“Spring cleaning” is a code word for shuttering old, unused products, services, and experiments by Google. CEO Larry Page has been doing spring cleaning every once and a while since taking over last year, including big ones in September and November. The latest round came today as they started dumping products that most people didn’t even know existed.
Here is a snapshot of the changes:
- API changes, mostly regarding limiting usage.
- The Flu Vaccine Finder is gone. Developed in 2009 during the H1N1 pandemic, the need has since passed by.
- Google Related is a big loss for some. It was useful for those who wanted to find sites related to a particular site, such as finding TECHi when doing a similar search for Engadget or Techcrunch.
- In an expected shuttering, Google Sync for Blackberry marks just another nail in the Blackberry coffin.
- The mobile web app for Google Talk is gone. It wasn’t really being used with people preferring the GTalk app itself.
- One Pass is dead. The payment platform for news publishers was relatively-useless since most weren’t willing to pay for online publications.
- Patent Search was a unique feature that grew completely unnecessary. Most would simply search on Google itself and would likely find exactly what they needed.
- Picasa for Linux will be integrated with standard Picasa.
- Google’s venture into being valid on Apple products is going away. Picasa Web Albums Uploaded for Mac and Picasa Web Albums Pliugin for iPhone will continue to work but will no longer be available for download.
With all of these and other recently shuttered products, is Google finally focusing on their core businesses? They are fighting against Apple in mobile, Bing in search, Facebook in social, and those are just the most obvious fronts. As big as Google is, many believe they have spread themselves out too thin over the years. Their ambitions have grown to be unmanageable. One would be hard pressed to find many Google employees who were aware of all of the projects that have accumulated over the years.
As the battles heat up, redirecting resources like this makes sense. Facebook is going public next month. Apple is fighting hard against Android and their devices. Microsoft is similarly focusing on their core and are winning against the Google Apps threat.
Google is heading down the right path.