It's the exact same story with Music applications too. Android Music and Google Play Music seems abandoned. YT Music is pushed down the throat with a ton of the features of GPM missing. Subscription pricing keeps changing around. Same story with Gmail/Inbox. One by one I have left all Google's products now.
That said, whoever is running Google Maps is a genius. It's one product that gets it right. The fact that overlayed business listing, transit, traffic and now ride share systems ...etc. is just brilliant. We take it for granted. But if Google Maps ended up in the hands of whoever was in charge of their messaging or music strategy we'd have - Google Maps, Google Directions, Google Transit, Google Businesses, Google Restaurants and Google Rides.
It's a bunch of very talented, bored engineers who realize that launching a product, even if it fails, is better for their career and resume than doing grunge work that might be better for google's bottom line
Basically resume driven development and Google hasn't done anything to prevent it. They probably don't care, they'd rather have them wasting money at Google than leaving due to boredom and potentially creating a startup or going to a competitor that might disrupt Google somehow.
Google has destroyed, or at least nullified, a generation of engineering talent with their unambitious, checkbox-resume based advancement scheme. We should all expect more from a supposedly engineering-driven organization.
Interestingly, the lifetime of a company is directly tied to the attention span of its customers. As long people come to the store asking for Coca Cola the company will endure, so this is probably generational. Enterprise software sticks around, so does Oracle. Internet consumer technology promotes attention span that's measured in seconds, Google can come crashing down quite suddenly.
Coca Cola is sticky through brand advertising, business deals, product placement, etc. Pretty much all that money spent by people on bottles of the sugary water was pumped into marketing, not into manufacturing. Over decades this created a very firm image in the people's heads, and the only way to dislodge it is to create a new brand for younger consumers (which Coca Cola will purchase as soon as it shows traction).
ERP software is deeply ingrained into business processes, removing it is akin to removing a person's neural system. The only way to dislodge that is to address up-and-coming companies, having them build their processes around a new paradigm.
You can't just beat any of this via superior quality product, they have "a moat" 
Google doesn't have that loyalty, and it's not that deeply ingrained. They ride on their default placement in Chrome/iOS and on the search result quality (which stems from quality engineering and superior scale yielding large data sets). If someone used NLP to build a more relevant search engine (of course serving more relevant ads), it won't be long before that new search engine starts using their revenue to pay higher $$ amount to hardware manufacturers to make a new engine the default. It's a shaky ground, and it's why Google is re-inventing itself and AI company - if they don't then someone else will. There is some strength in Google's name itself, but I'm not sure it can match to the visceral reaction to an addictive sugary drink.
The problem is there are too many Googlers, so they keep inventing busywork projects that don't need to exist (like reinventing messaging over and over) because otherwise there's nothing for them to do. The ideas:people ratio is completely out of whack.
Why are there too many Googlers? Because Google would rather spend money on hiring than returning excess profit to investors.
Why would they do that? Because their stock voting structure prevents investors from forcing their hand, and because of an essentially delusional culture/belief amongst senior management that they hire the world's smartest people, that they will never run out of ideas, that there's always more to do etc etc. Management can't accept that Google might have tapped out, ideas-wise, and maybe its natural size is smaller than today not bigger. It takes quite some humility to say "we're spinning our wheels, the profit we generate could be better deployed elsewhere" and they can't do it.
Watching this process play out gave me a new appreciation for why shares have voting rights.
There's lots of good examples of this , but from one particuarly recent example :
> I should have done the opposite: figure out what the promotion committee wants, and do that work exclusively.
> I adopted a new strategy. Before starting any task, I asked myself whether it would help my case for promotion. If the answer was no, I didn’t do it.
> My quality bar for code dropped from, “Will we be able to maintain this for the next 5 years?” to, “Can this last until I’m promoted?” I didn’t file or fix any bugs unless they risked my project’s launch. I wriggled out of all responsibilities for maintenance work.
When you look at their products through this lens, it starts to make sense, such as continually launching "new" communication apps that might as well be from different companies.
I wonder if, and how much, this plays into the vast number of contractors Google pays to do that very "grunge work".
But Allo? My thought was "oh, another Google product I never heard of is shutting down."
You would want to back up your google documents offline or on another server constantly, which defeats the whole purpose.
(And on to the point, Facebook has also, of course, WhatsApp, which is massive)
Each one is good in isolation. But for a company whose primary user facing product is searching for things, Google sure haven't bothered to make the that work in drive. The search in GDrive is just plain atrocious.
At work we need to frequently ask someone working on a document or a set of documents to paste the sharing links, because GDrive's search will not surface the document or the drive folders you are looking for. Even with exact words or phrases.
And don't get me started on the latest incarnations of GSuite admin (slow) or Gmail (slower). But at least in those the search feature works.
