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The Google Cemetery – A list of dead Google products and why they died (gcemetery.co)
680 points by naeemnur on Nov 22, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 344 comments

Remember Google Code Search? That was a great feature of Google search. You could search for swear words in all the code available worldwide. In one (Sun Microsystems?) code there was a comment "The user is a wanker. He cannot remember his password." The old days were much more fun.

I built https://codesearch.debian.net when Google Code Search was taken down.

Debian Code Search doesn’t crawl, but it indexes all software in Debian, which is typically helpful enough :)

I use this at least once a month! Thanks sooooooo much!!!

Thank you very much for sharing, I am glad to have seen your comment here.

Yes, google code search was a great service. One could use regular expressions and limit the search to particular language or license. Moreover it indexed code from any tarball or repository google bot run into, so the sheer size of data one was searching was hard for others to match.

Don't remind me of how awful GitHub search is.

I guess code search is just too niche with no marketability to ever improve

GitHub is most aweful search that I have regularly used. It doesn’t even have basic dedup capability, forget about any thing slightly less basic like limiting search to file names. And it’s not that it is hard to derank potential dedups given that they already know the fork graphs. I have spent good chunk of my productivity manually sweeping through pages upon pages of exact same search results to find the snippets I was looking for and hating creator(s) of this functionality from the bottom of my heart. These people shouldn’t be allowed to build any search again without a mandatory year long rehabilitation training camp (unless they are doing this for enemy states during war times).

How about finding multiple hits per file? Tell me how many matches there are in each file, PLEASE. I should not have to click into the match to know there's more than one match in that file. I shouls also be able to have a view that shows me every match (a la grep/ag). If I need to search, I pull down the repo, index it quickly with ag and do the search. That's really unacceptable, in my eyes, when the basic search is there already.

I find myself using source graph; It seems to work well enough.

yes, source graph looks great. Using docker, every easy to deploy on any OS

Github search also only searches content hosted on github.com which while still large is only a fraction of the code available on the internet.

GitHub search? Try nytimes.com search.

Try the search feature in many CMS systems. Those tend to really suck, with WordPress' being awkward enough that a whole ecosystem of plugins cropped up to replace it.

There's also at least one version of the OpenCart admin search which was designed so poorly that it didn't actually search based on whether the term was anywhere in the page title/content, but whether the title started with the search term (I think they'd screwed up the MySQL syntax). That was interesting.

Either way, search on a system not designed as a search engine is usually okay at best, absolutely terrible at worst.

lol i worked in the same department as the search team. what a nightmare - some of the code in there went back to the 90s

Is it worse than reddit?

This has a similar comment. Gnome Display Manager http://rc.quest.com/viewvc/gdm/vendor/gnome/daemon/slave.c?d...

                /* evil! how this this happen */                                        \
239 if (slave_start_jmp_error_to_print != NULL) \ 240 gdm_error (slave_start_jmp_error_to_print); \ 241 gdm_error ("Bad (very very VERY bad!) things happening in signal"); \ 242 _exit (DISPLAY_REMANAGE); \ 243 }

I'd hate to be the poor soul who encounters this error message and finds no information about it except the source code.

It will only occur if everything is so irrevocably on fire that you need to debug a lot of code anyway, at which point the error message is useless.

Specifically, the branch is only reachable if the PID is not what was expected, or the location that the macro was supposed to longjmp to is not set, which would be fatal defects.

Yes, that may be it. Great find! And sorry to Sun Microsystems, it wasn't you this time.

If you host your code on Google Cloud Source Repository you can use the search feature https://cloud.google.com/source-repositories/docs/searching-...

Google still uses code search widely internally. It's one of their greatest internal-only productivity boosts. The fact it has knowledge of includes and cross-references and function prototypes and templates is amazing...

You can still use it as an outsider to search Chromium:


Regex support is amazing to have in a search engine too... For example, paste in an email address validating regex:


Considering that one can't 'index by regex', I wonder how the backend works - does it actually run the regex against every source code line in the repository in a few hundred milliseconds? Sounds expensive! They must have thousands of machines! Maybe thats why they don't have a public codesearch tool for the whole internet...

Another alternative I am working on in past time is https://codegrep.com - currently indexes top few thousand repos from github.

I wonder if the writer of that comment was American or British - it appears that the term is somewhat less offensive in the US. Once, whilst watching a relatively mainstream US series I was surprised to see a character refer to their colleagues as "wankers", which seemed rather incongruous.

it appears that the term is somewhat less offensive in the US.

A lot of ordinary British things are seen in the U.S. through a filter of... let's call it "quaintness."

Swear words. Thatched roofs. Music on AM radio.

So, yeah. Whatever offensive word you heard probably didn't have the same impact on the other side of the Atlantic. There's probably some reciprocity, too.

My experience is that this doesn’t apply to the see you next Tuesday word, at least here in Canada. It’s seen as very offensive according to the Canadians I know. Speaking as a Brit, that word is thrown around quite casually in the UK!

That's what I meant by reciprocity.

Brits have their own quaintness filter for some of the words that NorthAms see as out of bounds.

For clarity's sake, and as a demonstration against censorship: "cunt"

You can still search Chrome though


Standardization took place and the "business class" caught up.

Care to elaborate?

Wankers tend to be good at password remembering.

I know we bash Google for discontinuing services here a lot.

I definitely bemoaned the demise of Google Reader.

But if this list is complete, it's really not so bad, considering the size and age of Google.

I agree with you. This list actually had the opposite intended effect on me.

Yeah, Reader should have stuck around. But half of these I've either never heard of or only faintly remember. And the ones I do remember seem like reasonable axes.

Google Video, for example, seemed to serve the sole purpose of making me think "dammit, why doesn't the 'Video' tab just take me to YouTube?"

