17 failed Google projects, services and products | Google's biggest failures
Here’s a look at what Google has waved goodbye to so far...
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1. Failed Google projects: CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA was Google's main method of telling humans and robots apart on the internet, by asking us to enter a distorted code or word depicted on screen.
CAPTCHA's closure is said to be because it no longer provides an accurately way of telling humans and robots apart. Instead, Google has created an invisible version, reCAPTCHA, that monitors user browsing patterns to determine whether they are a human or robot.
After acquiring reCAPTCHA in 2009, Google launched No CAPTCHA in 2014, an "I'm not a robot" checkbox that - if ticked - knows you're not a robot. Google's latest invisible reCAPTCHA removes this box entirely and instead monitors how you interact with websites.
2. Failed Google projects: Google Site Search
In February 2017, Google announced that it would be discontinuing its Google Site Search, a service that enables any website to add a custom search field powered by Google.
In a private email to customers and partners, Google revealed plans to stop selling new licenses and renewals to current customers by 1 April 2017, according to Fortune.
Apparently, Google will still offer support for customers with active licences during the products winding down period.
3. Failed Google projects: Picasa
Google bought Picasa in 2004 to enable users to organise their photos online. Now Google has retired Picasa to focus on Google Photos, a new (launched May 2015) photo sharing service.
Google Photos centres on the cloud and mobile services and provides users with unlimited photo and video backup on the cloud and aims to incorporate its face recognition AI.
According to reports Picasa users shouldn't have much disruption as their existing photos in Picasa will appear automatically in Google Photos.
4. Failed Google projects: Search appliances
Search appliances is an enterprise tool that acts as a server 'crawling' through company resources and data mimicking the search available on Google's online search engine. Google search appliances are also integrated with Google analytics and provide reports of company usage and effectiveness.
According to reports Google has retired its search appliances. Google search appliances won't be sold after 2017 but support for existing produces will remain for the next three years.
A partner blog from Perficient claim Google have ended search application in favour of cloud based services.
Chad Johnson says: "Google has decided to sunset the hardware-based Google Search Appliance (GSA) and focus their engineering efforts on cloud-based solutions."
5. Failed Google projects: Google Helpouts
Launched in 2013, Google Helpouts enabled users to share their expertise via a live stream. The service was aimed to help people in real-time through their PCs or mobile devices.
Google Helpouts issued users with a Helpout calendar that could be synced with Google Calendars with users being notified of video demos via test, email or calendar notification.
Google Helpouts was discontinued in April 2015.
6. Failed Google projects: Google Moderator
Google Moderator was a feedback monitoring tool that allowed users to rank other users' questions and suggestions (a bit like Reddit).
In probably its most famous use, President Obama transition team used Google Moderator to hold a series called 'Open for Questions' in which President Obama and his team answered questions from the public, drawing in around 1 million votes and 10,000 questions.
Google Moderator was shut down in June 2015 after failing to attract mass usage.
7. Failed Google projects: Engineering office in Russia
Google revealed it was closing its engineering office in Russia at the end of 2014. It came as restrictions on internet freedoms increased, such as a law, which comes into effect this year, that requires foreign companies to store Russian users’ personal data on Russia-based servers.
There will still be support and marketing staff in the country.
8. Failed Google projects: Google Glass
The much vaunted future technology Google Glass is sadly no more. As of January 2015, Google has closed its Glass Explorer Program, which allowed developers to create apps for the £1,000 wearable.
Now, the device is no longer available for sale. Google claims that there will be “future versions” of Glass when it’s ready.
9. Failed Google projects: Google News in Spain
In December 2014, Google closed down its Google News in Spain after a law was passed in the country requiring Google and other aggregators to pay local publishers for links to or snippets of stories.
10. Failed Google projects: Bump and Flock
Google bought the iOS and Android mobile sharing app Bump, which enabled smartphone users to bump their devices to share photos, videos and more, in September 2015.
It also got the group-sharing Flock photo app in the deal. But Google axed both apps at the end of January 2014: users had 30 days to retrieve their data before it went poof
11. Failed Google projects: Currents
Google informed users of its Currents news reader app for Android that it would be no more, though would be replaced by Google Play Newsstand.
The ripple of concern over Currents’ loss came nowhere near the backlash users exhibited in 2013 when Google Reader was killed off.
12. Failed Google projects: Bufferbox
Google bought parcel storage service Bufferbox in 2012, but announced the offering will be no more as of Spring 2014.
Google said the “learnings and technology” from Bufferbox was to future Google Shopping services.
13. Failed Google projects: Schemer
Google Schemer, perhaps the company’s best-named offering, announced in January 2014 that this service for sharing and discovering things to do would be shutting down in February 2014.
Users were directed to use the Explore feature of Google Maps now to find cool things to do
14. Failed Google projects: Chrome Kill Switch
Google gave developers of extensions to its Chrome browser for Windows until May 2014 to register their work with its online store.
After that, the company started throwing a kill switch to keep extensions from flooding customers’ systems with adware and other such sneaky/sketchy stuff.
15. Failed Google projects: Dual-OS tablets
Word at the time was that Google and Microsoft are not psyched about reaching across the aisle and allowing vendors like Asustek to roll out tablets that run both Android and Windows.
Asustek announced the Transformer Book Duet at CES 2014, but Google and/or Microsoft are believed to have put the kibosh on the product before it even had a chance to ship
16. Failed Google projects: Facial recognition in Google Glass
2014 saw Google kill off its facial recognition tech in Google Glass even before it became an actual product. At the time there were several serious privacy concerns. “Strong privacy protections” will need to be in place before any such features are allowed, according to the company’s Project Glass team.
17. Failed Google projects: Developers lose Google Code
Google announced that it was shutting down Google Code in January 2016. The main reason for killing off the platform is that developers prefer other open source platforms such as GitHub and Bitbucket, a Google employee said in an official blog post.
"Adjusting" the Glass program doesn't mean Google is ending it, he said
Gecko's designers will join Google X, which works on new products like Glass
The development would dovetail with Intel's push into wearables