Google releases a lot of products, but it shuts down a lot of them, too. Some didn’t deserve to be discontinued (we pine for the days of Reader and Inbox), and some probably weren’t long for this world from the start. (What was Google Wave supposed to be, anyway?) The company actually used to shut down products with quarterly “spring cleanings,” but now, it just does so whenever it’s time for another product to be put out to pasture.
Follow along here for all our coverage of everything Google sends to the graveyard.
May 27The real Q project.
As commenter Chefgon points out, there was a Nexus Q before the Project Q PlayStation handheld Sony revealed this week.
Last year Chris Welch revisited that whole experience for us and explains how the $299 Nexus Q player stumbled in 2012 just before Google scored a hit with the Chromecast in 2013.
Apr 12RIP Google Currents.
You remember Google Currents, right? The enterprise community feature that replaced Google Plus (RIP) is scheduled to join the Google Graveyard this summer, and now we know exactly when that will happen.
Beginning July 5, 2023, Currents will no longer be available. Workspace administrators can export Currents data using Takeout before August 8, 2023. Beginning August 8th, Currents data will no longer be available for download.
Bonus ten points if you remember that this isn’t even the first discarded Google project to use the name Google Currents — the name had already been used for a magazine-ish tablet app (RIP) in the early 2010s.
Google will shut down Currents, the work-focused Google Plus replacement
Update April 12th, 2023, 5PM ET: Google announced it will begin winding down Currents on July 5th, with data available for export until August 8th, 2023, when it will no longer be available.Read Article >
Google has announced that it’ll shut down Currents, which was introduced in 2019 as a replacement for Google Plus for G Suite. In a blog post, the company says it’s “planning to wind down” Currents, and that it’ll push the people who were using it to Spaces, which is sort of like Google Chat’s version of a Slack channel or Discord room.
Google will shut down Dropcam and Nest Secure in 2024
Google is ending support for the Dropcam and the Nest Secure home security system in one year, on April 8th, 2024. They are among the few remaining Nest products that haven’t been brought over to Google Home, and their demise hints that the new Google Home app might almost be here. At least, no more than a year away. Surely.Read Article >
Google is also winding down the last few legacy Works with Nest connections, but not ‘til September 29th.
Google Stadia is how you shut down a service right
Google made a few mistakes with its Stadia cloud gaming service. Maybe more than a few. Okay, it made a lot of promises it didn’t keep and said a lot of things that look pretty laughable in hindsight and totally pulled the rug out from under its indie developers. We did our best to warn you!Read Article >
And yet, I don’t think Stadia will be remembered poorly now it’s gone — because in the end, Google did right by its customers. Pay attention, rival companies: this is how you shut down a service right.
Dec 3, 2022Google’s Duplex on the Web joins the Google graveyard.
As reported by TechCrunch, Duplex on the Web, which could automate things like buying movie tickets on a website, is officially deprecated and “will no longer be supported,” Google writes on a support page. I honestly didn’t know this service existed, which might speak to why Google is shutting it down.
The AI-powered reservation tool made famous in a splashy Google I/O presentation is still around, though.
Jun 27, 2022
Google’s worst hardware flop was introduced 10 years ago today
The Nexus Q was such a misguided product that Google decided to pull the plug before the device was ever released to consumers. Ten years to the day after its introduction at I/O 2012, the $299 media player positioned as a “social streaming device” remains a unique debacle in Google’s hardware story. Say what you will about Google Glass, but the company’s first foray into wearable tech at least got people talking. The Nexus Q, in contrast, was an example of what can happen when a company becomes very lost in its own walled garden.Read Article >
There were promising aspects to the Q; in hindsight, you can clearly see the groundwork and early DNA of Google’s Chromecast within it. But everything about the execution was fundamentally shortsighted — and a little weird. In the below promo video that Google released on the day it announced the Nexus Q, someone describes the product as “this living alien object.”
Apr 14, 2022
Google’s handy scrollable Snapshot of your day has disappeared from phones
Google’s Snapshot feature, which was introduced back in 2018 and occasionally (but not often) updated, is finally gone, according to an article at 9to5Google.Read Article >
The Android feature, which could be accessed via a small and easily overlooked inbox icon on the Assistant screen, would show all your current information via a scrollable interface — things such as appointments, weather forecasts, traffic, and reminders. It was a small but useful feature — unfortunately, though, it was also not easy to find unless you knew where to look. As a result, it’s probable that not many Android users actually knew about it.
Jun 21, 2021
A very brief history of every Google messaging app
Over the past 15 years, Google has introduced more than a dozen messaging services spanning text, voice, and video calling. This week, the company’s efforts culminated in the general availability of Google Chat, a combination of Slack / Discord-style rooms with more traditional messaging.Read Article >
It’s the sort of announcement that might have been expected to bring some consistency to the company’s muddled messenger messaging, but — as is traditional for Google in this area — there’s plenty of confusion to go around.
