Wednesday, October 5

The cemetery of Google applications | Digital Trends Spanish

Everyone has enjoyed the services that Google has offered over the years and they are quite useful. In fact, a large part of people take advantage of them every day and cannot imagine working without tools such as Gmail, Google Maps, Google Drive, etc.

However, there are applications and services that, either due to little success, because they were merged with others or because they were no longer profitable for the company, they were simply eliminated, such as the company’s failed social network: Google Plus. But that is not the only product canceled, there are many more.

Services that Google has removed can be seen on sites like The Google Cemetery and Killed by Google, which are virtual cemeteries with everything that the company has canceled. According to this last website, so far 243 tools have been registered (between applications, hardware and services) that Google closed or that have an expiration date. Some of them went unnoticed, others were replaced, and a portion of them are still missed by some users.

Probably the best known case is that of Google Plus, the long-awaited response to Facebook that was launched in 2011 and to which the company tried to get us to enter it in every possible way. However, this failed attempt by Google to gain popularity in the field of social networks had its final death in 2020.

After being relegated to an enterprise app for a year, the last vestiges of this product died out in July of last year, when Google replaced it with a revamped brand called Google Currents.

But, previously, the company had already delivered an overwhelming assessment on Google Plus, noting that “it had not achieved wide adoption by consumers or developers, and that it had seen limited user interaction with applications.”

While Currents is technically a replacement, it is a version of the Google Plus service that is so far removed from the original purpose that they cannot be viewed as analogs. Either way, the social network simply passed away and couldn’t compete with the other established ones.

Another app that caught the eye of Google fans was Inbox, an offshoot of Gmail that the company launched in 2014 with a more experimental slant.

Innovative features such as smart replies, snoozing emails, or managing them without opening them gave the app an edge over the standard Gmail service, at least until 2018. Then the redesign of Gmail incorporated most of the features and intelligence of Inbox. And although Google promised that this application would remain active, it was finally closed in March 2019.

problems in Hangouts Hangouts app icon on iPhone

In the field of online communications, Google has made a lot of changes and experimentation, starting with Google Talk in 2005. This application came up with the idea that Gmail users could chat and make voice and video calls, but when this turned seven years old, Google decided to eliminate it and replace it with Hangouts.

In turn, Google Hangouts was dying for years, but in 2020 the company ended the application. It had been stripped of many features, such as integration with Google Fi and Google Voice, and no longer allowed video calling, for example.

However, that same year all Hangouts replacements grew and became a definitive version. In the wake of the pandemic, because people were unable to leave home and needed to communicate remotely, the Meet and Duo apps received a host of feature updates for business and personal use, respectively.

On the other hand, Google Messages finally got the chat feature to work around the world. Google now supports the new RCS protocol (Rich Communication Services), which operators hope will replace SMS in the near future, and has included features such as reactions and end-to-end encryption.

And speaking of online communications, let’s also remember Google Allo, which was a kind of virtual assistant for messaging. This application suffered a serious identity crisis, it was not a classic instant messaging service and it was not SMS either. Allo disappeared in March 2019, but many of its features, such as smart replies and desktop support, were carried over to Google’s Messages app.

On the musical side we have Google Play Music, which was the main application of streaming of the company for years, and despite having many fans, it never managed to take off like Spotify or Apple Music.

Google began testing a music-focused YouTube app in late 2015, and three years later released YouTube Music as its new music app. streaming of music.

YouTube Music ran in parallel with Google Play Music as Google transitioned its functions to the new service. But in 2020, the company finally ended this transition period and migrated all users to YouTube Music.

With this change, he improved several of his characteristics; The Discover Mix function is quite useful for finding new music, and the fact that it is integrated with YouTube means that there are many more songs than in the other music services.

Among the applications removed by Google there is also the case of Picasa. Originally developed by Lifescape, this application was a free image organizer and editor for Linux, MacOS, and Windows that Google purchased in 2004. Its name was inspired by both the world-renowned painter Pablo Picasso and the Spanish word for “home”.

Despite the fact that it was a revolutionary application of its kind, especially since it allowed multiple users to add digital images to the same folder, the death of Picasa was announced in 2015 when it was superseded by Google Photos.

Finally, other applications that were also forgotten are Wave and Bump !. The first was what users had to work with before Slack. The 2009 communication platform aimed at driving collaboration in the workplace included services such as email, instant messaging and social media, as well as translation, grammar and spelling checkers.

Google dropped the project shortly after Wave’s public release and handed it over to the Apache Software Foundation, which renamed the service Apache Wave. This was finally retired in 2018.

Bump !, on the other hand, was a handy 2009 application dedicated to transferring files between smartphones by physically bringing the two devices together. This app was available on iOS and Android before it was discontinued in 2014, probably due to the NFC feature that came later.

It is natural that companies as large as Google (as well as Microsoft or Apple, which have also eliminated products), want consumers to like the company as a whole, with the complete catalog of its products.

While Google may have different reasons for shutting down each product, one thing their removals have in common is consideration for the bottom line. Google is one of the largest and most valuable companies in the world, and its leaders want it to stay that way. Therefore, what does not hook, simply goes to the trash. So they also focus on the ideas that do work, launching into new services or integrating them into other applications.

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