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Google Kills More Services, Open Sources Sky Map

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the endings-and-beginnings dept.

Google 121

alphadogg writes "Google is continuing to weed out its services and on Friday announced it will shut down Picnik, Google Message Continuity and Needlebase and make changes to some other services. Google acquired Seattle-based Picnik in 2010, saying it would integrate the photo editing service with its own Picasa. 'We're retiring the service on April 19, 2012, so the Picnik team can continue creating photo-editing magic across Google products,' Dave Girouard, vice president of product management for Google, wrote in a blog post Friday." A positive change to come out of this is that Google is open-sourcing Sky Map, and will be collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University to continue development.

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Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (5, Insightful)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775000)

This is why it's ridiculous to rely on cloud services. That is what ultimately all of Google's services are. On top of that most of them are closed source too, so you're just out of luck when Google decides to kill them off. And judging by the amount of services they're quickly killed it probably isn't going to change. This is why desktop software is still much more reliable than online services, and I'm not going to change something like Microsoft Office to Google Docs.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (5, Insightful)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775074)

Cloud services aren't the problem. Free cloud services where you are hoping that someone else picks up the tab for paying for development, maintenance and infrastructure are the problem. Granted, desktop apps are a better long-term investment than cloud services if you're wondering about the viability of the company that you are investing in. But if there's an actual business model in place (i.e., one that involves payment and not just "eyeballs"), cloud services offer quite a few advantages over desktop apps. It's up to you to decide whether you'll trade not having to maintain the software and being able to access it from anywhere with the knowledge that the software will stick around for as long as you have the installation file (DRM throwing another wrinkle in here as well).

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775130)

Something doesn't have to be free to be unprofitable (although bailouts somewhat mitigate that if you're large enough, heh).

Also, advertising is the business model for much of the web. Try taking away all the sites you use which rely on advertising to survive.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777117)

Actually, the most important thing of all with any software, desktop or cloud, is the consideration of legacy. What formats can you export your data to? What cost will it be to take it out? etc. etc. etc.

And I would be very interested to see Word Perfect 1.0 run on any modern hardware without some very very serious hack rages going on.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#38778181)

And I would be very interested to see Word Perfect 1.0 run on any modern hardware without some very very serious hack rages going on.

I don't think there WAS a 1.0 in WordPerfect's versioning. The initial release was on Data General minicomputers and had no version number, but would most likely still run comfortably on one of the SIMH multi-system emulators.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38779035)

Funny thing is you would THINK that VMs solved that problem but they haven't. For example I built and maintain a "NOS" early Pentium 4 for a customer who has one piece of "must have" software, Macromedia Xres. That thing is a fricking nightmare pal, good luck getting it to run on ANY modern hardware, even in a VM. I tried dual boots, VMs, shims, you name it, that bitch will NOT run on anything newer than a 2.2Ghz with 1gb of RAM and an IDE HDD. Now some of the other royal PITA software like QuickBooks (Man i'd like to meet the guy that wrote that thing and kick him in the nuts. WTH was he thinking tying the software to a SPECIFIC version of Flash? WTF?) can be run in XP Mode or other VM with some tweaking but I found out the hard way there IS software out there that HAS to be run bare metal.

As for TFA frankly anyone that uses ANY Google service that isn't already extremely popular deserves what they get sadly. Google has shown their entire business model is "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" and anything that doesn't grab a huge share is shitcanned, see TFA and Google Wave and a dozen others like Buzz for examples. If anyone is stupid enough to buy a Google TV, I don't care if its Intel, ARM, or MIPS, they are pissing their money away as i bet that'll be gone soon enough too. Google has shown their whole plan revolves around capitalizing on eyeballs and search while spending as little as possible and while Sony, Apple and MSFT have all cut checks Google has made it clear they ain't paying shit to the content owners so any Google TV will simply be banhammered from their services.

But I hope this has taught many a valuable lesson, don't bother relying on a Google service until it hits 30 million plus users bare minimum, probably 60 to 70 million just to be safe. They have made it clear with these service killings that 8-12 million is just too small potatoes for them to care about and they only want hits, misses will be culled.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (5, Insightful)

GerryGilmore (663905) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775320)

Let me expand that to say that anytime you are building something that ultimately relies on a 3rd party for integral, non-easily-replicatable components, you're asking for trouble. As an example, I worked at Dialogic where they acquired a product called Visual Voice, used by many companies to develop their core voice-processing apps. One day, senior PHBs decide they donl;t want to be in the app-development business and kill Visual Voice. Bam! Dead! Oh - you developed apps based on VV and now your company is tanking because you can't get bug fixes, new features or support for newer hardware? TFB, mofo! Welcome to dependency-land.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (4, Insightful)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775797)

Let me expand that to say that anytime you are building something that ultimately relies on a 3rd party for integral, non-easily-replicatable components, you're asking for trouble

I think you're stretching that a bit. The vast majority of the world's IT does exactly this. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Hitachi, EMC, Cisco, etc. all provide "integral, non-easily-reproducable" components.

