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Google To Shut Down 10 Products

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-are-the-weakest-links dept.

Google 167

Google announced yesterday that it is closing a number of its current products and merging others into similar services. Many of them will continue to be available in the near future to facilitate the transition. The list of affected services includes Aardvark, Desktop, Fast Flip, Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook, Sidewiki, and Subscriber Links. Google's Alan Eustace wrote. "This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience. It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people. All the Googlers working on these projects will be moved over to higher-impact products. As for our users, we’ll communicate directly with them as we make these changes, giving sufficient time to make the transition and enabling them to take their data with them." The link contains brief descriptions of how each service is getting phased out.

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167 comments

Google is now officially mature company (5, Insightful)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296778)

The recent developments within Google and their moving to identity servi.. social networking with demands for ID scans if someone reports you for "fake" name, and other general evil stuff just shows Google has matured as a company and is now just like everyone else. It's not a recent development either, it has been going on for several years, but now everyone else is starting to notice it too. They cut down the amount of geeky stuff like work-on-your-own-projects, they go aggressively into markets and they use every evil marketing tactic in the book.

That is fine. Every company is like that. But slashdotters should stop giving them free passes because they're "google".

Re:Google is now officially mature company (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296792)

Go back to Google+.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296928)

Google says:

It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people.

Yeah, pieces of shit like Google plus. Blatantly riding on the coattails of Facebook, which blatantly rode on the coattails of MySpace, and it's turdles all the way down -- which is the only direction Google will go from here. Give it time.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Google is now officially mature company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297268)

> and it's turdles all the way down

Turdle... is that turtle pooh?

Re:Google is now officially mature company (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296804)

Some experiments succeed, some experiments fail. Google tries a lot more of these types of things than anyone else. Hopefully those who use these services will find something else to meet their needs.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296836)

Note that it isn't necessarily a case of failure either.

I was surprised to see Google Desktop go away - but it does make sense. Vista+ and Mac both have desktop widgets, and XP+ have a desktop search utility from Microsoft already. I suspect the same applies to Macs. Not to mention that Google sees 'the cloud' as a major strategy, and searching 'the cloud' is more important than a user's desktop.

So while perhaps Google's offering may have been preferable, there's plenty of alternatives and little incentive for Google to continue its development.

In fact, the only one that I used and failed, is Sidewiki. Unfortunately, the first result for 'Sidewiki alternatives' yields a piece of SEO scum.

The idea was sound, but I guess not very liked by webmasters, prone to dickwaddery, and difficult to turn into money.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296856)

From the list it looks like most of the products have already been largely integrated into other Google services or in the case of notebook will be automatically exported to Google Docs.

With a small amount of work, one could create a form that does the same thing as notebook for oneself.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297540)

Try looking for '(public) web annotation'. I remember playing with a Mozilla Suite extension years ago that more or less did what Sidewiki does. Incidentally, there's a Wikimedia project proposal [wikimedia.org] for this, too.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (1)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297734)

Yes, I used to play with a similar utility - although intended only for personal annotation, not entirely unlike the Highlights addon - a few years back. The main issue is the lack of a large community. 500 people, say, annotating random pages means it's very unlikely that two people within that group ever see the same page + annotations except for possibly major sites.

That's why I was a bit more enthused with Google's offering - it at least had the potential of reaching many millions of users.

That said, I'll check for that extension - as well as the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_annotation [wikipedia.org] list.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (2, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297224)

Microsoft used to get mocked for its constant stream of pointless experiments and go-nowhere products. It seems to be what companies do when they're too big and don't know what to focus on.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (2, Insightful)

Riceballsan (816702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297278)

Well the difference here is many of these projects produced some functionality that can be merged into other google products. Just because the projects themselves didn't take off on their own, does not mean they were go-nowhere projects.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (1)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297448)

And why do you think Microsoft didn't either incorporate those into other products or didn't learn something valuable out of them?

Re:Google is now officially mature company (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296814)

Where have you been that you think Google only just changed? They've been withdrawing from a market at the first sign they won't roll over everyone else for years. Their company mission is to organize (and profit from) the world. That includes you, hoss. Wake up!

Re:Google is now officially mature company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297010)

Where have you been that you think Google only just changed?

