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Sunsetting Hire (support.google.com)
205 points by gdeglin 48 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 286 comments

I wonder if Google has unintentionally created a self-reinforcing feedback loop where potential customers don’t trust the products will be supported for more than 24 months which leads to limited adoption which in turn leads to the products being canceled before 24 months. Pair that with other HN comments that have described a situation where it’s easier to get promoted from launching a product vs maintaining an existing product. I understand the startup-like culture where they are looking for huge successes but I think they abandon these products before they’ve had enough time or exposure.

These days I learn of most "new" Google products from the shutdown notice posted here on Hacker News.

Also if there is a Google product that does something I need then I will almost always pick a worse alternative because I don't want to deal with the hassle of moving when Google eventually shuts down their thing.

Yep, I’ve never heard of Google Hire before now!

After the Hangouts/Allo/Duo debacle, I've done exactly this. I'll never put time into a new Google product again. My projects don't use G Suites or Cloud, either.

I can't be the only one.

G Suite and Google Cloud are very different. GSuite is the enterprise version of the consumer apps which have billions of users so it's not going anywhere. Google Cloud has potential to meet or exceed adtech revenue and has some very big commercial customers.

It's these smaller apps that suffer because $400/month isn't enough to make a difference at Google scale. They do have a mandate to keep innovating but it's a strange cycle where the company produces some great software and then abandons it due to lack of success, because it's already too successful.

> G Suite and Google Cloud are very different. GSuite is the enterprise version of the consumer apps which have billions of users so it's not going anywhere.

Hire was a G Suite app.

It integrate into G-Suite but Hire is a separate application with its own subscription. I think it's clear that the G-Suite core services (email, calendar, productivity) are not going to be shutdown.

Until you realize that Hangouts is a core service which is being shutdown.

Hangouts Meet (the core Google Suite version) isn't being shut down and is already pretty separate from the classic Google Hangouts in many ways.

Google Cloud as a package is different.

But since I started to use GCP 2012 a number of services has been left to die by abandonement.

Most of the times you get a clear migration path to a new service, but sometimes you dont such as when they kill the devserver for appengine standard in go 1.12 without giving a proper migration strategy. Everyone I know dread when they decide to deprecate go 1.11 support.

Same here, for me the cracking point was a combination of horror stories about peoples autobanned from the whole google ecosystem (including a whole life of gmail, company infra on google cloud, everything!) and the constant discontinuation of products

Agreed. Not only might your investment into a platform be lost, but there is a tail risk somewhere out there that if you hack something together and they decide they don't like it, it might actually hurt you. I'm not convinced that this would be more likely using an obscure service, but my intuition is that would be - since any bad press for them is instantly not worth it.

I still use Hangouts for SMS, but the product is half assed at best. I wonder when Google will kill Hangouts for good.

They already announced that they're killing it. It was supposed to start sunsetting next month, with Voice/Fi users moved to Hangouts Chat.

I'm not holding my breath.

So, I don't use G Suite. I just have the free consumer Hangouts (without Gmail; deleted that a long time ago .. which after the G+ shutdown, means I can no longer search contact .. weird).

I'm super confused by their blog post:


So for regular old consumer Hangouts (formerly part of G+) is that going away too? What happens to the phone number I have attached to it. .. I feel like I should port that way from Google sooner rather than later.

I’ve stopped using all Google products except search, which I still use sometimes, maps and youtube.

Likewise. Sticking to generic DigitalOcean/AWS/Azure services for cloud hosting.

Doubt it. This never made much sense as a Google offering. Very strong players in this category offering more complete solutions. Not obvious what Google brings here.

It was the best product we tried. We literally discussed internally will they drop support and thought they would keep it. The feedback loop grows.

We didn’t sign up because we’d just launched another system, but I really really liked it in the demo. We’ve ended up building homegrown GSuite + Google Script + Zapier automation tooling to approximate some of the workflows, because GSuite is such a natural place to do so many of the recruiting and interviewing tasks. I’m genuinely surprised to see this go away.

100% yes.

If it's not ad sales or search - I don't trust Google enough to base long term projects on it. _Maybe_ add gmail to that, perhaps. Possibly Suite (since at least they charge for it). For me at least, Google Cloud is still not quite emerged from "interesting, but not sure it'll be around long term yet" status. I'll use it as part of a multicloud architecture, or for prototypes/short-term projects. But I haven't yet been able to convince myself to recommend jumping both feet into a GoogleCloud-specific project architecture - in the same way I happily recommend/design/deploy AWS-specific projects all the time.