So Google's huge and had to cut off some redundant services over the years. So what. In view of privacy violations, military tech collaborations, and so on, EOL-ing a couple dozen services is hardly a cardinal sin.

> Google Video, for example, seemed to serve the sole purpose of making me think "dammit, why doesn't the 'Video' tab just take me to YouTube?"

Google Video predated the Youtube acquisition. For me it was a marker of how very large companies suck at innovation. Here was Google, having their lunch stolen by a startup, in epic fashion.

Google Video was also better technically in basically every way— the audio/video sync was better (I preferred it for posting short swing dancing clips), encoding was faster, and seeking and mid-video permalinks were better. Plus, I believe GV had a live streaming feature first.

YouTube still won, largely for the social/commenting/vlogging features, which is part of why it was such a big deal when YouTube users became the basis of Google+ (with its real name policy).

YouTube both won and lost, because it was a startup operating in the legal grey zone. It was long before most content was commercial content, commercials, music videos or other professional content most often clips or full videos of content people did not own copyright for. Sure, many people want to share their amateur content on the island with the most inhabitants. Neither Google other rivals or other startups had the gumption and survivor instinct to play this hand. If Google was the host or already owned YouTube when the DRM issues emerged and were being negotiated the copyright owners would have come after Google even harder, faster and more expensively. I say YouTube lost, because they needed to sell. When Google bought YouTube the business model and risks were better known. Months after Google purchased YouTube Viacom famously sued. By that point publishers were seeing benefits along with the costs.

That's interesting. It never occurred to me whether they were technically better. I always preferred YouTube to Google Video, just from the perspective of someone watching videos - because of the UI/UX of the site and player (didn't use any of the social features).

YouTube was VHS, Google Video was BetaMax, but this time Sony acquired JVC

I just remember the UX of Google Video being really bad.

Most of the google video tech got moved over to youtube anyway.

Why was it "their lunch" ? Back then, Google was a search company which made forays into mail and maps. Android or Chrome hadn't been released yet (and by 2005 probably barely started).

Video hosting is a substantially different product. I don't see why Google should have owned it more than any other web company at the time, including YouTube itself.

Google already owned Blogger at that time, and I think with some hindsight you can say they always had a half-hearted interest in things "social". YouTube has a large social component of course. That is obvious now, but you could have easily imagined something less social back then.

The Blogger acquisition and integration for me is a puzzle wrapped into an enigma. They paid good money for it, then froze it. They weight blogs hosted there very favourably in Search, but there is no push to get users and it emanates an aura of “this product might actually be a walking zombie”. If they don’t value the product, why don’t they push people away? If they value Blogger, why is it so frozen?

This is common theme of Evan Williams startups. He starts a company to build new blogging platform because last one sucked. Enormous amount of head spinning marketing is done to acquire millions of bloggers. Then the company is sold to suckers for few billion dollars. Most talent leaves and the sucker aquirer freezes the product in zombie state. Ev Williams then starts another blog startup because his last one sucked. Next up: Medium.com.

YT had basically won by failing. When they got purchased they had a few weeks of runway left.

Is there a single, major US tech company that hasn’t collaborated with the military?

The whole military runs on Windows, Exchange, Office. AWS runs major data centers for them. RedHat, IBM, Intel ... who hasn’t done work for the military or intelligence apparatus?


LOL - "The Pentagon today announced a partnership with 162 companies and universities -- including" ...


I stand corrected.

Netflix and kill?


I don't think this list is complete. Inbox is not here, and neither are the multitude of Android apps that Google kept rolling out and discontinuing (e.g. Allo).

https://killedbygoogle.com <- I got pissed after the Inbox announcement and turned it into a Hacktoberfest project. Going to prune it over the weekend to remove some of the cruft (specific phone models with clear lifecycles, etc).

I love this <3. I was going to do the same. People wonder why I don't trust Google's tech and here is the reason (and many others).

Also missing all the APIs that Google dropped over the years, which means products that depended on them stopped working.

The REST search API was one, IIRC. I think they dropped it in favor of a JavaScript API.

Allo isnt dead or otherwise discontinued, though I wouldn't be surprised to see it go in the next year or two.

Although, by that logic G+ shouldn't be on the list either. To be clear, I agree that project that are still sunsetting but not dead should probably not be there until they are fully down, just pointing out the inconsistency.

It’s defineatly not comprehensive. When PNaCL was first announced I thought the idea was interesting but Google didn’t really do anything with it and now web assembly is the thing.


But Inbox got integrated into Gmail.

Gmail doesn't have feature parity with Inbox. We're losing bundles among other things :(

I really miss reminders mired with emails. Ugh.

So who cares?

Inbox was good because it was not Gmail, not because Gmail lacked features from it.

In what way?

The interface on Inbox is _much_ less cluttered. I spent an hour turning off things in gmail trying to clean it up after the announcement, and it still looks too busy.

Other specific features are missing that help with email fatigue. As far as I know, there's no way for me to tell gmail to group a set of emails together and only alert / show them to me once per day at a certain time, like you can with Inbox. I can't create custom bundles to hide large groups of emails I don't want to accidentally bury other content (without actually removing them from the inbox). Gmail kind of has the "tabbed inbox", but you can't configure the categories with the flexibility that bundles had. In Inbox, I feel like I can control how much email interrupts me without also missing anything important. I don't get this same feeling with gmail.

The Inbox product as a whole had a strong focus on trying to reduce the interruption of your email and keep your inbox clean. While gmail has taken in some of the features, it hasn't absorbed the core goal of the project.

I think it’s the UI mostly. It’s nice having all your messages categorized in bundles, grouped chronologically, then sorted by priority. With Inbox I find that I skim through way less crap to find emails that need attention.

At Wikipedia I think there’s a few more not currently listed.