Where have you been that you missed the phrase "It's not a recent development either" in the OP?

Wake up!

Good advice. You should totally do that.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297784)

Perhaps you didn't read it, either: "Recent years."

If you define "recent years" as the entire life of Google, I can grant you that. But they've been making a trail of slime their entire existence.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297212)

The recent developments within Google and their moving to identity servi.. social networking with demands for ID scans if someone reports you for "fake" name, and other general evil stuff just shows Google has matured as a company and is now just like everyone else.

They've been just like everyone else since they went public.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297298)

So since you weren't replying to anyone, and this is otherwise completely off topic, you just wanted to rant to everyone about how evil you suspect Google is?

Re:Google is now officially mature company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297326)

"That is fine."

Why is it fine?

Re:Google is now officially mature company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297508)

Truer words never spoken. People act as if Google were the best thing since sliced bread but they are the very same EVIL doers and shitters like any other big Corporation. Bitter truth.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297606)

You can still do side projects but a little focus never hurt anyone. And the laissez fair way is great when you have to satisfy macroscopic world problems that compound so fast the only way to deal with it is to decentralize the decision making. But google is a company and having a focus brings advances faster. Nothing wrong with learning from Steve jobs.

Its better to bring the right tools for the job rather than making do with what you think is ideal

Re:Google is now officially mature company (4, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297656)

But slashdotters should stop giving them free passes because they're "google".

Said it before and I'll say it again- the idea that most Slashdotters are uncritically in love with Google is out of date. It's undeniably true that up until around the mid-2000s there was a borderline fanboyish attitude of indulgence towards Google. However, that's changed quite noticeably in the past five or so years. While it may be argued that Google still gets cut more slack than they deserve, the era of "Google can do no wrong" being representative of most Slashdotters is now over.

Re:Google is now officially mature company (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297726)

That idea will go away about the same time as people stop referring to "slashdot groupthink".

Oh fuck off. (0, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296810)

All i can say is it is good that i didnt rely on any of those services. This tells me not to rely on google for any services. for, it is no dissimilar from microsoft shutting bcentral into the face of their ecommerce clients, or dropping silverlight or any other similar private corporate profit move.

all i can conclude is relying on corporations for services is not a good thing, because eventually what you are using gets either shut down, or screwed with other services for profit reasons, causing distress to you.

and no, i dont at all buy the 'will make it easier for our customers' bit at all. it never ends up that way. saying that is nothing more than an attempt to soothe the public.

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296872)

3rd party solutions are nice stopgaps for those who can roll their own. It helps prove out the use case without the high investment in R&D and support.

Re:Oh fuck off. (0)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296874)

Damn right. Single vendor lockin is never a good idea if avoidable.

Re:Oh fuck off. (5, Informative)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296944)

Damn right. Single vendor lockin is never a good idea if avoidable.

It IS avoidable. You can export all your Google stored stuff (pictures, emails, whatever). It's called Google take out.

http://www.dataliberation.org/ [dataliberation.org]

Of course most people are lazy and won't do it, then complain if something is lost.

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297068)

Yep, and see how far you get getting information out of most of the other cloud based services. I work with someone who had to break down and pay extra for POP access to his email account so he could get his data out. Google makes getting your information out easy. They seem to take the approach that you'll _want_ to use their services.

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297162)

Too bad I still can't export my gTalk chat logs (no, it doesn't work with POP/IMAP).

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297364)

Create a filter to apply a label to all in:chats

then export using IMAP

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297376)

Sigh. What did I just say? Unless something changed in the last two weeks or so, this doesn't work. Chat logs don't appear in IMAP folders, even when you label them.

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297486)

ohk..

Since you hadnt mentioned applying labels to them, or using the "move to inbox" function, I guessed you hadnt tried those

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

ByteSlicer (735276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297622)

No problem. What you described actually worked for a while after they introduced IMAP. But for some unknown (technical?) reason they started filtering the chat logs.

The only ways to export them now seems to be through Gears (which they don't support anymore), or using some kind of scrubber script (which will guaranteed block your account if you download too much).

