas: timeline of axed projects

Google

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 7 Aug 2012 at 14:57

Google has been culling its product list - but what's been axed so far?

After Larry Page took over as CEO from Eric Schmidt in January 2011, one of his first moves was to tighten Google's focus, cutting back on failed projects as well as well-loved experiments such as Labs.

With a new tranche of axed projects announced over the weekend, it looks as though the cuts are continuing - but while some may miss iGoogle, did anyone ever use Catalogs, Lively and Picasa Hello?

We've collected more than 50 of the cut projects below, showing how long they were with us before Google picked up its axe.

(Click on the icons above "Product" and hover at the top of the chart to sort by name or length of availability.)

The average age of projects is three and a half years, but most were about the five year mark. The One Pass content store lasted only a year, while Lively 3D chat died after half that, but the shortest lived was Google X, an Apple-style revamp of the search homepage that disappeared after a day. While the cuts started in earnest in 2011, some - think Buzz and Wave - were chopped after they failed to catch on with users.

Of course, it's only half-way through the year, so more projects could face the axe before the end of 2012. Which would you kill or save? Google+? Google TV? Let us know your thoughts - and if we're missing any in our collection of dead Google projects - in the comments below.

Data via Wikipedia, Google and PC Pro news stories. Data available here.

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User comments

ElectricPics

Let's hope Google don't get bored with Gmail then.

By ElectricPics on 8 Aug 2012

Of course they also sold Sketchup on to Trimble in April....I know that's not the same as being culled , but even so,it's no longer in their portfolio.

By Jaberwocky on 8 Aug 2012

i agree.....

Does anyone actually use Google+?
Definitely no facebook!

By bouncy1 on 8 Aug 2012

Of course they also sold Sketchup on to Trimble in April....I know that's not the same as being culled , but even so,it's no longer in their portfolio.

By Jaberwocky on 8 Aug 2012

@bouncy1

I've signed up to Google+ but I use Facebook more despite promising myself that I'd use it only for a login option.

By johnfair4 on 8 Aug 2012

I wish they would keep iGoogle. Nothing comes close to its functionality.

By llcoolj40 on 9 Aug 2012

RIP iGoogle

Another voite for iGoogle. As a freelance, i'm always on different computers. Since the announcement of iGoogle's future demise I've looked for alternatives and tried Netvibes and Protopage, but neither have the same level of functionality.

By pakawaka on 9 Aug 2012

Fail fast and often

Agile development works on creating a strawman and then iterating it into a working product.
It involves everyone in a fast moving, evolving programme with maximum input - effectively crowdsourcing development.

Good for Google.
They are involving us as part of their product development process in a way no-one else does. And getting better products more quickly as a result.

It is a model that journalists should embrace and promote, instead of knocking what they don't understand.

By PeterJohnston42 on 9 Aug 2012

Google+

It's a very clunky, confusing interface and since Google's spiders don't work with it. A blog is the only way to find something useful or important and all my friends still use Facebook (with ads blocked). I only ever use G+ for the automatic photo uploads from my Android phone. I guess I could probably just replace that functionality with a Photobucket or Flickr app, but I've put a fair bit of trust in that my photos won't just be deleted eventually, as I rarely keep photos from my phone now as a result. To be honest I wouldn't miss any of them as I also upload anything good to Facebook... it all goes into the "Mobile Uploads" album

By baldmosher on 9 Aug 2012

@peterjohson42

That's one take on it!
Another could be a company that rarely sees anything through and drops support even for products many people use when there's not a clear/high profit stream.
Consequently they may find that people will not commit money to a product they can not guarantee will still be around in 6 months time, let alone a couple of years!

I may have an android phone and the plethora of Google account products, but I've paid for few apps and will not commit wholly to the Google eco-system because I don't see then as a 'safe bet'!

By ITZ_Go_One on 9 Aug 2012

People who fear failure ...

... are happy to criticise Google, because they cannot understand why Google takes risks with products and services that don't ultimately work out.

Their '20% time' generates all sorts of ideas, and we should welcome the risks Google takes on some of the ideas that come out of this process, instead of knocking them because some of those risks don't work out - even when they are axing a service you like, e.g. iGoogle.

If Google didn't take those risks, we wouldn't have many of the services that we do use, and which are so successful.

Google's success is because they take risks, not despite the fact.

By rabigo on 11 Aug 2012

Every single idea that Google axed was brilliant and I'd blame nobody except the finance manager and/or the project manager who were never that passionate, perseverant and/or flexible enough to continue. Quitting is easiest, staying is the most difficult part.

By aatayyab on 2 Dec 2012

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