...and I suspect there’s many that aren’t listed at Wikipedia.

Probably, but this leads down the rabbit hole on "what counts as discontinued". There's probably plenty that got killed internally before seeing a public user. Some on the Wikipedia list were more like features within a product (e.g. Latitude), some of them just morphed into products directly (e.g. real-time search, I think), and some of them were not really in a 'launched' state (e.g. Image Swirl).

I agree with you, and in my opinion Reader was the most used and most useful product on that list. Most other discontinued products were indeed underutilized (for various reasons) or outpaced by their competitors. But TBH, there are some products I wouldn't mind seeing on that list (Allo being one of them).

If you liked Google Reader, please give Inoreader a try. It's a nearly perfect clone but with useful features like filtering and following Twitter feeds.

I ended up going to TheOldReader, I'll have to check that out.

>But TBH, there are some products I wouldn't mind seeing on that list (Allo being one of them).

Really? Allo is(was) a great little chat app. Why would anyone hate it apart from the fact it is yet another chat application.

> Why would anyone hate it apart from the fact it is yet another chat application.

It's not that I hate Allo, I just prefer Hangouts. That might seem orthogonal, but a part of me worries that at some point in the future Hangouts will be deprecated in favor of Allo.

Allo is in maintenance mode. The entire Allo team has been moved over to Android Messages. Hangouts is also in maintenance mode. The 'Hangouts' branding has been repositioned to their slack-type productivity tool. Like Allo, what you know as Hangouts is dead.

Microsoft has also discontinued a lot of programs over its life, but there's one major difference---I can still use those Microsoft programs! Microsoft long ago stopped supporting MS-DOS 2.1 but I can still use it. Heck, I even have a verion of PC-DOS 1.0 around here somewhere.

But the discontinuations at Google? Gone gone gone. I can't even keep a copy around for my own use. That's one reason why I dislike web applications.

Google killed Google Reader because of Google+, if I remember correctly. To push people towards the new platform, where stories should be shared.

Well... that worked.

The irony for me is that if a company wanted to construct a strong profile of me to sell me ads, I'd have to imagine that Feedly (I switched to Feedly when Google Reader was retired) would now be one of the best placed to do that. I spend far more of my personal time there than in any other app.

Now killing G+, they can resurrect GReader :D

Google Reader is sadly missed but a few worthy alternatives cropped up. What this clubbing of Reader taught many people is that out with a few select services (GMail and Search), everything else will be clobbered eventually so don't rely on Google tools in the long term.

Indeed. I often think there's a lot of confirmation bias in the 'google kills products' complaints... Certainly many many small to medium sized, user-facing start ups have died in the same time, but we don't hear the same sort of FUD about using start up tech.

But you know Google is not a startup.

It is missing the disappearance of "don't be evil."

This is a popular meme for some reason, but "And remember... don't be evil, and if you see something that you think isn't right - speak up!" is literally the last line in the code of conduct.

Didnt Damore do just that? (I mean for his definition of "isn't right", yet isnt that the point?)

I mean, that's the point of why the code of conduct was expanded from just "don't be evil". Everyone's definition of evil is different.

It was a feature not a product.

Also, consider that several of these services still exist in one form or another.

The list is also a little unfair. Latitude didn't die, it's just a renamed and built into Google Maps. Picasa is also questionable. Google Photos does more and I end up using it more than I used Picasa. Google Talk. I guess I don't know what was lost. A chat box still appears in Gmail. Google Video seems replaced by youtube and google drive. Google Gears was subsumed into web standards.

In other words the list is padded IMO. Services that actually shut down like Wave for Google+ or Reader are in a different category than services who just became part of some other product.

Normally companies retire products because they are lightly used or have fallen far behind competition. Google kills stuff on whims. Google Reader, url shortner, code search, Picasa - all these are terrible examples of things that got shutdown.

All these has real consequences. Other day I was looking to buy a movie and it was available on Amazon as well as YouTube, I went to Amazon because YouTube feels much more likely to shutdown it’s movie business on a whim while Amazon will likely fight out to last moment. Same goes for buying music.

Not only that, but even then, half of these are super obscure projects even people in Hackernews, which are generally more tech knowledgeable, have never heard of.

Who here knows what Dodgeball, Jaiku, Sidewiki or Fast Flip were?

Hell, to be honest, even within the valley, I often meet people that don't even know what more "popular" products like Wave or iGoogle were.

Unfortunately, the list is not complete. But it's useful to demonstrate to the boss that Google isn't ready for enterprise yet.

IMHO, Google really should have evolved Reader into Google Plus. They were already part of the way there with Reader's Buzz features.

Google died when they killed reader.

I think back then they had a very good chance to outgrow facebook and lead the "open web" forward. Instead they went all in with G+ and its early variants.

Now they have to work with facebook to index its content.

Google died? A strange thing to say about a company with a market capitalisation of 722 billion USD.

Instead of “died”, I’m guessing the poster meant “irrelevant”.

Is that any more true (other than subjectively)?

Because 'market capitalisation' is the only life possible and without it everything is irrelevant ?

Eh a dying whale is still dying. Google missed the cloud and is next in line for the privacy burner (see Facebook) they arent even in the top 3 by market value anymore.

Facebook is dead too? Outside of top 3 by market value = "dead"?

IBM earned $13 billion in operating income over the prior four quarters, making them one of the most profitable companies on earth. They're not even remotely close to being at risk of actually dying.

They're comparable in profit to Oracle, Alibaba and Tencent.

GM and Micron have ridiculously low PE ratios. That also says nothing about whether their businesses are at risk of dying.

Is there a reason you linked ibm here? Please elaborate for the not so smart.

a "dead" company can last a very, very long time.

By measure of "cool kid technological fore-runner" IBM has been dead since the early 80s.

