Google Undergoes Some Streamlining By Closing 10 Businesses

September 5th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

With Google trying to get into other businesses aside from relying simply on online search, it has gone through a series of acquisitions over the years to boost up its opportunities in other markets. Unfortunately, not all of its acquisitions actually came out as expected. Some have been under-performing of late, which may not be what Google wanted. And so, instead of providing some of its much needed capital to fund its operations, Google has decided to instead close some of them to focus its resources on more promising opportunities.

Google has announced that it is closing 10 businesses in its current lineup in order to focus on the remaining ones where they expect better chances at success. According to Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President at Google, it is doing some spring cleaning on products related or unrelated to its online search business. Google’s aim, according to the blog, it to make things simpler for users as well as improve on the overall Google experience.

The businesses that Google will be shutting down included the following:

  • Aardvark– an experimental form of social search that aims to help people answer each other’s questions. This start up was acquired by Google sometime in 2010.
  • Desktop– this product aims to help people search through their PC more conveniently, including files, web pages visited, photos, email and more. Google is discontinuing this product due to the gradual shifting from local to cloud based storage and computing.
  • Fast Flip– this service offers users a quick means to scan and go through news headlines and topics before reading the whole articles.
  • Google Maps API for Flash– this was launched to help developers for Action Script to integrate Google Maps into applications. This will be replaced by JavaScript Maps API ver. 3
  • Google Pack– this service will be shut down as more and more people are now using Web applications rather than downloaded software. Users might still be able to access to Google and partner software via direct links provided on the Google Pack website.
  • Google Web Security– this will be discontinued as web security functionality now comes largely as an integrated service from different Google products.
  • Image Labeler– a game designed to get people to label images on the Web.
  • Notebook– a product that allowed people to save web clippings and free form notes into documents that can be shared and published.
  • Sidewiki– functioning similar to Wikipedia but with short comments and useful information coming via a sidebar on a web page, Sidewiki will be discontinued with the focus now going for broader social initiatives.
  • Subscribed Links– this service allows developers to create specialized search results from queries for subscribed users. The results are then added along with the generic Google search results. This service will be available only until September 15.

These services and products will be discontinued by Google. It actually comes in the heels of a previous closure of Google Health and Google PowerMeter as well as Google Labs several months ago. Google may be intent on trying to focus more on a few products that they think will become more successful among users. These closures will surely be missed by those users who have come to rely on them all these years.


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