Google’s Failed Projects & Services
Our favourite websites and social platforms are no strangers to failure; Facebook has seen the closure of Facebook Deals, Facebook Credits, Facebook Inbox and more, Snapchat has been through many a failed redesign and even Instagram had its fair share of hiccups ahead of its success. What you may be more surprised to hear, however, is that leading search engine Google is no exception to this rule. With the recent announcement that Google+ will be shutting down on April 2nd, the team at Absolute Digital Media have decided to take a closer look at some of Google’s failed projects, from their social media networks, to their photo sharing platforms.
We all know Google+ as Google’s attempt at creating a social media network. First launched in 2011, it was a network that focused on bringing people together through the creation of ‘circles’ that allowed its users to create groups or lists of different people. Within its first few years, Google+ had more than 395 million monthly active users and ranked the fifth top social media network, but as other social media platforms began to roll out new and innovative features, the platform struggled to compete. With the likes of Facebook and Twitter holding more than a billion users between them, Google+ appeared to be becoming a network primarily for business.
Following a serious security breach in October 2018, Google announced that its social network Google+ would be shutting down. While it was estimated that it would take a total of 10 months to completely shut down the service, after a second data leak the search engine giant revealed that it would be closing four months earlier in April 2019, with its APIs shutting down as early as March 7th. While users are currently still able to use the platform, it will not be available after April 2nd.
A year before the launch of Google+, Google initially launched a form of social media platform by the name of Google Buzz. Google Buzz was a social networking, microblogging and messaging tool that also integrated Google’s mail platform, Gmail. Like Facebook, users could share photos, videos, status updates and more and in a blog post published just two days after the new social networking platform was launched, it was revealed that the service had already seen 9 million posts and comments. In fact, it was pushing out an extra 200 posts per minute on mobile devices alone.
Despite the platforms initial success, the service was discontinued on December 15, 2011 as a result of security issues and privacy concerns. It was suggested that the platform paid little attention to the privacy of its users and saw strong criticism as a result.
Just 4 years after the platform was launched, Google announced that it would be closing its online collaboration service, Google Helpouts. This platform was designed to allow users to share their expertise through live video and provide real-time assistance for clients or viewers from their computer or mobile device.
While the platform had a lot of potential, the way it was executed was the cause of its downfall. Many users complained that the helpouts they paid for didn’t offer any help, not to mention that users required a Google Wallet in order to access them in the first place. When many of these users already had platforms like PayPal or even just their bank card, many didn’t want to sign up for yet another payment processor.
Google Site Search
Another failed project is Google Site Search which enabled users to add a custom search field to their website. However, in a confidential email that was sent to Google’s customers and partners, it was revealed that the search engine giant planned to stop renewing and selling licenses to existing customers by 1st April 2017.
While Google planned to move all of it’s customers over to their Custom Search Engine alternative, the query limits on this made it a bad choice for those on restricted plans or who had a higher volume of traffic running to their site.
While Picasa wasn’t created by Google, the search engine giant went on to buy the business in 2004 and at the time, it was a great investment. It allowed users to upload their photos in one place but with more and more people wanting to store their photos online, Google launched their own service to store photos – Google Photos -11 years later in May 2015. Despite waving goodbye to Picasa, Google Photos is still a widely used platform.
It was announced in early 2016 that Google’s Search Appliance software would be phased out, with a complete discontinuation planned to take place in 2019.According to reports, they have not been available since the end of 2017. A blog by Perficient stated that Google search appliances stopped being sold as a result of the rise in cloud-based services, and Chad Johnson Director at Google Enterprise Search later revealed that:
“Google has decided to sunset the hardware-based Google Search Appliance (GSA) and focus their engineering efforts on cloud-based solutions.” Google Moderator
Google Moderator was very similar to Reddit whereby users could rank other user’s questions and answers. While it is no longer available to use, many remember the platform from when Barack Obama’s transition team set up an experiment called ‘Open for Questions’, in which Obama and his team went on to answer questions from the general public. The campaign generated 1 million votes and more than 10,000 questions in total, making it one of the largest campaigns hosted on the platform.
While Google have tried their hardest to launch the next best social media platform or service, the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram continue to keep their users engaged. For more information about the social media management services we provide, get in touch with a member of our expert team on 0800 088 6000, today.