Or perhaps more hilariously:


reminder that google wanted to sell to excite.com for $750,000, excite.com said no.


Sure, but please note that it is not "smart" related.

All i wanted to say is that dying is not related to market value.

Die as in bankrupt or not profitable is a big stretch for its use as a metaphor. Im not sure how to put this without sounding patronizing and/or stupid and/or explaining to retards but:

There are more things in life besides money or economical viability.

One could argue that afk it is way more easy to use it metaphorically to stereotype those that have money than those who do not.

re: Google Wave

"why dead? - Google Wave was discontinued because there just weren’t enough active users. The IP was later transferred to Apache when the development was discontinued."

Kinda. But more accurately, there weren't enough active users because Google __completely__ botched the beta. In restricting the invites then prevented already establish groups for trying it. For example, if you have a group of 4 or 5 and not as many invites, it was no go.

Keep in mind, Wave was pre-Slack. The market was there. It was primed. It was waiting for something smart and collaborative. Yet Google did the one thing you don't want to do with a team-centric tool...intentionally leave out at least one team member.

Wave, for all it's novelty, interesting parts and hints of genius ... was simply a terrible product.

It's I think the prototypical example of over-thinking, over-engineering.

Most successful things are essentially simple.

Slack is embarrassingly simple.

... it's simple, and getting quality, end-to-ed experience, and getting 'the small things' right, and maybe being great at some things while forgoing others, i.e. 'having an opinion' or 'focusing on a segment'.

I remember not being able to explain wave to anyone ...

Well, we obviously can't debate the difference in success of these two products. That's in stone.

But in terms of usefulness and delivering something that is truly useful and enabling of collaboration? Then in the Wave v Slack battle, Wave wins. Being able to describe Slack, doesn't mean it's useful. (Note: I'm not saying that simple doesn't help with traction. It does. I'm putting the actual products toe to toe.)

Don't get me wrong. Slack is great (if your alternative is email) but it's not the end in that space; at least I hope not. If you were to sit down and ask, "What if...What would a next Slack look like?" you'd likely end up with something close to Wave.

Today? What is Wave? It's all the things you wish Slack was ;)

I think that the success of Slack fairy strongly validates it as being 'more useful' than Wave.

Google has the brand power to get as many people as they want using something, and it's free - and people chose not to use it.

Conversely, slack was a tiny startup with no marketing budget, to start, and people are actually paying $ for Slack - so that means a lot.

More people use =/= more useful.

More and more we read about people / teams de-Slacking. why? Because it's just not delivering the value they need. It's effective __ but only to a point__, and then it becomes the bottleneck. Yes, it's a great screwdriver, provided you don't need a hammer.

I'm not disputing Slack is a more mass market product - just like USA Today is not The Economist. Wave was a new, different, and I'm maintaining arguably better way to look at team comms / collaboration / building a knowledge graph.

Let's not confuse Google's cluster-fucking the execution of the rollout + marketing with the value of the idea itself.

Google had the power, yes. But they botches the beta. The sad thing, they did the same for G+. That is, they didn't learn from Wave.

One could argue that Wave would have eventually ended up as 'simple' as Slack, if they had persevered.

That said, Wave beta was a mess of "uh? aha... mmm?"

I honestly think that live typing was a large part of Wave’s failure. It seemed like a great idea on the surface, but in practice what you initially type is rarely what you want your response to be. It was a really painful feature that few people seemed to like, but Google doubled down on it, eventually removing “Draft” checkbox that allowed you to disable it.

The feature was later picked up by Google Docs, where it is quite useful.

Most of Wave could probably be replaced by a shared Google Doc instead. But then if you remove all that stuff, I'm not sure if what's left is really worth introducing a whole new paradigm for. I think the lesson really is, if you need that kind of workflow, just use a live doc.

I was extremely fond of Wave when it came out, but remember few people I knew shared that view. Now I am trying to think back to Wave and how it differed from Slack... wasn’t it pretty similar?

I'm kinda shocked by the comments referring to Slack. Wave was very different from any other chat platform. You could edit everything, add different media elements to the document/channel and keep commenting everywhere on everything. Slack to me is really just another chat software. I see very little difference between it, campfire or Hipchat and honestly for the life of me don't understand why everyone transitioned from Campfire to Hipchat and now to Slack.

Wave was closer to natural (offline) human conversation / collaboration. Slack, god bless it, is closer to a traditional forum with a different UI.

Wave was a leap forward. Slack maybe a baby step.

Yeah I remember it being more like OneNote than a chat app. At least that's now I remember trying to use it. Maybe it was something halfway in between. As much as I tried to use it, it never really caught on. Can't really remember now.

Yeah, although I use and enjoy Slack at work, I see it as a watered down version of IRC.

Why does slack feel watered down?

Well hipchat to slack is probably explained by the buyout :-)

I'm fuzzy as well but afaik Wave had threaded / hierarchical comments. The way they did allowed for new threads to be spun off. It better reflected how conversations happen and knowledge is collected, related to other knowledge, etc.

It also had a replay feature. So if you had someone jump in the middle of a discussion, they could rewind, replay and see how it happened. As subtle as that might seem just queues and context help understand - the knowledge and the people / group.

Those were what I remember thinking "this is The One" only to see them walk away too soon.

From what I remember the problem I ran into with Wave was basically a 'tyranny of structureless-ness' kind of thing. Theoretically, I much preferred the flexibility, but in practice I have to admit that the much more restrictive approach that Slack takes (single-level main channel chat + replies to main chat messages in sidebar) seems to work better.

No doubt it had its flaws. But those could have been worked out. Unfortunately, it was as if Google wanted to say this is how YOU are going to work, and wasn't interested in the possibility that they could be mistaken.