The difference is that if you buy physical hardware and own the software (often with a source code escrow agreement), you can control the pace of getting off something, whereas in the cloud, you cannot.

PHP and LAMP/LAPP (1)

zidium (2550286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776817)

That's why I choose PHP on the LAPP stack (postgres vs mysql). I have the entire source code for my stuff and they're all permissively licensed (much more lenient than GPL) so the odds of them ever being abandoned are very remote.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38776933)

whereas in the cloud, you cannot.

  • Contractual and legal protections. Hint: you outsource a lot of critical stuff already (Electricity, water, doctors, accountants, lawyers)
  • Use Open Source Cloud Providers such as Red Hat. If you have all the source and tool chain you could, in a worst case scenario, build and host the components you need in house or somewhere else
  • Use cloud technologies that support multiple providers, again somethingRed Hat does (you want to run it on Red Hat RHEV? no problem. Amazon EC2? no problem. etc.)

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38779099)

I think the difference is long term support contracts as all those corps you named make damned good money and would take a serious hit to their businesses if they abandoned or failed to live up to their long term support contracts. lets take the one whose software I've had the most experience with, Microsoft.

While everyone makes fun of their "glacial" OS development frankly its damned easy to plan around a MSFT Business OS because you know to the day how long you are gonna have support for which is a standard 10 years for business OS. Since there will be at least 2 if not 3 releases in your support window that gives you plenty of time to test and get your core software switched over and simply go from one to the other. I've finally got the last of my business customers switched over to 7 and now that all the software is certified working and they are all happy all I have to do is bring Win 7 machines online as they need them because Win 7 is supported until 2020. this let them skip Vista completely and they'll probably skip 8 and 9 as well and be ready to start certifying their 'must have' software for Windows 10 around 2018.

So I'd say the key is to base your plans around software that has LTS and think long term rather than risk betting too much on software that may not be here tomorrow. A good example below is Red hat. if your software runs on RHEL they have plenty of LTS options and you know they aren't going anywhere so planning your business around RHEL wouldn't be a problem, but as we saw not too long ago planning your business around CentOS would be bad as they could disappear tomorrow. it all comes down to LTS and how much you can trust the company to provide it, all the companies you named along with Red hat and a few others have the LTS options one can plan a business around without any real fear of getting burned.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776687)

I don't think that whether you pay or not matters that much.

Cloud services are always paid for, whether by advertising, collection of data, or actual payment by the user. They all have a business model of some sort. It's not the sort of thing you can run from a box in your closet because you feel like it, and eat the cost because it's not a big deal to you.

So even if you pay, the exact same thing happen. So you pay $10 per month or whatever. Big deal, you're still insignificant in comparison to what's needed to pay for the entire infrastructure, and you have no significant influence on the company that runs it. If it starts being unprofitable, it will get shut down, even if you still want to pay those $10.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38779917)

Cloud Service same as is DRM. You never know at what point the owner pulls the plug.

When you favor Cloud, it is same as you would favor DRM.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (4, Funny)

kwerle (39371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775076)

Yeah, it's a shame that you're 100% locked in to their free service, there is no warning, and you can't get your data out, or use any alternatives.

Oh, wait...

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (5, Interesting)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775138)

Usually there really isn't any good warning ahead in time. For example Microsoft gives exact end of support dates for almost all of their products and it's usually years. With Google it's just a few months. Not all of Google's services are free either, and since they most often don't release the source code, you are basically locked to their services.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775887)

Usually there really isn't any good warning ahead in time.

... when it isn't google.

With Google it's just a few months.

Riiiight...

Not all of Google's services are free either, and since they most often don't release the source code, you are basically locked to their services.

OK - name one of google's services that they have canceled in a way that screwed the users. Where they lost their data or could not get it out in a very meaningful way.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776659)

so have to agree with this assessment.

Google is never about killing off services. NEVER.

Google is about replacing aging or failing services with new or popular services.

GMC customers are never going to lose data if they pay attention and migrate to google apps or elsewhere before the clock runs out.

Google gives you very long warnings. And multiple times.

If you aren't paying attention, you're not doing your job and it's your fault.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777533)

You're replying to a Waggener Edstrom Rapid Response team using sockpuppet software to manage discussions on social networking sites.

"Monitoring conversations, including those that take place with social media, is part of our daily routine; our products can be used as early warning systems, helping clients with rapid response and crisis management. "
http://waggeneredstrom.com/about/approach

Team members include:
bonch
DCTech
ge7
zget
cgeys
*x**y*y**x*
InsightIn140Bytes
SharkLaser
HankMoody (2554362)
TechGuys (2554082)
GreatTech (2557540)
FreeCoder (2558096)

What are alternatives to (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775853)

Reader, Gmail?

(I mean we know they are going to close them eventually as well, right?)

Re:What are alternatives to (2)

kwerle (39371) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776507)

Reader

... any news aggregator?
http://www.newsonfeeds.com/faq/aggregators [newsonfeeds.com]

Gmail?

You're kidding, right? Any mail provider... I don't know what to say.
* I hosted my own until a few years ago
* yahoo
* hotmail
* my isp
* everyone and their brother

I mean we know they are going to close them eventually as well, right?

