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.
Nov 16Google News hammers the final nail into its magazine subscriptions coffin.
Almost four years after the search giant stopped letting people buy digital magazines through Google News, the company is removing its magazine-reading feature entirely. After December 18th, you’ll no longer be able to access magazines purchased via the Google News apps or news.google.com, meaning you’ll have to export them if you ever want to read them again. Consider this your PSA.An update to Google News magazine support - Google News Community
It’s never a dull day at the Google graveyard — the company has blogged a Workspace update today announcing the end of its collaborative Jamboard whiteboarding software. Google plans to wind down the app in late 2024 and is introducing the “next phase” of whiteboarding solutions: pointing users toward third-party apps that work with Workspace services like Google Meet, Drive, and Calendar.Read Article >
Google says it will offer support to help transition customers to use other whiteboard tools, including FigJam, Lucidspark, and Miro. According to the blog post, Workspace customer feedback indicated the third-party solutions worked better for them thanks to feature offerings like an infinite canvas size, use case templates, voting, and more. So instead of further developing Jamboard, Google’s digging its hole and will focus on core collaboration services on Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
Google Podcasts is going away. Starting next year, Google will focus on offering podcast access within YouTube Music instead.Read Article >
This change doesn’t come as a complete surprise. In April, Google launched the ability for users in the US to listen to podcasts in YouTube Music without a paid membership. It also lets users listen to podcasts offline and in the background while also switching between the audio and video versions on YouTube Music. As part of its podcasts push, YouTube also announced it will make podcasts available within YouTube Music globally before the end of 2023.
Google will send Gmail’s basic HTML view sailing into the great beyond starting in January 2024, after which time everyone who uses it will be switched to the service’s far more modern “Standard” view. The change appears to have been announced around September 19th in a Google support article.Read Article >
Though the vast majority of people use the Standard view on their PCs without question, the HTML version of Gmail has its perks. The stripped-down Gmail experience loads quickly, and users can access it even on very outdated machines or with much slower connections. Its leaner nature makes it useful in situations where the best you can muster is a 3G connection (3G died last year in the US, but still).
In October 2021, Google launched a new Pixel Pass subscription program alongside the Pixel 6 series of phones that promised three things for one monthly payment ($45 for a Pixel 6 or $55 for a 6 Pro): “Google’s best mobile services, device protection, and regular device upgrades.”Read Article >
However, on Tuesday, Google emailed Pixel Pass customers to say: “We are writing to you to inform you that starting today, we are no longer offering new Pixel Pass subscriptions or renewals.”
Jun 30We need Google Reader more than ever.
I feel Epic CEO Tim Sweeney very strongly on this. But there’s an way for web browsing to feel much less horrible: RSS.
What if, say, a big internet company facing an existential crisis and growing trust issues decided to reverse its mistake and bring the beloved product back? What if they built in — I don’t know, not like they’ve ever done this before — a way to pay creators?
Imagine the goodwill Google would get just by trying it.
There was a sign in the Google Reader team’s workspace at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. “Days Since Cancellation,” it read, with a number below: zero. It was always zero.Read Article >
This was in 2006 or so, back when Google Reader was still growing. Back when it still existed at all. Google’s feed-reading tool offered a powerful way to curate and read the internet and was beloved by its users. Reader launched in 2005, right as the blogging era went mainstream; it made a suddenly huge and sprawling web feel small and accessible and helped a generation of news obsessives and super-commenters feel like they weren’t missing anything. It wasn’t Google’s most popular app, not by a long shot, but it was one of its most beloved.
Last January, we revealed Google was building an AR headset, too — “Project Iris” would be the company’s bet against the then-yet-to-be-announced headgear from Meta and Apple. But now that its rivals have been revealed, Google is reportedly pulling the plug on glasses-shaped AR: Insider is reporting that Google has shelved its plans for Project Iris, citing three people “familiar with the matter.”Read Article >
Remember Google’s fancy translation glasses from last year’s Google I/O that we called vaporware? If true, this report would mean those glasses are no more. It would also likely mean the versions with transcription and navigation features, which Google said it would test in public beginning last July, are also no longer in the works.
Google Domains has been a quick and easy place to buy a dot com (or dot net, or dot studio, even) for your cottage bakery — but the company is now giving up on the registrar business and selling the assets to Squarespace. The deal includes handing off 10 million domains owned by Google customers to the popular website builder.Read Article >
In a press statement, Google’s VP and GM of merchant shopping, Matt Madrigal, says the sale is an effort to “sharpen our focus” and that the company plans on “supporting a smooth transition” for its customers being handed off to Squarespace. Madrigal then assures customers that Squarespace, which already has its own domain management plus web building tools, would be the perfect home for customers’ websites. Google Domains first became available as a beta in 2014 and finally came out of beta just last year.
May 27The real Q project.
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.
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 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 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.
Jun 27, 2022
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, 2022Read 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
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 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 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 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 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
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, 2020Read 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, 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.