In the midst of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong, Google announced that it disabled 210 YouTube channels associated with “coordinated influence operations” in…
Google has axed seven more products as it looks to clean up and simplify its offerings. This is the third such clean out in recent months. Products that have previously fallen by the wayside include Aardvark, Fast Flip and Jaiku.
In an official blog post, Senior Vice President of Operations Urs Hözle said the products getting the chop were those Google feels “haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for”.
- Google Bookmarks Lists
This is an experimental feature for sharing bookmarks and collaborating with friends, which Google is going to shut down in mid-December. All bookmarks within Lists will be retained and labeled for easier identification, while the rest of Google Bookmarks will function as usual. The product was an English-language only feature.
- Google Friend Connect
Friend Connect allows webmasters to add social features to their sites by embedding a few snippets of code. We’re retiring the service for all non-Blogger sites in March 2012. Google is instead suggesting that affected sites create Google+ pages and add the social network’s functionality to their sites through the use of a Google+ button. The internet giant is open about the fact that this is, at least in part, an attempt to encourage people to “bring their community of followers to Google+ and use new features like Circles and Hangouts to keep in touch”.
- Google Gears
Google had already killed its Gears browser extension for creating offline web applications and stopped supporting new browsers in March. On 1 December 2011, Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will stop working across all browsers, and later in December Gears will no longer be available for download. The web giant claims this is part of its “effort to help incorporate offline capabilities into HTML5.” It cites the fact that you can now access Gmail, Calendar and Docs offline in Chrome as examples of the progress it has made in this regard.
- Google Search Timeline
This product currently provides a graph of historical results for a query. Once it is taken out of action, people will reportedly be able to restrict their searches to particular time periods using the refinement tools on the left-hand side of the search page. Additionally, users who wish to see graphs with historical trends for a web search can usegoogle.com/trends or google.com/insights/search/ for data since 2004. According to Google, the “ngram viewer” in Google Books offers similar information for people looking for more historical data in their searches.
- Google Wave
Google first stopped development on Wave, its collaborative social offering, in late 2010. The product will become read-only in January 2012, before being turned off completely in April. Users will apparently be able to continue exporting individual waves as PDFs until Wave is turned off completely. The technology behind Wave will not, however, die with it and people have the option of using a number of open-source projects, including Apache Wave and Walkaround.
Knol was launched in 2007 in what Google says was an attempt to “improve web content by enabling experts to collaborate on in-depth articles”. In order to continue this work, Google has reportedly been working with Solvitor and Crowd Favorite to create Annotum, “an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress”.
People will be able to continue working on Knol until the end of April 2012. Thereafter, they will have to download their knols to a file or migrate them to a WordPress site. From October 2012, however, all Knol content will be completely inaccessible.
- Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)
Google developed RE<C in an effort to “drive down the cost of renewable energy”. The web giant says the RE
Google claims that this will not, however, stop its work to “generate cleaner, more efficient energy”.
According to Hözle, features from several of the products will be integrated into Google’s wider product range, adding that the various waves of “spring cleaning” being undertaken by the company are part of a wider effort to build “a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google experience”.