I don't get it. Why are you just spreading FUD? OK, maybe you don't like google. But you can't come up with a single service that they have shut down and really inconvenienced their users. And you're naming gmail just looks dumb - they make money off that. And while it would not surprise me even a little if reader goes away, I fully expect that it will just roll into some other service they provide (plus, probably); not to mention that they make it trivial to migrate away, should you so choose:
http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/07/export-feeds-from-google-reader-folder.html [blogspot.com]

What's the deal?

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#38778235)

Precisely. I had a play around with their App Inventor system, about five minutes with it. I got so many emails urging me to download my "app" before they took the system offline that it would have been annoying but for the fact they were trying not to be evil.

The cloud is a joke generally, but trust "them" to give you your backups 99.99999% of the time, and that's really useful.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775100)

Microsoft is constantly trying to move Office into the cloud, so what's the difference?

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38779129)

Because their offline versions aren't going anywhere and in fact they take great pains to make sure old versions still run on new OSes? My Win 7 box is running Ms Office 2K which is positively ancient but you know what? it works, and with the free converter pack it even opens the new 2k10 docX files just fine and dandy. When i was playing with the Win 8 dev preview (HATE the new UI BTW and I'm just damned glad Win 7 is supported until 2020 so I can skip 8 on my main system like I did Vista) for shits and giggles i stuck on office 2k and guess what? It STILL works.

From what I've seen of Office 360 or whatever the hell they call it they are going for more of a collaborative thing, to let office users share work as well as have a cheaper way to add office machines without needing a full copy of Office. But i haven't seen anybody say they were gonna remove the ability to use plain old offline MS Office and unless Ballmer is even worse of a CEO than i think he is i doubt seriously anybody in the future will be talking that either.

I'd say this is a problem for those that use Google cloud services but frankly most of their stuff is cheap or free and they DO give you plenty of warning and easy ways to migrate so....meh. I really can't fault the company for dumping a money loser as long as they keep giving users easy ways to migrate. This is one point in Google's favor as they do give plenty of time, its not like they just flip the switch the second they decide to kill something. How long did they give you on Wave and Buzz, something like 6 months? Plenty of time IMHO. i'd say the only thing I'd change is that they have a set in stone EOL like on MSFT's products but frankly they have so many I doubt anybody would know what the EOL is on any of them anyway, so keep doing what you are doing Google, it seems to be fair.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (0)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775104)

How is Cloud different from other software, which can also be killed, unless of course, it is open source. But even with open source, it is more convenient if the company continues to maintain and support it.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775148)

Most times you can continue using existing software, even without support, for an indefinite period until something breaks. There is software written over a decade ago that still works fine without any updates since. If a cloud service goes offline, though, you have no real choice most of the time.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775174)

Because you still have the software as oppossed to a 404 page....
Many bussiness operate well on old software, not because they cannnot afford to change, because the 15 year old ERP system does what they need it to do and there is no reason to. Google expects bussiness to become their beta testers and everyone is a market test case.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

genner (694963) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777155)

How is Cloud different from other software, which can also be killed, unless of course, it is open source. But even with open source, it is more convenient if the company continues to maintain and support it.

If desktop software gets killed you still have your copy to use.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38778293)

true

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775116)

Cloud services are fine - as long as you can easily get your data out of them whenever you want.

And Google is trying to make sure that's possible. [dataliberation.org]

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (5, Insightful)

FreeCoder (2558096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775170)

That is moot point, especially if you try to rely on them for business purposes. Yes, it's good that you can take out your data, but what do you do when they discontinue their service? At least desktop apps continue working. It's kind of funny that Slashdotters in general dislike DRM, and online services are basically the worst kind of DRM.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

Yoda's Mum (608299) | more than 2 years ago | (#38779097)

You spend the required money and/or resources to migrate to a new service to support that business process, and in the process end up with better software and/or process than you previously had. No software can or should exist as-is in perpetuity; change and progress is good for all of us.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (5, Insightful)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775322)

Or, as seems far more likely the case, these services are being removed *precisely because no one relied on them*. They are services that are not getting widespread use, so they are being shut down. Are you still whining over the loss of Microsoft Bob, consigned to the dustbin of history because no one used it?

Yes, cloud services can be shut down. Google generally goes out of their way to make sure you can get your data out, and gives fairly generous time frames in which to do so. They seem to be better about it than most other companies, including those that produce only desktop apps.

Despite grouching to the contrary, there isn't much difference any more between a cloud app going away, and a desktop app being retired. If Microsoft suddenly decided to kill Windows tomorrow, how long could you continue to use it? I'm going to guess "Until the next time you swap out a video card, forcing you to reactivate your copy". What happens when the activation servers aren't there? You have to rely on the company to act properly, and give you a time frame to move to something else during which the activation servers will still be live, or they provide some permanent activation.