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296886)

Then who do you rely on? Who provides your cell phone service? Internet Service Provider? Electricity? I'm guessing there are a fair number of coporations listed in the answers to those questions. You will have to rely on corporations for any service that connects you to a larger community. Even if you go off the electrical grid as I have done in the past, you still need batteries, inverters, panels, back up generators, diesel fuel. You have to get those form someone.

Re:Oh fuck off. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297000)

It's the corporations, man! They're, like, out to screw the consumer! Boycott the corporations!

*I don't get the irony of wearing a Che Guevara shirt bought from the gap*

-Sent from my iPad, from inside a Starbucks.

Re:Oh fuck off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296902)

There might have been some people who's technological plans were put asunder with the end of Microsoft Bob, perhaps they even complained about it. However, a crank 'letter' from someone otherwise unaffected, now, that's a fan boy. Perhaps not a Microsoft, but at the very least pushing some sort of 'anti-Google' interest.

Re:Oh fuck off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37298072)

There might have been some people who's technological plans...

Lemme see... You meant that to be a contraction of "who is" or "who was?" Nope. Grammar doesn't scan. The possessive form of "who?" Doesn't scan either. Oh! You must have meant "whose!" I get it now.

— Your friendly Grammar Nazi

Re:Oh fuck off. (2, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296918)

All i can say is it is good that i didnt rely on any of those services. This tells me not to rely on google for any services.

Well, I guess it's google who would tell you to fuck off them. They offer a number of services, some of them are here to stay, and other are experiments (not necessarily tech experiments, they can be business experiments, too) and if they don't go well, they go off the market - same as every other product.
Anyway, feel free to ask google for a full refund on whatever you spent on those services.

Re:Oh fuck off. (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297062)

Exactly right. If you are going to launch a lot of experimental products you have to be willing to put em down almost as fast when they don't succeed lest you get so many going you can't keep launching new ones and get stuck maintaining a bunch of losers forever out of fear that the few people who did like them will scream loudly on Internet fora. For years everyone made jokes about the beta label Google put on everything, well now ya know.

not to rely on google for any services (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296966)

so you intend on writing all your own stuff then? Since all companies will ditch underperforming offerings, that means you cant use ANY product..

The lesson is to use paid services, and always have an exit strategy. or just suck it up and expect things to change.

Re:Oh fuck off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297086)

Tell me. Did you pay for a single service that Google provided, that you used?

No?? Then fuck off.

Re:Oh fuck off. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297972)

It's important to note that at least for Google Notebook, they gave two years between stop accepting new accounts and actual shut down.

I'd love to have two years of warning for any of the paid services I subscribe to, let alone free ones.

Gotta love it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296834)

Even for a bunch of free products... Google tells people what's going on better than many companys who are selling products.

this is how you do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296846)

i think they're executing this perfectly.

their reasons are perfect, their ability to sense niche products and refocus is perfect, their ability to give their customers more than enough ways to get their stuff out is perfect, all around +1.

Translation: (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296848)

"It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact productsâ"the ones that might improve the bottom lines of division VPs and thousands of large portfolio google shareholders."

There. Fixed that for you.

Re:Translation: (1)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297114)

Why do I get the impression you say that like it is a bad thing? The purpose of a public equity corporation is to provide a return to the investors first and foremost, lest the shareholders select a better use of their resources. Hint, your retirement is likely tied to corporate performance. If you object to that notion you could try only doing business with non-profits and co-ops but I doubt you will have much luck. Capitalism is sometimes messy but it delivers better than any other system so far devised. It eliminates want and poverty far better than any government program has even aspired to, far better than the not for profit sector and beats the crap out of the other *isms.

Re:Translation: (0)

Hartree (191324) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297194)

"Democrat delenda est"

Now there's a moderate position guaranteed to lead to bipartisanship.

Uh... I've likely been a free market Republican longer than you've been alive, my rather doctrinaire friend.

Re:Translation: (0)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297754)

Want and poverty was eliminated when capitalism was required by social democracy to contribute to society. It did nothing to eliminate want or poverty before that happened. People only stopped living in cholera-ridden shitholes in the developed world when governments took money from the capitalists in order to pay for it. The capitalists (apart from a few notable exceptions like the Cadburys in the UK and Henry Ford in the US) did very little to improve the lot of ordinary people.

