Google is shutting down Google Moderator, a tool it launched for presenters in in 2008, aimed at helping them prioritize questions for Q&A sessions. Since then, it has evolved to become a way to prioritize other ideas as well.
For example, Google itself recently used it to ask webmasters what kinds of features they'd like to see added to Webmaster Tools.
The White House adopted the product pretty early on. In 2009, it began using it for an online town hall experience. The Obama administration continued to use it to connect to the public throughout the years, and it was utilized for presidential debates in 2012.
But Moderator just hasn't caught on much among the general public, and has apparently not seen enough use to justify Google's continued support. Google's announcement says:
Unfortunately, Google Moderator has not had the usage we had hoped, so we’ve made the difficult decision to close down the product. We want to ensure users have enough time to export their Moderator series data using our Takeout tool. Please take a look at the timeline below for more information.
March 30, 2015 is the first day that you can download your Google Moderator data from Takeout. Your data from past Moderator series will be available in Takeout for at least two years.
June 30, 2015 will be the last day you can create a new series, ask a question, or vote on a question. For the month of July, Google Moderator will be “read-only.”
July 31, 2015 is Moderator’s last day. The site will no longer be available in any form, but you will be able to access data from past Moderator series through our Takeout tool for at least two years.
Thank you for asking and voting on questions with Moderator over the past several years.
For the time being, you can use Moderator until your heart's content, but you might want to start exploring some options. Alternativeto.net has a list of alternative products you might want to check out.
Image via Google