Yes, I think DRM sucks, I think activation schemes suck, but they already exist, and until they are gone (which seems fairly unlikely to me) there isn't a major difference between desktop software and cloud services, once the plug is pulled. It is no more 'ridiculous' to rely on cloud services than it is to rely on desktop apps, or the x86 architecture, or the public power grid. Any of those could be changed at any time, though some are far less likely than others to change. Is it more likely gmail goes away, or Outlook/Exchange? Both companies make a crazy amount of money from their offering. One is 'cloud based', one not. Which is more 'ridiculous' to rely on?

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775728)

Guess I'm loading up win2k or WINE.

I'll still be able to run everything but the games and even many of those games will run on 2k with an xp .dll or regedit(it hilarious)

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776815)

I mourn the death of Clippy!

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38779149)

Uhhh...you'd just go the the cracksite and get "WGAKiller" and call it a day? BTW for all the talk about "ZOMFG I'll have to reactivate!" the box I'm typing this on has had every. single. piece ripped out and replaced, and I DO mean every piece, the PSU, HDDs, GPU, Motherboard, CPU, RAM, burners, the only piece left that is original from Oct 09 when i installed Win 7 on it is the case and i had to reactivate a grand total of ONE time, and that was when I ripped out the ECS board with the quad for an Asrock with a 6 core. It took less than 5 seconds and it said 'thank you" and that was it.

So with offline software there is ALWAYS a way around it, be it "legit" or no, but online only and you're screwed. After all I don't see anybody playing their Star Wars Galaxies characters they invested serious time and money in now, do you?

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

andydread (758754) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775354)

So isn't search a "cloud service"? Isn't slashdot a "cloud service" What about Wikipedia? So you still run Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia? What desktop software do you "rely on" for Internet searches? How do you easily collaborate with people on a spreadsheet from different parts of the world who are using different platforms from with in a desktop version of Microsoft Office? What about defunct versions of Microsoft products that have left people's data stuck in a no longer supported proprietary format? What's the difference between paying a subscription to desktop software that can go away at any point it the future or a subscription to a "cloud service" that can go away in the future?

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775490)

For Wikipedia: http://dumps.wikimedia.org/ [wikimedia.org]

For Office, there's Sironta [sironta.com] . Server-less P2P collaboration that works on the three major OSs. It's AGPLv3 licensed.

Re:Slashdot a Cloud Service (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777805)

I sent a submission in a while ago asking Slashdot to provide a "seven click" method to export all my (aka your own) comments. However they didn't post the story and haven't done it.

I have a wealth of info locked in slashdot posts that I want to use for a blog but there's no way to download my post history that I know of. I even emailed help support and they emailed back saying that it wasn't currently a public feature. (Oh, yes, I'm quite sure they could do it if it mattered, we're back to "are you a Big Enough Fi$h to care about".

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775716)

Oh hi, DCTech. Still doing your sockpuppetry, I see.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775747)

Well, I'd buy what he saying if he'd replace "Microsoft" with, say, "LibreOffice".

MS would be happy to sell you subscription to their Office Live - or how's their online docs thing called - instead of one time license for desktop Office, but they're kinda stuck with their suckish IE unable to crunch through it without inducing coma in users. Only IE9 is kinda able to do it.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776479)

Yeah - his focus on Google is completely irrational. Microsoft is pushing just as hard to put everything it has in the cloud, it's just that it has a lot of catching up to do. But the issues that Google faces with its cloud products are universal to all cloud products.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38776503)

bonch (maybe?)
DCTech (2545590)
ge7 (2194648)
zget (2395308)
cgeys
*x**y*y**x* (not sure of correct spelling here)
InsightIn140Bytes
SharkLaser
HankMoody (2554362)
TechGuys (2554082)
GreatTech (2557540)
FreeCoder (2558096)

(there are *at least* 4-5 more than that. it's been happening for over a year)

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/2/cdd1ea06-7cc0-11e0-994d-00144feabdc0.html [ft.com]

Facebook has admitted that it secretly hired a public-relations group in the US with the aim of generating stories critical of Google’s approach to privacy. ...
Burson-Marsteller, a WPP-owned PR agency whose clients also include Microsoft, contacted US newspaper reporters and opinion-piece writers with a view to securing coverage on Google’s alleged use of personal information from Facebook and other social networks.

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2614186&cid=38654948 [slashdot.org]

It's the [...]Anti-Google astroturfer. The last one got killed because it he admitted he was a paid astroturfer for MS. This one isn't going to last very long either. Note for anyone who is wondering why I know (with >95% certainty) that DCTech is a paid astroturfer:
* brand new handle
* posts random Google is evil posts in the most unrelated topics
* does so within seconds of the article being up
* does little other than post Google is evil

Also:
* Will often praise Apple or RIM or another non-google company in a fake concession to hide the motive of the post
* Often will criticize Linux
* Will say things like "well, at least this is one thing MS/FB gets right, compare that to how "evil" Google is
* Often complains about cloud services compared to MS's tried and true PC model
-------

It's sad we have to chase you around with a running list of handles just to have a non-astroturfed discussion here. And if anyone wants to report this
post as abuse please feel free. The Slashdot admins need to wake up and get involved or this place will end up like Digg.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777399)

So it's back to the Google-bashing first post, is it? At leas now we can we can add FreeCoder to the Bonch/Sharklaser/Dtech etc team and ignore their posts as paid shilling.