File under: great idea! Poor execution.

The latter was so bad I'm still surprised no one else picked up the idea and ran with it. It wasn't the idea that failed. It was the brand / company / org that conceived it.

It was like slack, but way better! I'm still sad it died, and still secretly hoping someone is working on "Wave Phoenix". My favourite feature of it was to replace/augment the comment fields on my blog posts with "waves". When anyone posted a comment on my blog, it would appear my Wave client inbox like it was a regular-ol' email thread - and I could reply in-place (and real-time).

It was a pretty exciting concept to me that ALL of my interactions for various disqus-like random posts, emails, blog comments, forum replies etc - could be handled from the Wave client.

But they realllly bodged the roll out. First it was the "developer-version" where everyone could pile-on - and it was madness. You could actually "reply all" to EVERYONE. Like sending a @everyone slack message to every slack channel! Chaos!

Then they went to the"invite-only" phase - and suddenly the whole thing became a ghost-town, and there was no incentive to open your wave client.

I wish they had have nailed it, because I'm positive there was a good idea underneath it.

In term of functionalities, Wave was wait above Slack from my point of view, it was the good tool to do collaborative work with real time multi-users document edition for example (today available in google docs), easy inline images in messages. I'm only using slack for messaging (as an email alternative).

I don't think Slack was around yet. If it was it was small and to me at this point at that time unmemorable.

Also Dodgeball was the predecessor to Foursquare. There's a lot of wasted opportunities here.

That lack of invites completely doomed G+, too. Social networks are valuable because of network effects, and you can't get network effects when you dramatically limit the possible number of users possible.

Invites are absolutely, 110% the first and foremost reason that Wave failed.

You absolutely cannot have a group-based system that does not immediately allow a full group to join.

Can you imagine if Slack relied on invites?

I was so bitter over not getting an invite for Ingress for months and months that once they opened it I had no interest.

For me it was the fact that you had to check the app for new messages. There was no option to send an email when you got a new message. I realize that sounds silly, but that's how you bootstrap a messaging platform. Facebook still sends me emails for notifications and that's how I like it.

Same problem as Google+ at the beginning

Thx. I tbought so but I was thinking it was my anti-Google bias getting the better of me ;)

With G+ it was "didn't they learn anything from Wave?"

You could just as easily be writing:

"Google __completely__ botched the beta. In having an open invite, they were unprepared for load. Since it was a brand new system, with a ton of interested users, the system completely bogged down. This was completely predictable with a new protocol, a new app, and Google's prestige. Why they didn't restrict the beta is beyond me."

I loved the idea of Google Wave, but the implementation was bad. It was just too slow and clunky and complicated.

I liked google wave and I think it was a good example of a product that was ahead of its time.

I remember Wave. It was terribly slow (both server-side and client-side), complex, and complicated to use.

Live typing was a horrible idea too; it looked like it was there just to show they could do it (it was somewhat impressive at the time that you could do that on a website).

Neat! Maybe you could add a line or two to describe what each product was? For example I'd never heard about Sidewiki, Google Jaiku or Google Catalogs. It seems fitting that a tombstone would mention not just the date of death but also a bit about who they were and what they did.

https://killedbygoogle.com <- Mini-obits galore.

This list annoys me. Reading it, some of those still exist, many we're just folded into other services, and a couple appear to have been 20% projects that were never Google's to kill.

And if the postings are still online perhaps link to the official "obituaries".


It's worth noting that even as someone who frequents tech and hackernews frequently, I still didn't know what half the stuff on there was. Things like Dodgeball, Jaiku, Gears, Fast Flip, Urchin or Aardvark. Never even heard these names before.

You might enjoy this other site that has the original google graveyard:


Even after 5+ years, I still miss Google Reader almost everyday. Just pure simplicity and tight community around sharing is yet to be matched IMO. Web has moved on and as someone commented here, it’s walled garden everywhere now.

Thank you Google of yore for creating and running a great service for as long as you did!

I think you're misunderstanding why Google has been criticized wrt Reader. The problem was that Google first ruined the RSS ecosystem, then pulled out of it and tried to lead users elsewhere, leaving torched earth behind.

How did Google "ruin" the RSS ecosystem? Something like 95% of the sites I have interest in following have perfectly fine RSS feeds.

Ehh, the old reader has scratched that itch for me ever since. And I like that it's a company dedicated to it rather than an irrelevant side product of a much larger company that doesn't really care about it, since it's a large part of my weekly life.

Not to my taste. I guess you must use some App to read the feed? I just launched home page on the phone and it’s far from ideal. Take a look at this screenshot. https://ibb.co/hwFJXA

Would love to know what’s your setup on the go.

If you're on iOS then Reeder[1] is a pretty good choice, because it supports a lot of different sync services[2].

The app isn't updated all that often, but then again, it doesn't really need it.

[1]: http://www.reederapp.com [2]: https://ibb.co/h008HA

Feedbin is pretty good on mobile Safari (although I normally read it via Reeder 3) - https://ibb.co/eCZR2A

Modulo sharing BazQux Reader (https://bazqux.com) has the same Google Reader simplicity plus some additional features. Try it.

I miss Google reader as well but it’s demise gave me opportunity to check out Apple News. I am actually surprised how much better it is. They aggregate from opposing news sources very nicely (for example, Fox vs MSNBC) so you get to see two sides of each story. Apple News app can really open your eyes to things you don’t explore while Google Reader seem to kept recommending similar things over and over.

Blogtrottr + Gmail filters = reader

What about Google Sets? It was on their Labs page until about 2010. Sets let you type in some words, and then it would return additional words that fit with the previous words. Now there is a Google Sheets feature that does it, but I liked the idea of a stand alone page.

It no longer exists in sheets either. Definitely miss this.