Re:Translation: (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297292)

I loved this line of specious PR bullshit:

"Due to the rapidly decreasing demand for downloadable software in favor of web apps, we will discontinue Google Pack today."

"Rapidly decreasing demand"! What utter nonsense.

never bet on one horse (3, Insightful)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296860)

Shutdown like this remind that it is never good to rely on one service or company. From all the services closed, I liked Google desktop quite a bit on my linux box a couple of years ago. It could slow down the machine too much at some points and it had also not been clear to me how much and I fell back to rely on good old unix tools or beagle.

Re:never bet on one horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297586)

WOW, did you just call beagle 'good' O.0

"Software as a Service" fails yet again. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296864)

These are 10 more prime examples of the "Software as a Service" concept failing us yet again.

It makes no sense for any individual or company to use such "services". It's just too damn risky. The only safe and sensible approach is to insist on real software that you can run on your own systems.

I have clients who still run software originally developed for DOS, back in the 1980s. Even if they don't have the source code, they can run it just fine on much newer hardware, and they don't have to worry about some other company going under or canceling the product and it then being unavailable to them.

While it's relatively frequent to see normal software being used for decades after it was initially written, it's extremely rare to see any sort of "Software as a Service" lasting even more than a couple of years.

Re:"Software as a Service" fails yet again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297080)

I'm sure HTML5 has a several sections that specifically deal with SaS concepts, specifically self-hosted software such as in-built P2P and simplified web servers.

Hopefully these mature as soon as humanly possible and people actually support them, the sooner, the better.
SaS is such a failure right now, simply due to this.

And considering how Google were one of the main pushers FOR self-hosted and offline applications, this move was a little ironic, almost stupid.
The worst part is they never even bothered to replace some of these services with similar services that they host, such as Notebook being linked to Docs, something that would have taken all but a day, if that, to do and it was done, then Notebook could have been retired those few years ago when it was supposed to be.

What next, Google Sites? Usenet access? Groups? Alerts?
Why are competing services still up? I thought Google Video was supposed to be gone ages ago?
Its not like time of videos is an issue anymore, Youtube has seemingly unlimited upload times now.

I'm still seriously pissed off that they shut down Labs as it is. Worse because along with their pissy fit, a bunch of very useful projects are going to die off.
God knows what is happening in that damned company, but I don't think I would want to work their anymore if I did already.
They are essentially killing "Google Research".

Google Chrome Machine Install? (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296880)

Google Pack is the only way I know of to install Google Chrome on a computer for every user, instead of only in the local user space. With its discontinuation, this will cause even more problems for installing Chrome in a corporate environment. Anyone knows another method?

WOW (5, Insightful)

Jello B. (950817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296882)

Holy shit they're shutting down products I've never heard of and nobody uses. That's fuckin evil.

Re:WOW (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297230)

fastflip was very useful to me. Problem with some of their small projects is that they never publicize them, then wonder why no one's heard of it, or uses it.

Re:WOW (1)

jrr (42158) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297602)

Holy shit they're shutting down products I've never heard of and nobody uses. That's fuckin evil.

Hey does /. have a +1 for comments?

Awww (1)

phayes (202222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296884)

Too bad about fast flip, I found a number of interesting stories that I would never have seen otherwise.

Re:Awww (2)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297050)

I won't miss it. I hated the way it interfaced. I'd see something interesting on the google news page within fast flip. I'd click on the article in fast flip to read it. Instead, it opened up into fast flip. I then had to click on the article a second time to read it. Annoying. Granted, maybe if you used fast flip to browse through news, one might like it. I was annoyed at the way it functioned from the google news page, enough so that I removed the whole sidebar. There were other problems I had with the sidebar so it wasn't the only reason for the removal, but fast flip wasn't missed by this user.

Re:Awww (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297074)

Too bad about fast flip, I found a number of interesting stories that I would never have seen otherwise.

Same here - I wonder how it chose which stories to show. I didn't like its interface, and being in Flash was just unnecessary, but an HTML5 equivalent would be handy.

Aardvark huh? (1)

netsharc (195805) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296888)

Ouch, I used that service when it was still independent, although I mostly got "I'm too stupid to Google, can you answer this question for me?" kind of questions (for those who don't know Aardvark [wikipedia.org]). So they let Google buy them, and then shut them? That must suck. Or don't the founders care, since they just cashed out?