Re:Cloud Services vs. Desktop Apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38779877)

GP is a shill. Look a his comment history, his UID and how similar he is to InsightIn140Bytes, DavidSell etc...

Why would any company work with them now? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775046)

If they can this easily kill off Google Message Continuity, something marketed only to Enterprise customers running Exchange, then why would any enterprise consider using any of their services? Their migration path is just to move everyone to Gmail. If that's what the company wanted in the first place, they would've just done that.

Re:Why would any company work with them now? (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777635)

If they can this easily kill off Google Message Continuity, something marketed only to Enterprise customers running Exchange, then why would any enterprise consider using any of their services? Their migration path is just to move everyone to Gmail. If that's what the company wanted in the first place, they would've just done that.

This was a money losing proposition from the get go, and one you can easily replicate by doing a proper server backup to any off-site location. "Hundreds of Businesses" use it.

What they found is that user wanted to use Gmail, entirely walking away from exchange. The more success they had selling Google Apps (including paid Gmail customers) the less candidates for GMC. "Millions of Businesses" use Google Apps.

If you missed the bit about Hundreds vs Millions you might be forgiven. It was buried fairly deep.

Buried deeper is the fact that you can walk away from GMC tomorrow morning at 8am and have a competitive solution in place by noon, or operate with your own backup. You find it much tougher walking away from Google Apps or using Gmail for your entire in-house mail. You usually have no backup for that.

Even odder was the announcement about Needlebase:

Needlebase: We are retiring this data management platform, which we acquired from ITA Software, on June 1, 2012. The technology is being evaluated for integration into Google's other data-related initiatives.

Whoa, shutting down a data management platform they haven't even acquired yet? No, wait, twisted sentence structure!

Re:Why would any company work with them now? (3, Informative)

Vexo (825223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777651)

Note that, as per TFA, all Continuity customers "will be able to use GMC for the duration of their contract." Google is providing its enterprise customers exactly the amount of service permanence that it promised and that its customers agreed to when they signed those contracts.

That's progress (5, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775060)

The Google announcement doesn't leave many people stranded, it's just taking acquired products and sending the users to more popular web-based products. Examples include Urchiin users told to move to Google Analyitics, and Exchange backup users to move to GMail for Google Apps. In total, nothing of value is being lost, and developer resources move from maintaining the old to innovating the new.

Re:That's progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775254)

Might as well get rid of Google Groups too. Pick out the historically relevant and useful content posts by those who contributed them, then dump the 20+ years are arguments, flamewars, and endless debates into the bit bucket. Put the historically relevant posts in a Google history archive of some sort. No need for the rest of the useless debates even in the big 8 heirarchy, especially with many of them having profane and racist content, regardless of whether the poster was anonymous or posted using their real name.

Re:That's progress (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775306)

Google killed DejaNews deader than Julius Caesar.

Re:That's progress (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776355)

try again... it bought Deja and incorporated it into GoogleGroups.

Re:That's progress (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776501)

Yes. And boy THAT was a real mess.

Re:That's progress (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777669)

Might as well get rid of Google Groups too.

Oh, I don't know, profanity and all, I suggest its a sociological gold mine that gets more valuable as time goes on. It costs a little bit of disk space, but realistically the history is worth something.

You still find a lot of stuff posted over there about current products - it seems to be Google's Forum for tech support these days.

Re:That's progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775266)

What your saying is that it's a forced migration.
"What your using may work great for you, we don't care, you must migrate"

Thanks for the fringe case examples though, however bussiness and users do not like change just because "It's progress"

Re:That's progress (5, Interesting)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775360)

No, you are wrong, here is an example: http://google.com/codesearch [google.com]
No more service, and no replacement (don't believe what they say, this service was indexing all source code on the Internet, not Google's only).

Google is killing every service that doesn't return quick money. This means that Google just stopped all innovation (except a few star projects, like Google car, but what does an advertisement's company do in the automobile's domain anyway ? It's so ... out of place).

Why would you want to take risks when you can make money with existing products ?
Why would you put money in Research when you can concentrate on Development ?
Oh, that's right: let's buy any startup that has an interesting idea, and kill the idea if it doesn't make money.

Google is ranked as the 2nd most innovative company in 2010:
http://www.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/innovative_companies_2010.html [businessweek.com]
Let's see how it will do in the next rankings.

The problem with Google is now greed.

Re:That's progress (5, Interesting)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775494)

Can you explain to me how this is different than, say, every other company in the world? Apple's latest innovation? Siri? Bought from someone else, then magically it doesn't work on anything but their newest phone, despite the fact it was available as an app for the older phones? Microsoft? Even their browser was bought from someone else, not to mention FrontPage (I didn't say it was good...), Excel, the Explore pane in Bing... Adobe has DreamWeaver, Flash, Fireworks...

The problem with Google now is greed. Sadly though, that's the problem with every other company on the planet. Microsoft announces that from now on, web programming should be done in HTML5 and Javascript, and screw all of you that learned ASP.NET. Adobe gives you mobile flash, Adobe taketh away.