Jan 22, 2021
Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its internet balloon company
Alphabet is shutting down Loon, its division that provides internet from floating balloons, according to a post on the blog of Alphabet’s X moonshot division.Read Article >
“The road to commercial viability has proven much longer and riskier than hoped,” Astro Teller, who leads X, wrote in the blog. “In the coming months, we’ll begin winding down operations and it will no longer be an Other Bet within Alphabet.”
Dec 17, 2020
Google to shut down Android Things, a smart home OS that never took off
Google plans to shut down Android Things, a stripped-down version of Android designed for smart home devices. The OS never really got off the ground, so this isn’t all that much of a loss, but it is yet another entry in Google’s expansive graveyard of shut-down projects.Read Article >
The smart home project got its start in 2015 under the name Brillo, which was meant to provide the “underlying operating system for the internet of things.” In 2016, Google revamped Brillo and relaunched the initiative as Android Things, which was likewise meant to run on products like connected speakers, security cameras, and routers. By relying on Android, the OS was supposed to be familiar to developers and easy to get started with.
Oct 19, 2020
Google discontinues its Google Nest Secure alarm system
Google has discontinued its Google Nest Secure alarm system, the company first confirmed to Android Police. And sure enough, if you visit the Nest Secure’s page on the Google Store right now, there’s a big button right at the top that says the product is no longer available.Read Article >
“Google Nest will no longer be producing Nest Secure, however we will continue to support our security users in all the same ways,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.
Oct 18, 2020
Google kills off app that let you check in on loved ones during an emergency
Google will discontinue its emergency location sharing app Trusted Contacts in December, and has already yanked it from the Google Play Store. Instead, it’s directing existing users to try similar but less helpful features in Google Maps. That’s a shame, because while Trusted Contacts could let you find a family member even if they don’t respond (say, if they are unconscious or in danger), Google Maps requires them to proactively broadcast their location to you.Read Article >
The announcement was quite abrupt:
Oct 2, 2020
Android 11 officially drops support for Google’s Daydream VR
Google officially dropped Daydream virtual reality support from Android 11 — a final step in its retirement of the system. As Android Police notes, Google posted an announcement saying its latest version of Android doesn’t support the VR platform’s app. “Daydream VR app is no longer supported by Google and may not work properly on some devices running Android 11 or later,” it reads.Read Article >
In fact, the Daydream software is no longer supported at all, according to Google. It won’t receive updates, although users can potentially still access third-party VR apps through the Play Store. Google had already sidelined Daydream VR. It discontinued the Daydream View headset and dropped support on new Pixel phones in 2019. But it continued to support the Daydream app for existing users. Now, even that is apparently ending.
Aug 10, 2020
Google is delaying the shutdown of Chrome apps, but you probably weren’t using them anyway
Google is going to let you use Chrome apps for a little while longer, as the company on Monday announced an extension to its planned timeline to end support for the software (via 9to5Google).Read Article >
If you aren’t familiar with Chrome apps, they’re apps that you install in Chrome that work similarly to apps that you’d launch from your desktop — like this one for read-it-later app Pocket. But they aren’t widely adopted — Google said that “approximately 1 percent of users on Windows, Mac, and Linux actively use Chrome packaged apps” all the way back in August 2016 when it first announced plans to wind down support for the platform.
Jul 6, 2020
Google Plus is officially gone after its mobile apps are rebranded as Google Currents
Google Plus, the company’s failed social network, is officially gone as of today. After Google Plus personal accounts were shut down last year, Google announced that it would be replacing the social network for enterprise users with Google Currents. Currents is generally available starting today, and the Google Plus Android and iOS apps have been rebranded to Google Currents to reflect the change (via 9to5Google).Read Article >
Currents, given its enterprise focus, is designed to help people within organizations communicate with each other. Users can post and comment on discussions and can see content in a News Feed-like “home stream,” which can be ranked by relevance or chronologically, according to Google. G Suite admins can also moderate discussions if needed.
Feb 13, 2020
These engineers are trying to rescue a ‘Bookbot’ from the Google graveyard
The Bookbot wasn’t quite as flashy as other autonomous vehicles in the Google portfolio, but it was popular with patrons of Google’s neighborhood library, and its librarians. No one seems to know why the little cube-like, wheeled delivery robot saw its pilot end in June after just four months. So a trio of former Google engineers apparently started a new company called Cartken to revive Bookbot from the Google graveyard, TechCrunch reports.Read Article >
Part of Google’s Area 120— the company’s internal incubator for the “20 percent” projects employees work on outside of their main jobs — the Bookbot would pick up users’ library books at their homes and return them to the Mountain View Library for check-in. Tracy Gray, Mountain View’s Library Services Director, told TechCrunch the little robot was popular, and people would stop to snap photos of it while it did its deliveries.
Jan 16, 2020
Google is finally killing off Chrome apps, which nobody really used anyhow
Today, Google shared an updated timeline for when Chrome apps will stop working on all platforms. June 2022 is when they’ll be gone for good, but it depends on which platform you’re on (via 9to5Google). Previously, we knew that Chrome apps someday wouldn’t work on Windows, macOS, and Linux, but today, Google revealed that Chrome apps will eventually stop working on Chrome OS, too.Read Article >
A Chrome app is a web-based app that you can install in Chrome that looks and functions kind of like an app you’d launch from your desktop. Take this one for the read-it-later app Pocket, for example — when you install it, it opens in a separate window that makes it seem as if Pocket is functioning as its own app.