Re:Aardvark huh? (1)

Konsalik (1921874) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297832)

I liked Aardvark, sure there were the "let me Google that for you" questions but all in all it was quite interesting. Unfortunately, within 3 months of Google buying them, nothing was going on, the admins disappeared and nothing new was happening. Looks like Google bought them, stripped the tech they wanted and left it to rot.

The comments reinforce my opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296898)

that people are hard-wired to believe in some sort of religion. Whether that be worshipping G_d or Ra or Google or Android or Apple or Steve Jobs or their country or a software license or a band.... it seems to go beyond standard fanboyism, is your life so insignificant and unfulfilling that you have to bind yourself to a company to get some vicarious success?

But keep on mocking the bible believers! Someday they'll realize the true path to salvation is by worshipping global warming or Barack Obama or Samsung or whoever your one true deity is.

Re:The comments reinforce my opinion (0)

kurzweilfreak (829276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297288)

GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD DOG DOG DOG GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD.

Nope, no lightning struck me. Stop being such a pussy. And stop assuming that we need some stupid contrived "salvation" from your sky daddy myths.

Not surprising (3, Insightful)

mkraft (200694) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296936)

Pretty much all of those services haven't been updated in ages or aren't even used. For example I used to use Google Desktop, but uninstalled it about 2 years ago because it was buggy, performance hogging and slowed down my machine.

How about dropping IE6 support. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37296958)

I think Google should grow the balls to flip the switch on the support, they should say

Sorry, we no longer support your 10 year old virus friendly browser. Either upgrade to at least IE8 or install our non admin Chrome frame.

Companies that still insist on IE6 can use Bing and wallow in toolbar soup.

Time for everyone to ... (4, Insightful)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296964)

Give me a break.

Google is a business. They are out to make money. The fact that they have to axe a few products that you probably aren't using (never mind paying for, since a few of those things were freebies) does not mean that they've decided to follow the path of evil. It just means that they have good business sense.

Re:Time for everyone to ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297272)

I agree. Unfortunately, Google has also failed to deliver a cohesive roadmap. The Peoples Front for Data Liberation is fairly limited in its tool set. The lesson here is that you should not build sandcastles on Google's beaches.

Shutting down Desktop makes a lot of sense. (1)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296976)

It was, pretty much, a dead product after Windows 7 came out. Native searching in operating systems are much better now; it doesn't make any sense to have an auxiliary product that isn't as well integrated doing, essentially, the same thing.

As for the others on the chopping block; did they ever have that many users?

Re:Shutting down Desktop makes a lot of sense. (1)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297052)

Google Desktop was nice in the way it integrated all of your stuff into their main google search. Being able to look at relevant info from your email, network share and the Internet in one frame was quite helpful when trying to troubleshoot things, find a product manual, etc... Every so often the information I wanted turned out to be on the internal network, and much time (and bandwidth) was saved.

What about Linux??? (1)

Pausanias (681077) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297334)

Ironically, Google Desktop is the only Desktop search that actually works in Linux (at least on GNOME)! Every thing else is either horribly broken, horribly slow, or lacks basic functionality. Sad to see this go.

Shows what can happen in the cloud (1)

MpVpRb (1423381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37296982)

If you have a local app, you can run it pretty much forever. It might not get updated, and you might need to run it on old hardware/OS, but you will almost always have access to it.

In the cloud, things can appear, disappear and change.

If you depend on a program, or the specific behavior of a particular version, you lose.

Ninite Google Pack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297022)

Anyone sad about Google Pack being discontinued should check out Ninite [ninite.com]. Also, if you're not sad about Google Pack and/or you don't know what Google Pack is/was you should check out Ninite [ninite.com] as well.

Re:Ninite Google Pack (1)

jelle (14827) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297290)

That looks pretty helpful, almost like a synaptic for windows. Does it also get rid of the 'I have an update please do another cycle of clicks now' popups that so many windows applications have?

