Google announced that several products will be shut down by January 15, 2012. This includes Google Buzz, Code Search, the University Research Program for Google Search, iGoogle social features, Jaiku, and several APIs associated with these services.
The Products Slated for Closure
Google is continuing its trend of narrowing focus with the announcement of a "fall sweep." In this case, what's being swept away is a number of products that haven't been popular enough for Google to warrant continued support and development. As mentioned above, those products include:
- Google Buzz. This is certainly the most noteworthy shutdown, although far from the least predictable. Buzz was introduced in February of 2010 and garnered lots of early attention, but failed to gain traction or long-term support. Buzz will be shut down in the next "few weeks."
- Code Search. This niche search tracked down open source code, but both it and its API will be closed for business on January 15th, 2012.
- University Research Program for Google Search. This program gave academic researchers API access to search results, but will discontinue on January 15th, 2012.
- iGoogle social features. While iGoogle will continue as normal, all features that gave social capabilities will be closed in favor of Google+ on January 15th, 2012.
- Jaiku. This social updating feature acquired by Google in 2007 will be shut down on January 15th, 2012.
Those who actively use any of the above-listed products should still be able to retrieve their information before shutdown. Several of the services include a built-in export feature, which will continue to work as normal until the shutdown date, while Google Takeout can be used to download your Buzz information.
The Significance of the Shutdowns to Google's Strategy
The biggest announcement on this list is the imminent shutdown of Google Buzz, a service long considered dead in the water but that Google held to anyway. Especially with the marketplace presence of Google+, a social network that's actually succeeding, it's only logical to shut Buzz down.
As Bradley Horowitz, the Google VP for Google+, puts it, "Changing the world takes focus on the future, and honesty about the past." So, while Google "learned a lot from products like Buzz," it's still time to lay the service to rest. The same applies to all of Google's other small social forays which haven't been folded into Plus just yet.
We previously discussed what seemed to be Google's "Strategy of Everything", and the insustainability of that tactic. It seems that in the Larry Page / Plus era of Google, the company agrees with those concerns.
In addition to the shut-downs mentioned above, numerous other Google products have been shut down. That includes Google Labs, which saw official closure on October 14th, and Boutiques.com and Like.com, both of which now redirect to Google Product Search.
So now the fun question, and an opportunity for major betting pools: What will Google shut down next?