It’s difficult to envision a corporation with so many resources failing. With an estimated 172 million unique visitors to its homepage each month, Google can (and frequently does) market its products. To put that in context, marketers spent an estimated $3.5 million for a 30-second advertisement during Super Bowl XLVI, which drew 111.3 million viewers. So, how can any of their goods fail?
Google services and products have improved the lives of computer enthusiasts, businesses, and anybody who has ever been interested enough to ask a query on the internet. We’re all familiar with Google Search, Gmail, Maps, Chrome, YouTube, and, of course, Android. New names have just been added to the Google Hall of Fame, most notably the Pixel smartphone brand and Google Assistant-powered Home smart gadgets.
Despite the Mountain View company’s numerous accomplishments, a slew of applications, gadgets, and other things it created or purchased eventually floundered and died, sometimes in an unceremonious manner.
Websites like Google Cemetery and Killed by Google (along with Ars Technica’s Google Kills Product series) are dedicated to documenting the big G’s defunct products, so we thought it would be amusing to sift through the corpses and compile a list of the most intriguing failed Google projects.
Here are some of the failed Google products in History
Nexus, oh Nexus. The Nexus smartphone series, one of Google’s most unfortunate tragedies, should come as no surprise to frequent Android Authority readers. While the “core” Android experience continues with the Pixel line and Android One phones, the Nexus brand provided us with some of the best devices ever created, with high-end specifications at low pricing. The Nexus series was never formally killed by Google, but it’s time to say goodbye to the lovely prince after three years in the wilderness.
This short-lived initiative was without a doubt one of the great concepts snuffed out by Google. The plan was to break down all of the primary smartphone components into modular pieces. Customers would update a single component rather than spending hundreds of dollars updating the complete phone. The grandiose plan was gradually watered down until Google pulled the plug entirely. In retrospect, this stings even more, as phones continue to exceed $1,000.
Google Reader was developed in 2005 as a free application for effortlessly aggregating RSS-enabled feeds from numerous websites. Despite admitting that Reader had a “loyal following,” Google chose to discontinue the program as part of its ruthless Spring cleaning in 2013, claiming a drop in usage. You can still combine your content feeds on PC using Feedly and other RSS services, and on Android with a slew of RSS applications accessible in the Google Play Store. Many people are still saddened by its demise.
Chromecast Audio was a spinoff of Google’s famous media caster that allowed users to stream digital music collections to non-smart speakers through a 3.5mm port or mini-TOSLINK socket. The Chromecast Audio was phased out in January 2019. I still use mine daily.
We had Google Talk before Hangouts, Allo, Messages, and Duo – Google’s earliest and possibly greatest chatting software. The service was free and incorporated with Gmail, allowing you to send and receive instant messages from any device within Google’s email client. You could even utilize Talk to make a live video call to someone with a premium Google Voice account. However, times have changed, and Google’s (doomed) aims to connect everything through Google Plus signaled the death of Talk. It was gradually phased out for Hangouts, which subsequently evolved into a pair of enterprise-focused applications for G Suite. Don’t panic; Google has far too many other applications and services for your texting and voice requirements.
The named iGoogle was a browser-based interactive home page loaded with web-based “gadgets.” To suit your needs, you might add and delete gadgets (basic widgets) or move them about inside the browser window. Google stated that the necessity for iGoogle has “eroded over time” as websites and mobile apps have matured. Many websites and Chrome extensions seek to replicate iGoogle’s widget-based pages, but none can equal the beauty of the original.
Google Play Editions
Google Play Edition phones were simply normal smartphones produced by Samsung, HTC, and other OEMs running stock Android. The series comprised Google Play versions of popular phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, Moto G, and HTC One, which were almost entirely accessible directly from Google. We don’t necessarily want Play Editions to return in their old form, but we’d love to see more Android One-fied devices on the market.
QuickOffice was the go-to office suite for Symbian and Palm smartphones before Google bought it. It also provided the de facto document, spreadsheet, and presentation editing tools for Android before the arrival of Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. By today’s standards, QuickOffice was a fantastic alternative to Microsoft Office for mobile platforms.
