Google to close local information, connection app Neighbourly

The app has not proven to be as popular as Google would have wished.

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Google has decided to sunset the Neighbourly community app due to poor user engagement. 

The tech giant says that starting May 12, Neighbourly Beta will stop working and access to the mobile application will be removed. 

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Neighbourly Beta was launched in 2018 as an application for finding and sharing local information. The app allows users to share everything from event lists to important local announcements, and enables users to ask questions, solicit advice, share photos, create polls, and have conversations. 

Badges could also be earned to highlight a user as an active member of a local community. 

India was chosen as the app's testbed. However, Neighbourly has not proven to be as popular as Google would have liked, as the company says "the app hasn't grown as we had hoped." 

As a consequence, the app will be closed down. 

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"We launched Neighbourly as a Beta app to connect you with your neighbors and make sharing local information more human and helpful," Google says. "In these difficult times, we believe that we can help more people by focusing on other Google apps that are already serving millions of people every day." 

Users that wish to secure a copy of their data must visit Google Takeout on or before October 12, 2020. According to Google, you can download your posts, replies, comments, content 'likes,' poll information, and saved posts. 

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, apps and services that can bring locals together -- whether simply for support during lockdowns or to both offer and ask for assistance -- have become more valuable than ever before. 

Coronavirus support Facebook groups have sprung up in their droves, the video meeting platform Zoom is currently enjoying unprecedented popularity, and initiatives for communities, supporting health workers, and crowdsourcing COVID-19 research projects are online. 

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So, it may seem to be a strange time to take down a community-focused app. However, Google does not believe the user numbers are workable -- given the app never left Beta -- and so the company says that lessons learned from Neighbourly will be used to "improve our other products."

Rather than use Neighbourly, the tech giant is urging users to become a Google Maps Local Guide instead. 

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