On Google's philosophy versus Apple's: "I used to have this debate with Steve Jobs, and he would always say, 'You guys are doing too much stuff.' He did a good job of doing one or two things really well. We'd like to have a bigger impact on the world by doing more things."
I was a hangouts guy. That's what has me worried about their cloud services. Are they going to suddenly just add and remove things without any real notice?
Is Duo also being shut down?
I've never heard of anyone using it after its launch, felt it was very buggy when it launched and the name implying it only supports two users limits it severely ... but they seem to be happy with it.
... or they forgot it exists.
I spent all that time convincing my mom it was just as easy as facetime, and all for nothing after the stream kept cutting out the first time we tried it. Now we just facetime, which is the only reason I have an iPad.
Google is a company that follows a model called OKR. Here, in this model, the company is always supposed to be chasing moonshots.
There fore all incentives, pay, raise, promotions, stock grants etc etc are all attached to such moonshots.
There is zero incentive for anyone for to maintain anything.
The system is working perfectly as designed.
Yet waze is still a separate product, instead of a set of features to be enabled in Google Maps.
F-droid Maps user
Can you select a physical area that you are going to visit and download that you to your phone for offline use? Yes.
Perhaps you can explain to me: what does selecting an area from a list afford you that highlighting an area visually does not? I've even used this, on a couple of occasions, to download the roadmaps for entire, albeit tiny, countries.
you must be really fanboy if you need to have explained how it's choosing package of country/region data superior to highlighting some area
you also forgot to answer how it's offline navigation working in these great Google maps
Despite all that, I don't think I know anybody who installed (much less regularly used) Allo.
Edit: They also bought Snapchat filters that were geofenced to the campus.
Any product released by a company that has bills to pay is released to “get market share”.
As opposed to a really new and innovative product (e.g. the iPhone) or at least one that’s a notable improvement over existing similar ones (Gmail).
It’s a spectrum rather than a hard and fast distinction, of course.
Allo from the outside seemed to solve no problem other than "people are using messaging platforms that aren't ours".
Other examples include carrier-branded apps that come preinstalled on phones.
The best time to shutdown Allo was before it launched, the second best time is now.
And you have to be very conservative with what you consider a violation of that threshold.
Do scientific advances in papers also count as product launches, or do you have to put a thing in the world?
The current iteration has a 4-axis evaluation metric , where the value of a given project is measured by the area of the polygon.
So, you can make theoretical advances that don't go into products, but it's better for you if they do.
: Disclaimer: I've been recruited by Google's research arm, but haven't worked there.
I must be some kind of masochist.
Is there any internal understanding that these head fakes are punishing to fans?
Me and my friends were the ones that used plus. And buzz. And wave.
Now we're terrified to buy anything on the Play store.
I'm arguably a fanboy and even I am starting to worry that humanity might be better off if all the talent at Google was out from under their direct control. If only all the project teams at Google were free agents or in startups where the baseline comparison wasn't constantly asking if their product was as lucrative as advertising...
Be Bell Labs and dump your enormous profits into fundamental research with no expectation of return. Or be Softbank and just incubate the world.
But paying a bunch of talented engineers to build and maintain things you will kill seems cruel to the engineers, the customers, and maybe even humanity.
We already had Signal, et al. We could have used these cycles for other things.
Google: They're right, we need to focus our messaging strategy. Let's consolidate our platforms.
Hacker News: OMG! Google deprecates everything! Classic Google
>> I complain about Google having too many competing/overlapping products, so I can't really complain when they close/merge them.
But I tend to agree that "Hacker News" is right to complain in both cases. Messaging is one of those areas where the existence of products you (the consumer) don't use can hurt you, so criticism #1 stuck. The only fix played right into criticism #2.
Does that mean #2 isn't a real problem? No, in general it's even worse than problem #1. The real lesson to be drawn here is that, if you get into a "bad" situation, you may not have a "good" way out.
This message traditionally got hammered home by tragedies, but tragedies are massively unpopular with modern audiences.
Launching terrible services is bad. Shutting down services that people have genuinely come to rely on is also bad. But shutting down services that were meritless to begin with -- not a problem, but at the same a good opportunity to criticize Google for their aimless, lukewarm product strategy. Or complete lack of product strategy. Hard to tell.
The real fix is to have a cohesive vision and try to only create products that have merit, high quality and serious commitment behind it. A failure now and then is one thing -- every large company has a little graveyard of failed products -- but to keep making the same mistake repeatedly is something else entirely.
If you have developers working on competing products, you're wasting developer time.
If you inevitably shut down products, you're wasting developer time.
They are the same phenomenon.
The coherent recommendation isn't for more or fewer products, it's for some kind of product strategy.
I had completely forgotten about Allo until I read this headline.
Reading that put a lot of Google's actions into perspective (how many chat clients do they really need?, youtube music, etc)
Their track-record is one of the reasons I don’t adopt personally or recommenced new Google services to friends and family.