Google continues to push forward with new services (G+, Car) and continue to add to older services (New google search changes, gmail interface changes) even if those turn out not to be popular. The search thing seems to be earning them some grief in particular, yet they tried something new. They could easily have left gmail and search exactly as it was, or not started G+, or Reader, or Wave. They DID change things, and start new things though, so that kind of kills your argument that they aren't putting money into anything, or doing R&D.

Re:That's progress (1)

cynyr (703126) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776215)

Microsoft announces that from now on, web programming should be done in HTML5 and Javascript, and screw all of you that learned ASP.NET. Adobe gives you mobile flash, Adobe taketh away.

How is that LISP or pascal serving you today? how about BASIC? or any number of other languages that are basically gone these days. How about all that "insert dead gui toolkithere"?

Re:That's progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38776409)

LISP, Pascal and BASIC were single implementations locked to single vendor? That's new.

Re:That's progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38776639)

LISPs are working alright in enterprises as Common LISP, in education as Scheme and Clojure has a bit of interest going for it.

Pascal was quite alive with Delphi, and still lives in all the in-house Delphi apps.

BASIC morphed through structured variants into VB.Net and VBA - I'm sure you heard about those.

Your examples just serve to outline the point: LISP, Pascal and BASIC are not dependent on well-being of one true vendor, but with stuff like Silverlight, ASP.NET and Flash you put thousands of hours you spent learning your skills at the mercy of a company who'll just tell you to forget it and go learn The Real Thing they just released (it'll last, we promise!)

Re:That's progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38779067)

Actually, BASIC didn't ever fully go away, it just evolved. Because it's no longer just Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, it's now written these days as Basic. Line numbers are no longer needed, but the BASIC syntax used in Basic is quite similar.

Two examples of Basic still in existence include Visual Basic (and the VBA subset, and the VBScript subset) and DarkBasic that includes game creation type libraries.

Re:That's progress (2)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776435)

About ASP.NET, you made a mistake. I'm an ASP.Net developer too. What disappears is Silverlight, not ASP.Net.

Sadly though, that's the problem with every other company on the planet.

Sadly, I agree with you.
When times are tough, all companies tend to reduce their expenses, and the first cuts are with employees and research.
In my opinion, this is very wrong, the economy slows down because every company has the same behaviour.
Having such a pessimistic point of view means that Google is not confident anymore in their products.

What irritates me is that the companies doing the most effort on reducing expenses are the richest ones, and the resulting profits will not be redistributed, except for the shareholders.
Typically, management asks their employees to do more with less (improve productivity), and at the end, they fire people to improve their margins further.

And no, Google invest where they know that they'll have money in return (search, gmail, etc..), and mostly because of competition.
THIS IS NOT INNOVATION !!!
Innovation is about taking risks, investing everywhere. See Microsoft and IBM, they do a lot of Research, because they know that you cannot predict what will be a success in the future.
Remember the 20% at Google (20% of your time is spent on new projects), it's not officially dead, but I'll tell you: IT'S DEAD !

If you just concentrate on improving a product, this is not innovation, this is just improving your quality, process and productivity.
When you have an innovative company (using a disruptive innovation), like Google was, and you start to copy your followers, this means that you are not able to innovate anymore, you have no new ideas and no vision for the future.
The only thing you can do is to buy smaller companies to add value to yours.

Google is the new Microsoft, let's see what company will take Google's place.

Re:That's progress (1)

madmark1 (1946846) | more than 2 years ago | (#38778833)

I'm sorry, can you please fill me in on the exciting innovations coming from Microsoft lately? Live tiles? On the google side, did you forget Car, Wave, G+, WDYL, Swiffy, Wallet, Offers, Music, Fusion Tables, Panoramio, Schemer... and those are just the recent ones. Some of those may be services they acquired from others, but some are also their own.

Re:That's progress (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about 2 years ago | (#38779715)

Where do you see something exciting in these projects ?
They are just eye-catching, and I predict they will be killed in the near future (Wave is already dead).
See hairyfeet's reply, his fad's concept is so true.

About innovation, read this interesting article about 3M:
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_24/b4038406.htm [businessweek.com]
To sum it up: 3M had a culture of innovation during 100 years. A single CEO killed this culture in 4 years.

And 3M just got out of the top 50 most innovative companies:
http://www.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/innovative_companies_2010.html [businessweek.com]

To make room for 2010's freshmen, a half-dozen American giants on 2009's list got dumped: AT&T, ExxonMobil, 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Southwest Airlines, and Target

Re:That's progress (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#38779231)

If I had modpoints i'd mod you to 1000, so sad yet so true. The only other thing I'd add is look at how companies have become fad chasers, if a fad pops they suddenly drop things that work to chase the fad. look at MSFT which you point out does billions in research, but how many of it that isn't fad chasing to they actually develop into products? Ever since Ballmer they have been pissing away their core business (Business software and OSes) trying to be fucking Apple. Its the business customers and business developers that have been the big money clients yet they are gonna take a big old shit right on top of them to push HTML V5 because Ballmer wants to be the head of Apple so damned bad it hurts, simply because Apple has the buzz with iOS. Well i got news for them if we wanted fricking Apple we'd buy fricking Apple!