Google URL Shortener
Google shut down google, a simple service for shortening site URLs, just shy of its tenth birthday. In addition to reducing URLs, google links might connect online users to specific apps for iOS and Android. Google cited changes in how people access sites and information as the reason for terminating the URL-shrinking service, although it will be a shame to see the odd-looking small URLs disappear forever on March 30, 2019.
This was a useful sidebar application that could be installed on Linux, macOS, and Windows. It installed a search toolbox on your desktop and provided rapid access to a clock, weather, news feed, Gmail feed, and images saved locally on the PC, among other things. Google eliminated Desktop as it shifted its attention to cloud storage. It was a valuable piece of software that gradually became outdated as desktop operating systems began to have similar built-in functions.
Google Labs was a testing ground for new ideas, and it was responsible for many of the experiments mentioned in this article. The platform was operational for five years, during which time “adventurous users” had the opportunity to test Google’s projects and offer direct feedback to engineers and researchers. Google’s approach at the time was to “launch early and frequently,” but that appeared to shift when former CEO Larry Page declared the business needed to put “more wood behind fewer arrows.” A few days later, Google announced the closing of Google Labs, citing Page’s laborious wood-based example.
Google Now was a Search feature with fledgling voice capability that blasted Google app and Android users with predictive information cards. It was a necessary evil to bring us to the promised land of Google Assistant. Assistant’s better AI will eventually simplify all of Now’s more crowded UI components, transforming Now’s stiff, one-way discussions into something more natural.
Panoramio was a service acquired by Google in 2007 that depended on geo-located labeled photographs supplied by users. Panoramio was integrated into Google Earth so that viewers may see additional perspectives of a certain place. Despite the huge amount of image uploads, Google opted to discontinue Panoramio in favor of Google Maps for smartphones and the Local Guides program by 2016. By no means a horrible product, but obsolete at the time of its end.
Picasa, which was created by Lifescape, was a free picture organizer and editor for Linux, macOS, and Windows that Google acquired in 2004. Google canceled the desktop software in 2016 to concentrate completely on its successor, Google Photos. While some desktop users are still saddened by Picasa’s demise, Google Photos’ cross-platform functionality is a significant improvement.
You’ve certainly heard of at least a few of the items on this list, but chances are you had no idea Google had a web tool for displaying 3D representations of the human body. You may also be unaware that on April Fools’ Day 2011, the site displayed a cow instead of a human body. There was, in fact, a Google Cow.
With the launching of Google Podcasts in 2018, the big G entered the heavily fought podcast app field, but it wasn’t Google’s first foray into podcast applications on the Play Store. On the other hand, Google Listen did not live long, as other, better podcast applications pushed it down the ranks and finally into obscurity.
Answers were created to allow curious people to ask the internet hive mind questions in exchange for financial rewards, but it quickly degraded into a troll and spammer haven. It was succeeded by Google Questions and Answers, which was likewise decommissioned in 2014. For all of our quick-fire queries, we now have algorithm-based Google Search Answer Boxes.
Google Ride Finder
Did you know that Google had a ride-hailing business before Uber ever existed? Ride Finder used the user’s geolocation to discover local taxis, shuttles, or carpools in 14 cities across the United States. Because of the restricted service, it never really took off. Uber was founded the same year that Ride Finder went bankrupt, and the rest, as they say, is history.
We had Google Wave in the days before Slack. The web-based collaboration tool, which takes its name from the Firefly TV series, allows users to collaborate in so-called “waves.” Everyone who had access to a single wave could see the other participant’s type letter by letter in real-time as if they were speaking on an instant messenger. All modifications were saved on a timeline, so you could see what was changed and when. If it all sounds a little complicated and prone to misinterpretation, that’s because it was. Google abandoned the project shortly after Wave’s public launch and turned it over to the Apache Software Foundation, who renamed the service Apache Wave and finally terminated it in 2018.
After attempting and failing to acquire Groupon for an estimated $6 billion in 2010, Google opted to enter the deal-of-the-day coupon industry with its own service, Google Offers. Groupon is still active (for the time being), however, Google Offers was discontinued after three years. That tells you all you need to know.
These were some of the failed google products in history. Let us know if you miss any other google product that has failed earlier. You might have used some of these products in the past. Let us know if you miss any of these failed google products in the comment section below.