What next? (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297048)

One wonders what Google will kill next. Likely targets are products which lose money, don't provide opportunities for ad insertion, and don't collect monetizable information about users. Take a look at Google's list of products [google.com] (which, amusingly, doesn't contain "G+"). Google Docs and Spreadsheets, Picnik (Google's photo editor), Google Voice, Google Talk, and SketchUp may be next.

Google Health has already been killed. Google has stopped digitizing old newspapers. Knol (Google's answer to Wikipedia) was never very successful. Those are likely targets, too.

Google is no longer worried about Microsoft, which has failed to compete successfully in online services. Google is worried about Facebook and Apple. So all those Google products which targeted Microsoft's business model, but lost money, can be dumped.

Re:What next? (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297378)

Picnic will probably go - hasn't gained a whole lot of traction. Sketch will probably stay, if for no other reason than the pro edition has some following among folks who don't need to go whole hog and invest in Autocad (god rot their evil souls, but I digress). The file format is becoming a defacto standard. It's well integrated into Google Earth and Maps and allows them to crowdsource value into both of those products.

The rest I've never used. I am annoyed that Google Powermeter left - that was a neat product albeit with likely no hope of becoming big enough to matter. Google Health was just an ill advised attempt to chase Microsoft's ill advised attempt to do something in the healthcare arena. Not many people want to key in their medical data. Those that do have already figured out that word processors are useful tools. Dumping raw healthcare provider data into a consumer product was bound to fail - it's way too messy and if you figured out how to do it you would spin the program off and sell it for a small fortune to the health care industry itself.

Re:What next? (1)

PhrstBrn (751463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297488)

Google Voice charges for calls outside the US. They could easily monetize Google Voice (cheap cellphone calls over WiFi), especially if they can offer more competitive rates than your cell phone provider. They could make a "Google Phone" which is a cheap IP phone for your home, powered by Google Voice and go after the IP phone market.

Google Voice has a use for their Google Apps users, and I don't think they're going to piss off their current (paying) userbase. Google Talk is all integrated with the Google Voice, so I don't see that going anywhere. The two products have a lot of overlap. Removing Google Docs/Spreadsheets would also further piss off their Google Apps users. Those products are making money, people pay for Google Apps not for just mail, but because they offer a suite of productivity tools (GMail, GDocs, GChat, GVoice).

I don't know anything about Picnik and SketchUp, so I can't comment there.

Talk about timing.... (1)

lbbros (900904) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297222)

I recently set up a wiki on a server of mine to be used to take notes to replace Google Notebook because I was afraid it might shut down, and now I read this.

Looks my hunch wasn't that wrong, after all.

Google Maps Flash API? (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297262)

in my previous line of work, I was a Maps JS dev. I always wondered who was using the Flash API... I guess now that answer is "no one."

Damn (1)

vleck (134134) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297360)

They better not discontinue Google Voice and Apps (the free version)! Man I just ported my number and domain over. Sigh.

To: Google (3, Insightful)

AllenNg (954165) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297428)

So, I suppose all that talk about our notebooks being safe and always available and respecting the time and work we'd invested in their use was just a lie? [blogspot.com] This, combined with Chrome's increasingly "We're Google--we can do whatever we want" functionality, is edging me closer to abandoning Google completely. I, years ago, was initially hesitant to begin using Google's products. Really, the tipping point was that there weren't many alternatives to the services that Google was providing. THAT IS NO LONGER TRUE, GOOGLE! You would do well to remember that!

I liked the potential for Google Pack... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297444)

It was my preferred method to install Chrome on a system-wide basis, since normally Chrome is just per-user. Plus you could use it to get updates for Adobe Reader and Skype, rather than having those things constantly nag you for updates on first launch. This was a great example of Google beating Microsoft at its own game, and it fills a niche that many Windows users are in need of filling.

Google pack :( (2)

mystik (38627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297538)

Google Pack: Due to the rapidly decreasing demand for downloadable software in favor of web apps, we will discontinue Google Pack today. People will still be able to access Googleâ(TM)s and our partnersâ(TM) software quickly and easily through direct links on the Google Pack website.

Of all these services, this upsets me the most. No where was I able to find a nice installer/packge manager for windows that installed all these packages automatically w/o any cruft or addons, and kept it all up-to-date.