But I agree that Google is falling into the same trap as MSFT and IBM, too much focus on short term, not enough on long. The problem Google is gonna have is like Yahoo frankly there is nothing keeping their customers from walking away, whereas big blue will always have mainframes and MSFT will have workstations. It will be curious to see if some startup can just pop up and do to Google what Google did to Yahoo and Altavista, or whether the culture you pointed out of just inhaling startups will ensure we keep these same megacorps for the next decade.

Personally I predict after a couple more megaflops MSFT will accept their fate as the IBM of desktops, what will happen with Google will be anybody's guess, to me the big question mark will be Apple. Will Cook be able to predict new markets like Jobs did and stay one step ahead of the game, or will it be like the Pepsi guy where they try to coast on past success and slowly go downhill? In any case i'd say the next 5 years are gonna be pretty rough and tumble, especially if the economy keeps going south.

Re:That's progress (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about 2 years ago | (#38779701)

You are so right about fads !
Everybody thinks that innovation must be eye-catching.
I recommend that you read Edwards Deming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Edwards_Deming ). For example "The New Economics", it really hurts. He's right since 50 years, and was never listened in his own country.

Will Cook be able to predict new markets like Jobs did and stay one step ahead of the game, or will it be like the Pepsi guy where they try to coast on past success and slowly go downhill? In any case i'd say the next 5 years are gonna be pretty rough and tumble, especially if the economy keeps going south

After reading Steve Jobs' biography, my CEO told me that it was pure luck that Jobs was successful with Apple.
He was a psychopath, and he was obsessed with design.
It's just that his obsession matched the market.

I believe that Apple will do as Google and Microsoft: they'll improve their existing products, and perhaps buy companies which offer new products.
But I doubt they'll be able to propose new ideas.
Perhaps they have enough money to start copying competition, but at a higher cost (as did Microsoft with its XBox).
I'm now waiting to see what FoxConn and Lenovo will propose in the near future.

Re:That's progress (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775656)

Google car make PERFECT sense for an advertisement company.

When a Google automated car comes and delivers your pizza with customized adSense ads, you will see what I am talking about. In fact the pizza box will have big green download arrow for some crappy software that looks like the tab to open the box.

Re:That's progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777695)

No, you are wrong, here is an example: http://google.com/codesearch [google.com]

Troll much? From the link you supplied [google.com] hoping no one would think for themselves.

Re:That's progress (2)

bhassel (1098261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38778483)

Google code search is still up, just at a different URL here:
http://code.google.com/codesearch [google.com]

And it's not limited to just Google's own code. From this blog post: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2012/01/google-code-search-still-available.html [blogspot.com]

Re:That's progress (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about 2 years ago | (#38779721)

Thanks ! I didn't notice it.

Re:That's progress (1)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776599)

and Exchange backup users to move to GMail for Google Apps. In total, nothing of value is being lost, and developer resources move from maintaining the old to innovating the new.

Is that sarcastic? A business is going to dump its massive investment in messaging systems: Servers, clients, handhelds, integration with other apps and systems -- and redo it all in GMail? Nothing of value is being lost?

How long until they kill google search :p (4, Funny)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775062)

at this rate... this may be quicker than I thought possible

Re:How long until they kill google search :p (1)

steeleye_brad (638310) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775118)

With how crappy Google's search results have been getting, some may argue it already is dead.

Re:How long until they kill google search :p (5, Insightful)

Njovich (553857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775258)

Amen, I love Google, but for any search that is slightly complicated I turn to Yahoo these days. Google doesn't seem to take you serious when you enter search terms, often ignoring terms to give a more popular result. Having to add quotes is also a hell of a lot more annoying than the + sign was. That is four keypresses for quoting a single expression. Quote a couple of expressions on a mobile phone and it just gets annoying. Also it forces localization on you, which gets a pain when you speak English and another language roughly equally well and just want the best result. I wish there was just a version that treated all languages equally. The problem is that the 'local' languages gets precedence, regardless of quality of result. Yes there are settings for them, they work like crap, try them for a while.

Re:How long until they kill google search :p (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775504)

Yahoo is just a layer above Bing, might as well use it directly.

Re:How long until they kill google search :p (2)

SmilingBoy (686281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775811)

Use the "Verbatim" option.

Re:How long until they kill google search :p (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38779093)

When you do your search, and decide that you don't like how Google helped "fix up" your query, you can use "verbatim" mode. On the left side of the screen you'll see a "search tools" link. Click that, and it will expand to a list of various search options. Click "verbatim" and you'll get exactly the terms you searched for, no spelling correction, no synonyms, etc.

I think for most people, the automatic "improvements" of their search queries yields better results, because most people aren't very precise about their queries. For geeks, I think it would be good if Google provided a way to set verbatim mode as the default.

Re:How long until they kill google search :p (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38779273)

one (long) word: duckduckgo.