> In October 2018, Google announced that it was shutting down Google+ for consumers, citing low user engagement and a software error.

I wouldn't characterize it as a "software error". It was a security vulnerability.[0]

[0] https://www.blog.google/technology/safety-security/project-s...

I also don't know if it should be on the list since it hasn't shut down yet. There's a 10 month sunset period. By that same logic it should include Inbox, which it doesn't, because that's also in a sunset period.

EDIT: Also, only the consumer side is shutting down. G+ for G-Suite will still exist.

Thanks, didn’t even know G+ was shutting down.

Guess I better tell my mom, she’s just started using it, the low user count is actually a good feature for her, doesn’t like the “noisiness” of other platforms

Google Spaces lived for so short, it is not included in the list and so far nobody has mentioned it in the comments. It was a product that me and my friends have long thought of. I think if it were implemented in a way that focused on chat but not on shared links, it could have been a success. I still believe that niche future will find its way into a popular chat application.

https://killedbygoogle.com <- It's on the list. :) Only lived nine months. :(

Oo..cool! I crowdsourced a lot of lesser known products over at https://killedbygoogle.com. I'll be pruning the list this weekend to combine/remove some of the phone/device additions that were added by others during Hacktoberfest.

Looking at this list, it makes you realize that basing your business on a lesser Google product is a major business risk. Consider Spatial OS.[1] This is a new back end for persistent massively multiplayer games. It's a product from a Google "partner", funded by $500M of VC money. It's only available if you use Google's "cloud". Technically, it's impressive. It's being used for a few minor game titles right now.

So if you're a major game developer, should you use this for a long-running game? The Google connection adds business risk. It probably won't be a major moneymaker for Google, and there's a good chance they'll drop the offering in two or three years. Then what? It comes with Google-type terms and conditions, the usual "Google can do anything they want". Drop the product, raise the price, cut off your service because you're doing something that competes with some Google interest, that kind of thing.

[1] https://improbable.io/games

Spatial OS is not Google offering by any means. Google is simply huge investor in that company and those folks are using GCP as part of investment aggrement. It’s a dumb move by them but it pays their bills for now.

But you are correct. Taking dependency on Google services like maps, offers, product search and other APIs have previously bankrupted few folks. Also, as a user I avoid buying stuff like movies, music, storage space, photo storage etc because it could just disappear tomorrow.

How about Google Glass? In all fairness though, quite a few are only dead as standalone products but have merged into other offerings. Take Google Gears for example - offline storage, worker threads and other APIs for browsers, all of which is now part of regular Chrome.

Glass is still around and under active development, it just isn't a consumer product. It is in use by several enterprises, mostly factories and warehouses.

My read on it is that it was never intended to be a consumer project as soon as they launched it (which explains the lack of polish), but the high level of interest when it was announced convinced them to launch it as one just in case they had stumbled on the next big thing. When that failed to materialize, they dropped it back to a research and enterprise project as was initially intended.

Aw I'm sad to not see my first Google product on the list: the old SOAP search API. 2002-2006 RIP. I wrote a bit about it when they shut it down: http://www.somebits.com/weblog/tech/googleSearchAPI.html

Though not a product per-se, Google Instant Search was a significant enough feature that I think it merits inclusion in the list.

Previous HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14857120

I hope the Data Liberation Front, while not exactly a "product", lives a long and prosper life for as long as Google hoards our data:


They were quite helpful in getting about a decade worth of gmail data out of there when I decided I didn't want to use gmail anymore.

It's required for GDPR so will stay around for a while.

(That's my personal guess at least, not related to that team)

Really amazing how many products were merged into Google+ and superceded. And then also how many products were sunsetted in favor of putting more development time into Google+.

And then Google+ was sunsetted and machine learning and other built in features are doing a better job of prospering than any other Google properties.

Google was always a nerd company. Creating social platforms was always an SMH move.

Neat idea. What's the criteria? Just it seems to be missing Google Code. Had a look on Wikipedia and seems to be a lot missing from that too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_products#Discon...

I feel like there should be an honorable mention for Google Groups/Dejanews. I mean, I guess usenet search is still there, but it's a shadow of its former usefulness.

People keep mentioning Google Groups. I've been using it at everywhere workplace I can think of, since many years. Most internal mailing lists get set up via it. Did it use to do more?

Google Groups is horrendous. The mailing list interface works, which is fine.

However the web interface and search results are a true PITA. Waiting for the page to load just to jump to a random point in the page takes in the order of 5+ seconds on my system.

I remember the first iteration of groups was almost pure html and insanely fast. Like with most google products, it has been bloated to death.

Prior to usenet morphing into a primarily binary distribution channel, it was the primary internet discussion forum. There used to be a usenet search company called "DejaNews". It was awesome. Google bought them and repackaged it as Google Groups.

They later added their own group stuff to it, and google group search became this weird mismash between the two. Searching usenet was easier and faster 10 years ago.

What about leaving flowers, like the one on the slate.com from 2013 [0][1] used to facilitate?

[0] https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/03/google-graveyard-does-exi... [1] http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/map_of_the_week/201...

I am still flamoxed by the decision to discontinue GTalk... The build Hangout and later Allo/Duo

Talk was lightweight, history backups and usable in every platform.

Any startups would love to have Talk

Yeah, talk was kind of on its way to being the next AIM. Then, BLAM, metaphorical bullet between the eyes...

It's missing some services like Google Offers a Groupon competitor: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Offers

and Google Reader ... from the top of my head, and some enterprise products if I am not mistaken

GSA is missing: Google Search Appliance. It was a server you could host on the company's premises that would index content on your network. It got discontinued, not sure why.

Maybe the list only includes B2C products.

