Google Graveyard: What Google has killed off in 2015
Six feet deep
Google is truly a company that has more technology and products than it can handle sometimes, and in 2015 the company with the recent name change shed a host of tools and products to enable it to focus on more pressing needs. Here’s a look back at what Google this year has offed or announced plans to off (To go back even further, check out 2014’s Google Graveyard.)
Google in March said it would be axing its Google Code platform in January 2016, acknowledging increased adoption of alternatives like GitHub and Bitbucket. “As developers migrated away from Google Code, a growing share of the remaining projects were spam or abuse. Lately, the administrative load has consisted almost exclusively of abuse management,” wrote Google open-source director Chris DiBona. Google Code launched in 2006.
At the risk of making itself look controlling, Google has been taking steps for years to protect Google Chrome users of extensions that inject ads and malware. In May it really put the kibosh on such software coming from any Windows channel, specifying that all extensions now need to original in the Chrome Web Store. Extensions for Chrome for OS X got the same treatment in July. “Extending this protection is one more step to ensure that users of Chrome can enjoy all the web has to offer without the need to worry as they browse,” a Google product manager wrote in announcing the changes.
Pwnium hacking contest
Google’s big one-day hacking contest at the CanSecWest event, under which it doled out hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2012, has been shuttered in favor of year-long opportunities for hackers to snag bounties for uncovering flaws in its Chrome technology. Among other things, Google was concerned that hackers were hoarding bugs until the contest came around.
Technicaly, Google didn’t kill the Bookmarks Manager in June, but it did relent to widespread hatred of the free Chrome extension and revert to including the old bookmark tool with its browser. Those few who did cotton to the new UI are still able to access the Bookmarks Manager if they know where to look. Meanwhile, Google’s Sarah Dee blogged: “Our team will continue to explore other ways to improve the bookmarks experience. ”
Google alerted users of its PageSpeed Service for making websites zippier that it would be killing off the tools as of Aug. 3. Google had pitched its 4.5-year-old hosted PageSpeed optimizing proxy as a way to improve website performance without having to know any code.
Google kicked off 2015 by announcing it would ditch the Google TV brand that few probably knew existed and focus its living-room entertainment efforts instead on Android TV and Google Cast. The company said Google TV libraries would no longer be available, but Google TV devices would continue to work.
Google nixed its colorful longtime serif typeface logo, around since 1999, in favor of a new sans serif colorful logo with a typeface dubbed Product Sans. With the emergence of the Alphabet parent company came a new look for its Google business.
Google Talk had a good run, starting up in 2005, but it’s never good when Google pulls out the term “deprecated” as it did in February in reference to this chat service’s Windows App. Google said it was pulling the plug on GTalk in part to focus on Google Hangouts in a world where people have plenty of other ways to chat online. However, Google Talk does live on via third-party apps.
Maps Coordinate for mobile workforces
Google in January emailed users of its mobile enterprise workforce management offering, which debuted in 2012, that the service would be shutting down come January 2016. Google has been folding various mapping-related products into one another in recent years, and is putting focus on its mapping APIs in its Maps for Work project going forward.
This tool, launched in 2008, was used to “create a meaningful conversation from many different people’s questions, ideas, and suggestions.” The White House, among others, used it to organize feedback for online and offline events during the 2012 elections. But Google gave up on the tools in July due to its overall lack of use.
There’s no more helping Google Helpouts, which was discontinued in April. This online collaboration service was short-lived, launching in November 2013. While alive, it allowed users to share their expertise – for free or a fee — through live video and provide real-time help from their computers or mobile devices. It exploited Google Hangouts technology, but was largely redundant with so many help videos found on Google’s very own YouTube.
Eclipse developer tools
Google informed developers over the summer that it was time for them to switch over to Android Studio, now firmed up at Version 1.0, as the company would be “ending development and official support for the Android Developer Tools (ADT) in Eclipse at the end of the year. This specifically includes the Eclipse ADT plugin and Android Ant build system.”
Google in August said it was discontinuing its Flu and Dengue Trends, which were estimates of flu and Dengue fever based on search patterns. Flu Trends launched in 2008 as an early example of “nowcasting” and Google is now leaving the data publishing on diseases to health organizations that it will work with. Historical data remains available from Google.
Google’s social networking technology has never had much life in the first place and isn’t “really most sincerely dead” like the Wicked Witch, but Google keeps messing around with it, such as extracting the Google Photos app from it, as announced at Google I/O this year, while adding a feature called Collections. Google also has stopped requiring people to have Google+ accounts to tap into other services, such as YouTube channel creation.
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