September 6, 2011
Even More Google Services Get Cut
There are reports that Google is planning to dump a few more features and products this week. The full list is in CRN and the official Google blog. I found a few of discontinued items interesting in how some one-time hot ideas simply fall by the wayside as trends change. One of them is Google Pack, which is a productivity bundle of software that users could download to help them “get the most out of their computers.” That time has passed as far as Google is concerned as the company notes that most people using the functionality in Google Pack are instead using apps. Anyone needing, say, Skype, Chrome, Picassa, and others formerly in the pack can download them individually from the Google Pack web site.
One piece of software missing from that download site is Google Desktop. Remember the days when Google and others were competing with applications that would index the desktop as a replacement for the crummy search built into Windows? Even Microsoft came out with a competing multi-featured indexer at the time. There were statements made about how Google conceivably breached privacy by copying information to their servers in exchange for the convenience of indexing disparate file types from a personal computer hard drive. Ironically, Windows’ own built in search and cloud computing made desktop search applications superfluous. I’m not against cloud computing mind you. It’s just that the fear of Google knowing what was in the deep dark recesses of our hard drives has been replaced by simply handing the company (or Microsoft and Amazon) our files to keep safe for us.
Fast Flip is on the chopping block as well. That is the feature that appeared on the right side of Google News as a thumbnail of a web page from a story’s source. I used it occasionally if the story caught my eye. It seemed a bit inefficient in some regard as I had to click on the thumbnail which brought up a larger graphic of the same story where I had to click again to get to the story text in a readable form. Google says the technology for Fast Flip will live on in other products and services. Other services that will be gone include Image Labeler, Notebook, Sidewiki, and Subscribed Links. Details are in the Official Google Blog post. [MG]