I have zero knowledge of GSA specifically, but corporate intranet search is generally hard, other vendors were already in the space, and the heuristics and ML that make Google search work as well as it does don't work as well with less training data and pages without links and anchor text.

Mentioned a couple of times but it's still raw that Inbox has been canned too. Also the Googlers I know use it and Gmail is some ways back although it has been improved. It's been the best thing to happen to email forever, IMO, and I'll really miss it!

God yes, I will miss Inbox hard. I have started trying out Spark, and it's sort of ok but there's really nothing out there with such a tight focus as Inbox. Gmail on the web is just awful, and perhaps that was one of Inbox's greatest strengths - it was fast and bloat-free where Gmail is decidedly not.

For companies that continue to innovate, product failures and deprecations are only to be expected. It's not unlike startups that fail for all sorts of reasons?

I'd be more worried if Google tried to do everything. We're human and finite, after all.

I miss surprisingly few of those, notebook and picasa basically. Could have missed Reader but it was replaced by the theoldreader almost overnight thanks to advices here (I wasn't a community user but a solo one so I did not miss the features that may not have been replicated).

I think the bigger issue is the features google removed or modified from some of its products; like my biggest miss is true verbatim search.

Of all the things Google has killed, I really miss Notebook. It was nimble and lightweight, while Docs is bloated and drags my old machine down (not to mention my crappy internet connection).

Around 2001, Google had a nifty toll free phone service, kind of like 411, but better. You it was an early voice recognition system that would even connect your call to the business you were trying to find. I think it was called Jupiter, but a cursory search doesn't turn up anything. I miss that too.

Goog-411 was awesome in the days before smartphones.


Google Keep is basically Notebook with a mobile-focused design. It's so odd to me that they killed that product and then made an entirely new one a few years later with the same feature set.

It would have been nice if they sold Picasa instead of just killing it. I would have probably paid $20 for a Picasa license.

Let's not forget http://google.com/bsd and http://google.com/linux

Search engines for BSD and Linux topics in the earliest days of Google. These were very popular with the Slashdot crowd, which was probably responsible for the initial succsss of Google.

That brings back some memories

Crazy idea: instead of shutting them down, they should have sold them off to companies who could run and grow them. Maybe not for $Bs but for $Ms.

The problem, as I understand it from talking to Google employees, is twofold:

1) Many of these products rely on internal infrastructure and/or hosting that isn't readily available outside of Google. (They're basically built on a sort of internal Google "cloud" that has access to code not available outside Google.)

2) It would cost more money than the product reasonably makes to both move the product off the Google infrastructure/codebase AND find a team willing to continue to develop it.

Remember, most of these products didn't really make any money; they were internal projects that released externally and had fan clubs.

Interesting, thanks for explaining.

Not sure, but there seems to be a bit of a contradiction between your point 2) and the last sentence of your comment.

Why, to grow a competition? Also imagine how a manager calling for sale of a unprofitable product would like if someone else made that project profitable.

Well, if they're not making enough profits off it (for Google scale), they could sell it off to some much smaller company. (They could avoid selling it to a rival of their size, like FB etc.). A much smaller company like that would hardly be likely to become a significant competitor to Google, except it they did many such acquisitions. Your point about manager not liking it is somewhat valid though, but even there, the manager who organized the sale could get the credit for bringing in some $Ms to the company :)

But as I said, just a crazy idea ...

Google bought Bitium slightly more than a year ago. Exactly a year after the acquisition they notified they were discontinuing service for us - it sounds like it was a straight acquihire and shutdown for their identity platform.

Migrating our whole corp password management to a new platform right during the busy time of year has been a nightmare.

A somethingawful YOSPOS person had a similar idea years ago and made https://didgoogleshutdown.com/

(unfortunately it hasn't updated in a while and said SA poster may not have had the best insight into google product lifetimes)

Google Wave is the one that stands out on that list for me. It was such a fantastic and ambitious idea, but the execution was so buggy that it was basically unusable.

That, and they were stingy with invites. That is, unless your whole team had invites it was completely useless as team tool.

Wave was everything Slack __still__ isn't.

the invites really worked for Gmail; generated lots of buzz. Invites have not worked so well since.

You could send and receive email with a gmail user without being a gmail user - in fact it made people jealous to do so and was great advertising.

You couldn't participate in a wave unless you were on wave. (The spec was open, but obviously in the early days there were no other implementers. Also the non-open UI made a big difference).

I really thought they were going to fold wave into gmail, so that everyone on gmail would automatically be able to participate in waves and access them through the same interface as they did their emails. That would have been amazing. It was also just outgrowing its initial crashiness when they killed it.

Yeah. But Gmail isn't a team tool.

nor a walled garden social medium.

GMail is one of the two tools of Google with real use, other being the web search. All other tools are impermanent.

As I understand it, also the multi-user features in Google Docs, Sheets were salvaged from Wave? If this is the case, there's a pretty big part of the codebase actually living on...

Google docs had multi-user features before Wave. Back when it was called writely.com even. Some features scattered out onto other Google products though (like hangouts).

> the multi-user features in Google Docs, Sheets were salvaged from Wave?

I thought they were taken from Etherpad (which Google bought and killed)?

Yeah, Wave for what it's worth, seemed like the future at that time. But it never really even took off.

There area still many more Google products which are effectively buried alive down the level and levels of menus.

I find it puzzling and ironic how difficult it is to find a Google product. They should have a Google product search somewhere in the apps menu in the browser.

Also, next to zero marketing.

GWT is, if not dead, at least in a deliberately induced coma. And unlike some of the other items it wasn’t a consumer product, it was a heavily evangelized framework that companies and developers invested in and then were left high and dry.

GWT users are doing ok. Yeah development is slow compared to when they had a bazillion engineers working on it during the Wave era... on the other hand, that's when a lot of the overengineered crap got added. In the mean time, standard browser changes like source maps have really helped over the old days of browser plugins.

