Some Promising Apps & Services That Google Killed Over The Years
Google has eliminated almost 200 applications, services and hardware projects to date.
I never took Google for a cold-hearted executioner but when you have almost 198 deaths against your name you can’t think otherwise.
Okay, I’m kidding about the whole “cold-hearted executioner” bit but I’m not about the 198 deaths. Turns out that ever since its inception, Google has terminated almost 198 apps and services including hardware from its extensive portfolio.
The most recent casualty was American Singer John Legend’s voice for the Google Assistant which was discontinued on 23 March 2020.
It’ll be tough for me to highlight all the services, apps and hardware that Google has ended so here’s a look some of the well-known ones.
Picasa was a free image organising and editing platform for Windows, MacOS, and Linux and was purchased by Google in 2004. The desktop version of the platform was discontinued in 2016 to focus on its upgraded Google Photos which is what we use today.
Picasa was 13 years old when it was discontinued.
2. Orkut (2004-2014)
The social networking website, Orkut, was a hit among a lot of people between 2005-2009 when they were building a circle of friends online. It was most popular in Brazil and India.
It couldn’t stand against the popularity of Facebook as people started migrating to the Zuckerberg-owned platform which led to the fall of Orkut and then instant demise in 2014.
Orkut has a community of almost 300 million users.
3. Google Talk (2005-2013)
Online chat apps were growing near 2004-2005 when Google decided to introduce its first chat app, Google Talk, which later was more popularly known as Google Chat. This service was free and integrated into Gmail and later came as a standalone app on Android and iOS platforms.
Sadly Google decided to pull the plug on Google Talk in 2017. After that Google’s Hangouts was a more popular chat app but even that hasn’t been doing well as Google has decided to discontinue it later this year.
4. Google Nexus (2010-2016)
These were some of the best smartphones in the market which were manufactured by HTC, LG, Huawei and even Motorola under Google’s umbrella.
After Google decided to go solo in 2016, the Nexus project was terminated and Google was selling smartphones under the Pixel brand.
5. Google+ (2011-2019)
It was just last year that Google decided it will be ending services and updates for the Google+ suite of apps. The whole service was embroiled in controversy as data of millions of Google+ users was leaked online.
Succumbing to the pressure from angered users and media, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company will be ending the service in April 2019.
6. Google Glass (2013-2015)
One of the dream projects of the company, Google Glass was an aspirational prototype that was looking to combine augmented reality in hardware as big as eyewear. It was discontinued in 2015 primarily for two reasons: a retail price of $1,500 (Rs 1.14 lakh today) and clunky design.
Also, considering it wasn’t as powerful as Microsoft’s HoloLens, Google thought it would be best for the company to part ways with the project.
7. Project Ara (2013-2016)
What was going to be the future of smartphones turned out to be an over-ambitious project that Google took up in order to capture the eyes of the media and also maybe increase its stock prices.
Project ARA was based around smartphone modular technology where you would have been able to combine different components to make a smartphone. According to Project ARA, you would be able to detach a piece of hardware (like the camera module) and attach an upgrade on the same phone.
Sadly, such technology couldn’t see the light of day as it was discontinued in 2016.
8. Chromebook Pixel (2013-2017)
The Chromebook Pixel was a first-of-its-kind laptop that ran on ChromeOS which was killed in 3 years' time. It stopped receiving software updated in 2018.
Unlike the Nexus smartphones, Google did not disclose who it was manufacturing the hybrid laptop with.
Later, on 4 October 2017, the company announced the Pixebook series as the successor to the Chromebook.
9. Allo (2016-2019)
Google’s Allo was a chat app developed to take on the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. However, it failed miserably in a market which is still being dominated by Facebook’s WhatsApp.
Allo did introduce some features like Smart Reply and a desktop version of the app but it still couldn’t offer enough to replace other chat apps.
Google decided that Allo wasn’t going to sustain in a highly competitive market and ended support for Allo in March 2019.
10. Areo (2017-2019)
Not many know this but Google also ventured into the food and home service applications with Areo in 2017. The app was designed to be an aggregator for food deliveries and services which cater to day-to-day requirements.
At that time it even partnered with Foodpanda and Faasos for food delivery.
There were issues with the app as people complained their money was getting deducted without services getting confirmed. This and many other issues led to Google discontinuing Areo last year.
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