Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

Summary: Google has given word that Aardvark, Google Desktop, Fast Flip, Google Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Google Notebook, Sidewiki, and Subscribed Links will be shut down over the next few months.

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While most of the United States was getting ready for the long Labor Day weekend, Google used Friday afternoon to announce that over the next several months, it will be discontinuing Aardvark, Google Desktop, Fast Flip, Google Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Google Notebook, Sidewiki, and Subscribed Links.

In the official blog entry, Google refers to the announcement as a "fall spring-clean," tidying up the search giant's overall portfolio and fulfilling CEO Larry Page's July promise to put "more wood behind fewer arrows." And apparently, some offerings will be integrated into existing Google products in the form of new features.

I couldn't help but notice that the product offerings slated for the chopping block generally fall into two key categories: social tools and desktop software.

When it comes to the realm of social, Google obviously has a newfound focus on the troubled Google+ network, and experiments like the collaboration tool Sidewiki and crowdsourced search engine Aardvark understandably and inevitably had to fall to the wayside.

And Google has given a lot of lip service to its focus on staying "100% web" and keeping its applications browser-based. That means that downloadable desktop software like, ahem, Google Desktop and Google Pack are officially obsolete with the availability of offline mode in Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Calendar.

For more details on the timeline and short-term future of each product mentioned here, that same Google blog entry mentioned above has the scoop. But here's what the big G says about the overall transition (emphasis mine):

It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people. All the Googlers working on these projects will be moved over to higher-impact products. As for our users, we’ll communicate directly with them as we make these changes, giving sufficient time to make the transition and enabling them to take their data with them.

This is the second batch of products that Google has shut down in the last few weeks, with Slide apps getting discontinued as well. But at least the company is reaffirming its commitment to letting customers take their data with them when they go.

Topics: Laptops, Apps, Google, Hardware, Mobility

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16 comments
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  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    Was anybody surprised? Google has a strategy of releasing half baked products by the truckload & check which sticks. Apple has a strategy to release close to perfect products even if limited in functionality. MS stays somewhere in the middle in general & their strategy apes Google or Apple in different products.
    mm71
    • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

      @mm71 Expect to see some of these services resurrected in Google+!
      euph0ria
    • Google = epic failure

      This is why Ballmer called them one-trick pony. It's some kinda failure when you can make Ballmer sound visionary.
      LBiege
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    Next up: ChromeOS.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

      @Cylon Centurion

      +1.
      Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

      @Cylon Centurion

      True dat. OTOH everything that caused the leap from Eclair to Honeycomb suggests that Android is slowly emerging as a viable alternative on the desktop front.
      bojan@...
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    Well, I'd like to keep Google Desktop around, but never use the others. Desktop does a much better job of searching my system than Windows does, and gives me constant at-a-glance access some other useful stuff.
    caddickj
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    A real shame, I am left without a viable alternative. Windows Desktop search never plays nice with network shares, Coppernic lacks 64 bit compatibility, in this day and age!
    BuckoA51
  • 1 to stay up with Google Desktop

    I didn't ever heard about many of the rest noted here, but I use DAILY and in many computers (not all mine) Google Desktop and would be a pain to loose it. :(
    nanomartin
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    And nothing of value was lost.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    I just got a $829.99 iPad2 for only $103.37 and my mom got a $1499.99 HDTV for only $251.92, they are both coming with USPS tomorrow. I would be an idiot to ever pay full retail prices at places like Walmart or Bestbuy. I sold a 37" HDTV to my boss for $600 that I only paid $78.24 for. I use Bidsgetdotcom
    joshuawilliam
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    Ah, man... Not Fast Flip! That was a great news and article aggregator. I used it all the time. Daily. There are so few good aggregators... and now one less. :(
    aart12
  • Google Fast Flip Shutting Down! Noooooo

    I was using Fast Flip daily. It sucks to see it go. My organization teaches speed reading classes and we used to recommend this site as a good way to read things quickly online. Now that it's gone, we're planning to create a similar, but better, app. See here: http://www.irisreading.com/fastflip
    pnowak1
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    Don't be at all surprised to find many of these services nearly exactly resurrected in Google+ I don't believe they are getting rid of the services because they are not useful or viable, rather exactly the opposite! They're taking some of the best and consolidating them into Google+
    euph0ria
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    Well, there goes my Notebook. And Google Desktop. Though I already jumped off the Aardvark train a while ago when all the technical questions for me were coming from the people that my industry got outsourced to, rather than people local to me. Didn't leave a good taste in my mouth.

    Subscribed Links would always fail badly for me, so I stopped using it. Sad to see Google Pack go, though, just so that Google can pretend that desktop users don't exist and everyone already has high-speed broadband, all the time, everywhere.
    Royal_Knight
  • RE: Google quietly sunsetting Google Desktop, Aardvark, and more

    Google+ API Manual:

    http://www.heronote.com/files/Google-Plus.htm
    heronote