GWT is a web presentation technology that has (so far) had a 12-year run. That's like a million dog years. Backbone is 8 years old, Ember is 6 years old, Angular1 was a flash in the pan... jQuery is the same age as GWT, but it's waning as well.

I really don't think GWT devs have much to complain about. React developers should be so lucky in another ten years. Frontend technologies just don't have much shelf life.

> on the other hand, that's when a lot of the overengineered crap got added.

People wrote stuff on top of each one of those “overengineered crap” pivots.

It’s nice that a transpiler still sort-of exists but that’s of little use to people that built out products on the platform. And of course the back-compat story has always been terrible because google.

Also it’s was a java framework pitched at java developers. Swing is still supported and applets were fully supported (not hived off to some moribund open source foundation) for more than twenty years.

That overengineered crap still works? I mean, it was never a necessary part of gwt. There are a bunch of crappy react patterns you could use and we don't blame the core libray. Personally I think redux is overdue for a reckoning.

I was doing gwt development in the wave era. I saw all the crazy new mvvpvmvwhatever stuff and just avoided it. App worked great.

I don't use gwt today but I keep an eye on it every now and then. The transpiler is waaaaaay better now than it was in the wave era. The only thing missing is a modern widget framework.

I don't expect gwt to make a major comeback, but it wouldn't surprise me too much of it did. It (still) does a few things far better than the current crop of JS frameworks.

GWT is still alive though I think mostly forked by now, and used mostly in Enterprise systems, not fancy-shmancy world of startups and SFBA.

Can't help but think how many services were stopped in order to build those features in G+ which eventually failed as well. At least we got Google Photos out of it which seems to be a great app. Hope it lives long enough.

Tango should definitely be on this list.


Tango was technically discontinue but in fact it was replaced by ARCore, so "discontinued" seems inaccurate for me...

To me embracing and extinguishing the wonderful Dejanews, then when everyone is accustomed to use Google to search for Usenet posts, removing the discussion search filter from Google search engine counts just like a milestone in the planned destruction of Usenet. That move to me looks a lot worse than axing G+ and other services I don't miss at all, because Usenet has been here long before Google and is not one of their products.

Nice. These tombstones need a "more" button where links, discussion, lessons learned and a proper obituary can be found. Worth noting that the brand (and ethical vision) have also died and been reborn.

Last thing: it would also be interesting to see if the death rate is increasing or declining over time: a higher death rate indicates a healthy org still experimenting.

At least a sentence or two explaining what the service even was. I vaguely remember most of these, but there are many that don't ring any bells at all.

I love the death rate over time chart. Might add that to https://killedbygoogle.com

Google Wave died because it was a nice hipster idea that never came close to meeting the basic requirements for a corporate office, which was its primary audience. While Google completely failed to realize why this was an obvious and immediate failure Atlassian didn't miss a beat and took all of that marketshare.

Missing from the list are the many, many competing products & services Google bought and then promptly shut down.

https://killedbygoogle.com <- Meebo, Sparrow, Grand Central, Writely, and many more. :(

Oh Sparrow. The only email client I ever really loved.

The Google Products Wikipedia page is also a great resource for this as well as a history of the missions, founders, acquisitions etc.


I wonder why sustainance engineering is so hard. We have managed to bring down devops almost exponentially in terms of headcount per server. We have also managed to bring down the cost of storage, hosting etc. The only thing I would have to worry about is patching code for constant stream of security vulnerabilities and upgrading to new framework/platforms after LTS expires. Is this the only driving factor for these shutdowns (generally speaking for all companies)? This could be a good business opportunity for a startup that comes around and can say “ok, we will take care of your app, keep upgrading and patching as needed for a small fee.”. More importantly we need better development methodology that has infinite sustainance as native as everything test cases.

You should not be worry registering googlecementery.com. You not defaming company you merely stating facts. You would be protected under 1A. and you most likely be indexed by google and bing. So if someone is searching for “google dead projects” it would be easier to find. Just my 2c.

Can you elaborate

Oh man, I forgot about Google 411. I loved that and used it all the time before I had a smartphone.

Some of these I don't remember, and a couple I actually thought I was still using. :)

The Dodgeball saga seems like a good case study: https://techcrunch.com/2010/08/05/eric-schmidt-google-dodgeb...

It's as if Google is simply too big to realize what a good idea is and support it.

Ads made Google one of the most profitable companies in the world basically overnight. No one's passion project will ever look good against that measuring stick.

What about Google Goggles?

Which one? The photo app that read QR codes and such, or the Gmail Labs feature which asked you math questions before letting you send mail?

I only know the old android app

Doesn't Lens (part of Assistant on your phone) cover all use cases now?

It was integrated into something, I forget what

There is Google Lens now which to me looks like the same concept.

Google Talk is my all time favourite. The UI is cleaner and it just worked everytime.

Picasso is also a good photo viewer when I was using Windows. It's a shame really.

The upcoming destruction of inbox will be enough to get me off of gmail. I keep on having google PR people tell me that GMail has all those features. I try gmail everymonth and everymonth I'm back on inbox in less than a day. I created https://t.co/gyeQCX7lnU but it seems no one else really cares about the stuff Id o.

I'd be more likely to sign the petition on change.org, for what it's worth.

It's unfortunate they made the free edition of sketchup only a web app from now on. At least you can still get older desktop versions.

SketchUp isn't a Google property anymore. They sold it to Trimble in 2012.

Wow, never knew that after using it for years.

It would be nice if this were orderable by "what year it was released"/"what year it was shuttered", naeemnur. Would also be good to link to the official "shut down" notice, which presumably you had to consult to get the date right, so having a link that people can follow to start their own web trawl would be quite useful.

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