Re:How long until they kill google search :p (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775124)

Search is profitable because AdWords works well with it. The closed services were things that had Google compete with itself.

Re:How long until they kill google search :p (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777677)

Not to be redundant, but they've already killed the usefulness of the search. I've been using Google since their inception. I may be moving to Bing or Yahoo because Google's search results have regressed in quality substantially.

Google really needs to fix their shit. Consumer force only goes so far with technology: it's still very much the case that people look to their geek friends for technology recommendations.

UrchinTracker didn't give the info to Google (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775176)

UrchinTracker let advertisers track what users were doing, but didn't let Google track them. So it had to go. Big Brother doesn't like competition.

CONSUME! (2)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775178)

watch out! here comes the google monster! It will gobble up your website and shit it out once its bored!

I actually kind of liked picnik, but whatever let the internet strip-mining continue ... thanks google

Re:CONSUME! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775929)

watch out! here comes the google monster! It will gobble up your website and shit it out once its bored!

Hey Google... want to buy universalmusic.com or sonymusic.com? How about wmg.com, too? Gobble gobble gobble... c'mon, shit it out already!

Sky Map (2)

Naurgrim (516378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775288)

I see I am not in before the cloud is good/cloud is bad discussion, but I do want to say I am glad Sky Map has a chance to continue. It is the first thing I use to show older relatives what smart phones can do.

How about updating Picasa? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775616)

Picasa is a little long in the tooth and needs some new features and a UI change to make it more user friendly.

Re:How about updating Picasa? (1)

Daengbo (523424) | about 2 years ago | (#38779555)

Picasaweb has migrated to Google+ Photos, and Picnik is closed as a standalone and is instead called "Creative Suite" or something in the photo service. Just like the rest of Google's local applications, I doubt Picasa has a real future. Picnik (also on the chopping block in TFA) really needs to move from Flash to HTML5, and they need to work on the load time.

Picasa, yes, but... (1)

CurryCamel (2265886) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775646)

Picasa I have heard about, but never used. But I hadn't even heard about these now shut down services. Had you?

Is it just me that is getting middle-aged?

I fear for Google SketchUp (3, Interesting)

afabbro (33948) | more than 2 years ago | (#38775851)

Google SketchUp is a hugely useful, free 3D modeling program. It has become the de facto standard in lots of hobbies (such as woodworking) because it's free, works well, and now there's a bajillion community add-ons.

The problem is that it's Windows/Mac desktop software. It's completely orthogonal to Google's strategy. There's no ad revenue, and while there is a paid-for commercial version, I can't imagine it's big bucks for Google. The commercial version is $500, and at that price there's plenty of competition from other commercial packages.

I'm sure someone in the headier days of Google saw it and thought "wow, this is cool, let's buy it!" and so they did. But what really is the strategy/purpose of owning it? It's great software, no doubt, but I think Google would be hard-pressed to explain how it moves their company forward.

And so I fear for Google SketchUp. The free version is so awesome and I use it extensively...and I suspect some day someone in Google is going to discard it as carelessly as they bought it.

Re:I fear for Google SketchUp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38775985)

If you are on Android give Skye a try. Sky Map is good, Skye is much better.

Re:I fear for Google SketchUp (2)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776117)

The only real reason Google is keeping Sketch-Up is that it ties into Google Earth.

Unfortunately Google Earth's cancellation is already planned. As soon Google can reliably replicate enough of its functionality into the WebGL version of Google Maps, Google Earth will be gone.

In the plus side, at least there is some hope of Google releasing the Sketch-Up source, since it is not tied into any of Google's core technologies.

Re:I fear for Google SketchUp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38776127)

SketchUp is still there as it lets them crowdsource 3D map element design, which in turn gives google maps an advantage over it rivals in "oooh shiny" terms.

Once the streetview cars can also do detection for a full 3D map interpretation, then you need to worry about SketchUp,

Re:I fear for Google SketchUp (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776143)

I believe it's for people to design buildings for Google Earth/Maps.

Re:I fear for Google SketchUp (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777417)

I really wish they'd release Sketch-up for Linux. Updated versions of Picasa as well. I find it a bit strange that they don't since they have such a large number of employees using Linux.

Death of Google (-1)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38776707)

I guess this is the end of the 20% philosophy.
The fall has begun.

Re:Death of Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777147)

Unfortunately you're much closer than the truth than probably even you realize.

Good guy Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777127)

Start the meme! Open sourcing skymap is awesome! Thanks google!

Re:Good guy Google (1)

genner (694963) | more than 2 years ago | (#38777181)

Start the meme! Open sourcing skymap is awesome! Thanks google!

Your meme is bad and you should feel bad.

The license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38777169)

is Apache 2.0. (i.e. non-copyleft free software)

Re:The license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38778803)

Good.

the meaning... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38778029)

Google is loosing its life. They will be dead in short.

There are plenty of alternatives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38778335)

For picnik, there is http://www.imagebot.com/ and many others. It's HTML5 editor that is SVG based, and has a bunch of image filters, clipart etc...

Cameron
Disclosure: I work on imagebot, and very proud to be!

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