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Google Shuts Down More Services

Cans Knol, Friend Connect, Gears, and more

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Google Shuts Down More Services
[ Technology]

Google continues to trim down its product line as part of the company’s new “focus”. The Internet giant announced that it is closing down some more of them, and some functionalities of others.

Google Wave. You may have already thought it was dead. The company announced that it would no longer develop for it over a year ago. Starting January 31, however, it will become read-only, and users won’t be able to create new waves any longer. Users will still be able to export individual waves, using PDF export until the service is turned off. Google notes that Apache Wave and Walkaround are still available. These are open source projects that utilize Wave’s technology.

Knol is making a transition. Google’s Urs Hölzle explains, “We launched Knol in 2007 to help improve web content by enabling experts to collaborate on in-depth articles. In order to continue this work, we’ve been working with Solvitor and Crowd Favorite to create Annotum, an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress. Knol will work as usual until April 30, 2012, and you can download your knols to a file and/or migrate them to WordPress.com. From May 1 through October 1, 2012, knols will no longer be viewable, but can be downloaded and exported. After that time, Knol content will no longer be accessible.”

WordPress.com’s Ryan Markel writes:

Starting today, those same authors can move their articles and collaborative journals to WordPress—and they have the power to choose whether to move to a self-hosted WordPress installation powered by the freely-available, open-source Annotum themes, or to have their Annotum-powered site hosted for free here on WordPress.com. Knol will slowly shut down over the next year, and we’ve worked closely with Google, Solvitor LLC, and Crowd Favorite to make this transition as simple as possible.

We here at WordPress.com are thrilled to provide an easy, fast way for Knol authors to move to their new homes without the need for configuring their own installation. And WordPress.com users who would like to start new sites powered by the Annotum platform can activate one of the two new Annotum-enabled themes on new blogs and get started right away. It’s yet another way the WordPress platform and WordPress.com are enabling the democratization of publishing and sharing of information with the world.

Google Bookmarks Lists will end on December 19. Bookmarks within the lists will be retained and labeled.

Google Friend Connect is being retired on March 1. Google wants people to use Google+ instead. Makes sense.

Google Gears-based Calendars and Gmail will no longer be supported at the beginning of December, and then later in December, Gears will no longer be available for download.

The Google Search Timeline is going away. “We’re removing this graph of historical results for a query. Users will be able to restrict any search to particular time periods using the refinement tools on the left-hand side of the search page,” says Hölzle.

Finally, Google has closed its efforts on the “Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal” project. It says other institutions are in a better position than Google to take on the research, but Google has published its results, and continues to invest in renewable energy.

Google Shuts Down More Services
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  • Tim

    “Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal” project. It says other institutions are in a better position than Google to take on the research”

    It’s called “not having a heart”. That’s the story of Google’s life. Google is a joke. If they don’t buy it, they are not successful at it. That’s why I don’t use any of their products. When you get hooked, they retire it. So much money and they can’t get a successful product out there.

    Don’t waste your time with Google +. They’ll retire it soon. The millions of users they got I’m sure 90% of them were spam, marketers’ accounts.

    • http://www.PlacesToEatOkay.com Steven

      Don’t be so sure that it will happen anytime soon Tim. Google is pushing for +1 to be a ranking signal, and so while their other products didn’t have such a big following as Google+ does right now, they’re leveraging their search engine rankings to get everybody on the Google+ bandwagon. It’s this “if you can’t get them to like it, force them to use it” kind of approach that I find disturbing. But I have to agree that if Google still can’t seem to make a decent thing out of Google+ they’ll kill it eventually. I think by next year if they haven’t done some wonderful things with Google+ or keep on looking at Facebook and twitter to take their cues of what to do next, it’s going to fail to climb over those two. It’s the question of will Google be ok with being #2 or #3 and still having market share in social networking or will they simply give up. Seems if you look at Google’s past history of failures they were not complete failures as a product, but Google’s failure to get everybody to use it instead of a competing product that already does what the Google product does. I don’t see a lot of innovation, but Google taking it’s cues from elsewhere most of the time.

      • http://www.wpwebhost.com Ricardus @WordPress Hosting

        I agree with you. They are pushing really hard on the Google + right now

        • http://www.PlacesToEatOkay.com Steven

          Keep in mind it’s the forcing users to feel they must use it that I find most disturbing. That’s where they’re going to face lawsuits, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Facebook was waiting for the right moment to launch theirs if Google+ gains any real notable traction. Right now Google+ is a joke.

  • http://www.businessandsoftwarestrategyforglobalisation.com/ Mae Loraine Jacobs 

    After they killed Buzz, I then had a gut feel some were going down to their graves. I was right. I know a lot of people are currently saying, “What a waste.” But on the business sense, there’s no point in keeping products and services that are not just working.

  • http://www.wsd.co.il Aviran

    Knol was a good tool of place to read articles that has no SEO intentions, therefor it has a great content which is legit, and informative.

  • http://www.kidsbeddingdreams.com Kids bedding

    Thanks for this nice article.
    Will you please let me know,Google+ would effects SERP.Is it drops sites listing in Google search?

    Thanks.

  • http://Doorhardwareproducts.com Steven

    I dont know either Tim, Its about time Google cleaned house. I think they are in too many directions and If you could get that train moving in one direction then it would be unstoppable once again. I Think they were in a explory phase were they were so far ahead of everyone else and the lost direction and decided to throw 10 mil into every little project that sounded promising and called it research. But the compitition is catching up and maybe they are starting the train back up. I have faith in Google to do what makes profit. And its profitable to have focus.

  • http://www.searchengineoptimizationjournal.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Of course some of these products will be missed more than others. Clearly, Google is trying to integrate everything into Google+ so it will serve as a one stop shop. I’m just not convinced that Google+ has staying power yet.