It looks like Google is staying true to its plan to cut the fat and focus. The company did some fall cleaning last year (closing down Aardvark and more), and turned off the lights on a few more programs back in November, including Gears and Wave. Now, with a new year comes more closures: the company has just announced that it's shutting down its email backup platform Google Message Continuity (GMC) — citing that more and more businesses are moving to Google Apps — as well as the online photo editor Picnik. You'll have until April 19th to download your files from the latter, and Google says premium members will be reimbursed soon. Google's also cutting off the Sky Map app for Android, which has over 20 million installs, though Google says the maps it's based on will live on in the world of open source. It's not clear if Google is going to pull the current app from the Android Market or if it's just going to stop releasing updates. Finally, Needlebase, Social Graph API, and Urchin are on the way out, too. If you're using any of these services, be sure to check the source link below to see when you're going to lose access.

Update: Google's Research Blog has clarified that the Sky Map app will be open sourced and as part of a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University "[the app's] development will now be driven by the students, with Google engineers remaining closely involved as advisors."

Thanks, justbowlinm8!

Image Credit: Marcin Wichary (Flickr)