So, I have no idea why they're killing Hangouts and it isn't clear to me what I'm supposed to use instead (as I also use Hangouts for that "let's have a meeting" purpose, and no one has ever said, "can we use something else?"). But, I see clearly why they're killing Allo. It could have literally zero users, for all I know. But, Hangouts definitely has a lot of users.
I don't think one should group the killing of Allo in with the killing of Hangouts. Killing Allo is a no-brainer, as it was seemingly a bad idea with no market fit (I mean, I guess...I never even looked into what Allo was, because I was happy with Hangouts, but the market has spoken, for sure).
I think hangouts was their way to a decent messaging platform at some point.
Now I think they'd be better off supporting signal or buying Facebook...
When I add an event in Google Calender, there is an "Add Conferencing" dropdown...in it is "Hangouts". That adds a conference link to the event, which I can then share with whoever I want to meet with. When it comes time to meet, I open the email reminder, or look in my calendar, and click the link. Everybody shows up...we meet. That's Hangouts, as far as I know. It opens in the Hangouts group video UI. I receive these invites from others pretty regularly, so I don't think it's anything mysterious? But, as far as I know I've never received a Meet invite.
Google is very bad at branding and marketing is what I think we can learn from this.
Maybe we are on different sides of an A/B test.
Also, the Google Meet website is laughably useless. It has literally no content, not even a description of what it is.
“Video meetings for your business.
Connect with your team from anywhere. With easy-to-join video calls, you can meet face to face without the added cost of travel.”
EDIT: I just realized there is a separate “Google Meet” page which
has no SERP summary and just redirects to the Play Store page for the Hangouts Meet app (at least, on Android.)
It's not a good web page. Clicking the "Learn more" link takes me to a help page telling how to join a meeting...but, not much about what Meet is. It can be inferred, but it's also not a good introduction to Meet. I have now figured out what Meet is, but not why I would prefer it over Hangouts. It appears to be the same thing, only "for business" (and with a price tag, but no promise that Google will stop surveilling my every action online...which is really the one feature I'd absolutely be willing to pay for).
I'll just reiterate that Google is bad at branding and marketing.
“Allo will continue to work through March 2019 and until then, you’ll be able to export all of your existing conversation history from the app—here are instructions on how to do so.”
That’s not terrible, but the bar is very low for this kind of thing. It’s hardly seamless.
What does that even mean?
As far as I can tell, the whole difference between "Hangouts [Classic]" and "Hangouts Chat/Meet" is that the former was for consumers and the latter was for businesses/enterprises.
So they're shutting down the consumer version and moving all consumers to the business/enterprise version of the same product? That would just turn it back into what Hangouts was before they introduced Chat/Meet in the first place!
Chat and Meet replaced the classic interface for business. So, it's replacing classic for consumers, too.
(Which is interesting, because originally Hangouts was being announced to be pivoting to being business exclisive, with Hangouts classic for consumers left as-is with the implication that it, and consumer Hangouts as a thing, would eventually be killed, while Hangouts for business would be further developed, which is what Meet/Chat was. So it looks like Hangouts unpivoted.)
What company has a track record of creating duplicate products/services and then abandoning them, allowing most to fail in the marketplace?
Just because I'm willing to chat with someone really doesn't mean I am willing to provide phone numbers to them.
Edit: Repeated Allo, where I meant RCS.
The replacement for Hangouts is more Hangouts, not RCS (that is, per the article, Hangouts Chat and Hangouts Meet are being opened to consumers next year, and are the official replacement for Hangouts classic for consumers, just as they already were for enterprise.)
> One thing I hate about Allo is its use of phone number as user ID, so the same goes for Allo.
I assume one of these Allos is supposed to be RCS?
Example: Google Talk, Messages, Hangouts, Allo
They had a massive base of users in everyone who had a gmail account, many of whom used Gchat and they threw it away. It’s like if Apple managed to so badly screw up iMessage that it disappeared from use.
I set this up on my mom’s phone because she doesn’t get good enough cell reception at or around her place so an internet based messaging system works best. She is in very poor health and can barely hold the phone so something that doesn’t have a lot of small icons and in general just easy to setup and use would be great.
BUT besides this I had a lot of problems.
1) It is not privacy oriented. (I still have _enough_ trust to Google that if they explicitly state something as privacy oriented I would believe them. But that's not their business model)
2) No one used it. I have more friends that use Signal than Allo. Even though I liked all the features, those aren't enough to push people over. I feel the only way it would have succeeded is if they completely replaced messenger with allo (I thought that was the plan).
But I hope Signal implements some of these features. Really what was useful is inline google searching. Possibly inline DDG searching?
I'm sure I'm not the only one, but one of the big reasons I didn't use Allo was because they keep shuttering their apps.
I'm not going to use something I have doubts will last more than a year or two. I just don't have any use for such a product.