Also, I seriously dispute their claim of "rapidly decreasing demand for downloadable software in favor of web apps". There are a whole host of benefits that downloadable software give, that web apps do not. (like, when the provider stops supporting the software, you still have access to it .....)

Re:Google pack :( (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297688)

They're trying to make it happen by declaring to have already happened, of course. Sometimes this works ("the floppy is dead," ca. 1998) and sometimes it doesn't. I suspect (and hope!) that this time will fall into the "doesn't" category, but the truth is that if anyone's in a position to make it happen, Google is.

Re:Google pack :( (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297994)

Not sure if that answers all your demands but try http://ninite.com/

Re:Google pack :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37298114)

Google Pack: Due to the rapidly decreasing demand for downloadable software in favor of web apps, we will discontinue Google Pack today. People will still be able to access Googleâ(TM)s and our partnersâ(TM) software quickly and easily through direct links on the Google Pack website.

Of all these services, this upsets me the most. No where was I able to find a nice installer/packge manager for windows that installed all these packages automatically w/o any cruft or addons, and kept it all up-to-date.

Also, I seriously dispute their claim of "rapidly decreasing demand for downloadable software in favor of web apps". There are a whole host of benefits that downloadable software give, that web apps do not. (like, when the provider stops supporting the software, you still have access to it .....)

I found www.ninite.com does a very good job as an alternative to google pack.

(I'm not affiliated with them in any way)

Re:Google pack :( (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37298194)

Check out Ninite - it sets up an automatic installer for you with most of the popular software, and is also smart enough to say no to all the bloatware/toolbars that are offered.

Google has 10 products? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37297604)

Search, search, search, mail, maps, search, ....?

Maps API for Flash (1)

petsounds (593538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37297912)

This is still a widely-used API by Flash developers, and developers have been trying to get google to add Street View support to the Flash API for a couple years (ironic since google first implemented Street View using Flash) and they always refused. Now I understand why. Unfortunately the things you can do with Maps in Javascript is pretty limited compared to Flash (integration with multimedia content, for example), so I suspect many will seek out competitors. I'm honestly a bit shocked...how many developers does it take to keep the Flash API in parity? Not enough to even register as a blip on their financials. This is a political decision.

*preparing to get anti-Flash replies from the javascript zealots any second now...*

Re:Maps API for Flash (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37298038)

Not a JS zealot, although I've grown to strongly dislike Flash. But what exactly is lacking in the JS Maps? Multimedia integration? You can put whatever you want - including HTML5 or Flash videos - in a marker's info popup; I don't see what other integration would one want.

Re:Maps API for Flash (1)

petsounds (593538) | more than 2 years ago | (#37298244)

Sure, you can put custom markers in the JS Maps. But popups that animate in sophisticated ways? Not so much. How about changing the perspective of the map, or customizing the yaw/pitch/roll of the camera to create fly-throughs? Nope, can't do that with the JS API at all. How about mapping the tiles onto a spherical 3D model a la Google Earth, or integrating a google map with a 3D environment to..for example provide altitude display? Can't really do that in JS yet.

So...you see, there's many ways Flash can interact with a Google Map that just isn't possible in JS yet. But google wants to take its toys and go home.

Google desktop search was/is much better (1)

NZheretic (23872) | more than 2 years ago | (#37298234)

Google desktop widgets were an annoyance but the desktop search works very well in a small business environment where the files are stored on NAS or SAMBA servers.

I really hope that Google could produce a Chrome Local Search Plugin that replicates the search functionality that was in Google Desktop.

It would be a killer app if Google was also to include two way file merge functionality ( unison or two way rsync ) with removable media, remoter servers, other desktop computers and Google doc accounts

I want them to go back to search. (2)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 2 years ago | (#37298320)

Their search results are progressively more useless with every passing day. How about they work on the product that got them big in the first place?

Also, when I read the list of programs that are being cancelled, I went, "never heard of it" to all of them.

Smells like corporate BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37298408)

That's what I felt from reading the linked blog. Lots of adjectives and superlatives about how the future is so great, yet they'll continue supporting the old stuff too (out of altruism, I'm sure). This is the problem when a company answers to their shareholders. I say keep it private - the minute it becomes public, everything becomes 'design by committee'. Wonder who the next 'Google' will be as it's bound to happen.
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