Google folds more of its failing products

Google is closing some more of its failing products in what it calls an "off-season spring cleaning series". The latest round of casualties includes Knol, Google Friend Connect, Google Gears, Google Search Timeline, and Google Bookmarks Lists.

Google is closing some more of its failing products in what it calls an "off-season spring cleaning series". The latest round of casualties includes Knol, Google Friend Connect, Google Gears, Google Search Timeline, and Google Bookmarks Lists. As for Google Wave, the company says: "on April 30 we will turn it off completely". It's a useful reminder that web-based and cloud services can be killed off at any time, without consultation, even if the company behind them doesn't go bust. (Google is extremely profitable.)

In a blog post, More spring cleaning out of season, Google says that "Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will stop working across all browsers" on December 1, while Google Bookmarks Lists will end on December 19.

Knol -- Google's attempt to kill Wikipedia -- will keep working until April 30, 2012, but Google is encouraging users to move their content to Annotum. This is "an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress".

In the first round of spring cleaning, on September 2, Google announced the death of Aardvark, Google Desktop, FastFlip, the GooglePack software bundle, Google Web Security (acquired with Postini), Google Notebook and Sidewiki.

In the second round, Google shuttered Google Labs, Code Search, Buzz, the bought-in Jaiku product, and the Boutiques.com and former Like.com websites. Following the launch of Google+, Google said "we will remove iGoogle's social features on January 15, 2012". Google has already killed off the social features in Google Reader.

In July, before this "spring/autumn cleaning" started, Google closed Google Directory, and Google PowerMeter, and said it would close Google Health on January 1, 2012.

Anyone who wants to create a Top 20 Google Failures could consider these along with Google Wave, Google Searchwiki, Google Video, Google Catalog, Google Answers, Google Viewer, Google Checkout, Google Web Accelerator and Google Page Creator. Google's Orkut social network -- which appeared before Facebook -- continues: apparently it's popular in Brazil.

It's not clear whether there are any more spring cleaning announcements to come. Apart from Orkut, Google Reader and Google Groups, there's not much left that Google could easily close.

@jackschofield

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