Nov 22, 2019
Google is shutting down its Cloud Print feature in 2020
Google has announced that Cloud Print, which lets you easily print things from the web using Google Chrome (even on printers that lack an internet connection), will print its final pages on December 31st, 2020. 9to5Google reported on the news. Cloud Print has been a handy service, as it works both on desktop and mobile and gives extended utility to older printers. Interestingly, despite being introduced back in 2010, Google Cloud Print still has a beta tag.Read Article >
In a support document, Google recommends using the printing experience that’s baked into Chrome OS or, if you’re on a different OS, using “the respective platform’s native printing infrastructure.”
Nov 7, 2019
Google is open sourcing Cardboard now that the Daydream is dead
In October, Google officially discontinued its Daydream View VR headset — and the company took another step away from its initial leadership position in phone-based VR today by announcing that it’s open sourcing the software of Cardboard, its “no-frills” VR headset. It had already “open-sourced” the actual Cardboard VR viewer by posting its technical specifications for anyone to download, so it is nice to see Google open up the software as well.Read Article >
Google says it’s shipped “more than 15 million [Cardboard] units worldwide,” but that it’s seen usage of Cardboard “decline over time.” That doesn’t surprise me, sadly — I just don’t think there were many compelling uses for Cardboard, beyond its initial novelty. I remember playing with a free Cardboard viewer from one of Google’s promotions with The New York Times, and while it was really cool that one time I used it, I haven’t been clamoring for another Cardboard experience since.
Oct 16, 2019
Google Clips is dead
Google may have introduced a lot of new Pixel camera tech at its 2019 fall hardware event this week, but it quietly retired a camera product as well: the Google Clips camera has been removed from Google’s online store (via 9to5Google).Read Article >
Google confirmed Clips’ removal to The Verge and tells us that Clips will continue to get support until December 2021. In addition, the Clips mobile app, which is required to transfer videos off of a Clips camera, will stop working in December 2021, according to Google — so it sounds like the device will essentially become useless in a little over two years.
Oct 15, 2019
Google is discontinuing the Daydream View VR headset, and the Pixel 4 won’t support Daydream
Google has essentially abandoned its Daydream virtual reality platform. The company confirmed to The Verge that the new Pixel 4 phone won’t support Daydream, and Google told Variety and The Verge that it will also no longer sell the Daydream View mobile headset. It will continue to support the app — which only works on older phones — for existing users.Read Article >
“There hasn’t been the broad consumer or developer adoption we had hoped, and we’ve seen decreasing usage over time of the Daydream View headset,” a spokesperson said. Although the system had potential, “we noticed some clear limitations constraining smartphone VR from being a viable long-term solution,” said the spokesperson. “Most notably, asking people to put their phone in a headset and lose access to the apps they use throughout the day causes immense friction.” That echoes similar complaints about Daydream’s biggest competition, the Samsung Gear VR.
Oct 4, 2019
Google finally gives Reader the respect it deserves with an actual gravestone
Google Reader has been dead for over six years, and the internet hasn’t been the same since. I still haven’t found a replacement that I enjoy quite as much as my memories of Reader, and I mourn its death every day. But now, we may finally have a place where we can pay respects to the beloved RSS app.Read Article >
Dana Fried, a Google employee, posted this photo of a graveyard, with headstones for Reader and many other now-dead Google services, which is apparently set up in the main lobby of the company’s Seattle campus in honor of spooky season:
Aug 28, 2019
Google Hire is the next Google tool to be shut down
Google says it will shut down Google Hire, its G Suite tool built for recruiters at small and midsized companies, on September 1st, 2020, despite launching only two years ago. Google did not give a specific reason as to why it’s shutting down the tool beyond saying that it’s “focusing our resources on other products in the Google Cloud portfolio.”Read Article >
Hire is the latest of several Google products that have shut down recently, joining social network Google+, chat app Allo, and email app Inbox in the Google graveyard. It’s good that Google is trying to hone its product offerings, but it’s getting hard to trust that new Google services will stick around for more than a couple of years.
Aug 22, 2019
YouTube discontinues private messages to focus on keeping things public
YouTube is shutting down its private messaging feature on September 18th, the company announced in a support post. It said it made the decision after choosing to focus its attention on public conversations, like the Stories feature it launched last year. YouTube launched its in-app messaging feature back in August 2017, meaning it will have been live on the service for just over two years before being discontinued.Read Article >
YouTube didn’t say exactly why it’s deprioritizing private conversations, but TechCrunch has a couple of ideas. First is the fact that Google has always had a problem with having too many messaging apps. Even after discontinuing Allo, Google still lets people communicate over Duo, Hangouts, Meet, Google Voice, and Android Messages (including the new RCS protocol). Having one extra private messaging service that (presumably) few people were using risks confusing matters further.