Larry Page has been hacking at superfluous projects since he took Google’s reins in April. Most recently, Google halted the Google Friends newsletter – but that’s far from the whole story. Here are seven Google projects that have been shut down in the last four months.
1. The Google Friends Newsletter
As announced on July 29, the Google Friends newsletter – a 13-year-old publication started by Page himself – has seen its last issue. In its shutdown notice, the newsletter informs users that Google’s other outlets (the company blogs, Twitter, etc.) have become far more popular, while Google Friends remained stagnant. You can, however, still check out the archive, which includes some great early Google news and tips, such as this:
2. A Whole Lot of APIs
When Page stepped in, he decided to let numerous APIs depreciate, including some that were very popular (such as Google Translate). However, several APIs were closed down with essentially no warning at the beginning of June. Those included the Code Search API, Diacritize API, Feedburner APIs, Finance API, Power Meter API, Sidewiki API, and the Wave API.
3. The Firefox Toolbar
The Google Toolbar (GTB) for Firefox was shut down on the 19th. As one of the most popular additions to Firefox, the GTB shutdown caused a lot of whining – much of which claimed Google was just trying to shuffle users onto Chrome.
4. The Google Directory
Google’s Directory, launched back in 2000 to compete with Yahoo, saw its final hour without any fanfare. The new home page simply tells people to head over to DMOZ, the open directory that Google pulled much of its content from.
5. Google Health
Last month, Google Health, a project designed to track and organize medical data, was shut down. Google saw that other tools had become more powerful while privacy advocates grew more concerned, and interest in Google Health failed to rise much at all.
6. Google PowerMeter
At the same time that Google Health died, PowerMeter – a project designed “to raise awareness about the importance of giving people access to data surrounding their energy usage – was powered down. Google indicated that this project had run its course, providing a lot of important information and setting an example for others – including the U.S. Government – to follow.
7. Google Labs
Perhaps the most important shut-down was Google Labs, which hosted a wide variety of small, would-be projects. As the company’s flagship of innovation without commitment, the shutdown is representative of Page’s new focus.
So that leaves us with one big question: What’s next on the project chopping block?