Google has dominated the web for two decades. The Mountain View tech behemoth has contributed to thousands of products and services, many of which have been game-changers and have served as models for other businesses. Multiple flagship products have a combined user base in the billions.
This, however, does not imply that every Google-developed product becomes a commercial success. And now, just three years after its debut, Google is winding down its cloud gaming service Stadia. Here, we’ll look back at some of the most popular products and services Google has discontinued in recent years.
When it came time to compete with Facebook and other popular social networks, internet giant Google created Google+ in 2011. In its early stages, Google+ was accessible exclusively by invitation and had an intricate system of “circles,” “communities,” etc.
Even while it was successful in expanding its user base (because all Gmail users were automatically enrolled in Google Plus), Google’s attempt to create an alternative to Facebook ultimately failed.
Google had heavily integrated it with other companies and released various helpful features, but it was ultimately scrapped in 2019 due to minimal user involvement and worries regarding security hazards. Over half a million user accounts were stolen in a huge data breach.
The company’s social network offerings were not limited to Google Plus. Anyone who came of age in the aughts and used the internet regularly has probably heard of Google Buzz by now.
It’s Google’s attempt to merge social networking with messaging and a microblogging platform. Even though Google Buzz had only been around since 2010, it was shut down in December 2011 due to privacy concerns. It’s interesting to note that the service’s short life was followed by Google+.
Orkut, which debuted in 2004, quickly became one of the most widely used social networks of its time. Orkut, which is owned and run by Google, has primarily Brazilian and Indian users. However, in 2014, Google said that they will be shutting down Orkut in favor of Google+, therefore the platform had only been around for a total of 10 years.
Even if customers couldn’t sign up for the service, they could access their data through Google Takeout.
Wave was a program created by the Apache Software Foundation and Google that integrated elements from several kinds of messaging and social networking services. One neat feature of Google Wave was that your friend could watch your typing in real-time as you communicated with them.
The hope was that Wave would facilitate simultaneous communication and work.
Since its debut in 2009, Google Wave has amassed a user base of over 100,000. In 2010, however, the company said it will stop working on the project and instead turn it over to the Apache Software Foundation. As of 2018, Apache Wave (formerly Google Wave) no longer exists.
Moreover, Google Wave succeeded Google Buzz.
iGoogle, first introduced in 2005 when dial-up connections were the norm, allowed users to create a personalized version of Google Search as their homepage.
In 2008, iGoogle’s popularity skyrocketed, with over 20% of Google Search users preferring iGoogle over the standard Google Search page. The “unpredictable evolution of web and mobile apps and the degradation of the necessity for the site” led to the removal of the personalized homepage in 2012.
Google Reader, created by the Google Labs team, was a popular RSS feed aggregator used by many people around the world.
Since its inception in 2005, Google Reader has been one of the most effective means of disseminating timely news and information to people everywhere. However, Google discontinued it in 2013 along with a number of their other products because of low usage.