YouTube is of course obviously safe.

Google Cloud as a whole is also safe. It's the individual given products you have to worry about disappearing. It's already a very large business. Even in third place it's going to be at least a $15-$20 billion business over time. They're not shutting that down.


Given the speed with which youtube is demonetizing people or outright banning them, not sure how much longer it will sustain though.

To be fair though, it's validly arguable that at least some of the people and content they're demonetising and banning are the very far end of the trashfire bellcurve, and that YouTube is nett better without them.

I was watching a YouTube channel that that reviews mics and audio gear last night and they had had videos de monetised because of reviews of "shotgun mics"

Holy fuck! So their shutdown/demonetizing is being done by robots? They are automating the process of taking away peoples' way of earning a living? That is awful.

Isn't this how google does _everything_??? (Or at least aims to...)

This argument doesn't hold weight for me. Google demonetizes because advertisers don't want their ads on that content - and that is true no matter what platform.

To some extent, yes. But see this comment -> https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20818621 There are plenty of examples like this. Google's problem is not that it is cracking down on bad actors. The problem is, it does not have a human interface. So once you are part of type-1 error set, you have very little way out. Once there is sufficient number of such people, who have critical mass for a competing service.

And honestly, I am really glad that google products are dying. I switched to DDG 6 months ago, Firefox 1.5 years ago and I dont miss either of the products. Hopefully big tech monopolies will start crumbling one way or the other.

I wouldn't be so sure about YouTube being safe.

After having the Inbox rug swept out from underneath my feet, I don't have a lot of trust about Gmail either.

Inbox was just a different skin/front end for gmail though, they aren't really comparable. I was annoyed about Inbox coming and going too, but that was a totally different thing than if gmail itself were to go away.

Yeah, killing inbox moved me away from google for mail entirely, and after that the dominos started falling. The only google product I use regularly at this point is YouTube, which I pay for to avoid ads.

IMO, YouTube is their only killer product at this point. Runner up might be Maps, which I occasionally use for Street View, but I've been able to get away with MapQuest most of the time for directions. Otherwise, I've completely replaced everything in the Google ecosystem and have been very happy. Sure, Google's got all the algorithms, but that's not something I want in the first place.

This is quite strange behavior for a company with colossal cash coffers. They could keep up a project like that alive for years, just to keep loyal users content.

The fact that they are not doing things like that, repeatedly, is a bad sign for me. Well, at least they seem to keep search, maps, and gmail around for some time, because these obviously generate money for their main line of business, advertising.

And this is way Clayton Christensen's theory if disruption (innovator's dilemma etc) for so famous. The grit needed to resist this type of behavior is massive in big companies.

It takes most startups years to really perfect an idea. But that’s not really the problem here, they bought it as a proven idea and said it was successful and being used. it seems they just don’t see it as a business that boosts their bottom line enough when they could be using the same talent elsewhere in the firm. Opportunity costs etc.

Maybe they don’t like being #5 best product in the category or something.

The constant churn of companies getting acquired by Google continually justifies the anger on HN after a Google acquisition of their favourite products IMO, there’s a high probability they’ll shut it down even when Google claims they want to continue the business and even if it’s successful by a lot of other business’s standards.

$380 million they paid is no acquihire.

> $380 million they paid is no acquihire.

So, they're just shovelling the money into a furnace? Or perhaps you just mean that Google buying the company a member of the board founded isn't arms-length enough to justify the term, and this falls into some form of theft or bribery?

What is humorous to me is that Google is hurting users who typically have the most influence over SaaS integrations at their company (managers) by taking away a tool that helped them deal with the part of their job most of them hate the most (hiring/recruiting).

If it hasn't been obvious yet to managers watching this, Google's software is not a safe investment for you to make for your company. It is only a matter of time until you will suddenly have to divert your time to figuring out how to migrate away from a Good Tool to a Less Good Tool because Google built it well then took it away. Swapping a tool like this is an abysmal resource sink for you and your company.

This is not the first, second, third, fourth or even fifth time this has happened, but this one should hit close to home.

Google's software is not a safe investment for you to make for your company.

Bebop was an acqui-hire, not a real product. All they wanted was the CEO. I don't think anyone took the product seriously except for the person who started it, and once she left Google, there was no reason to continue pretending that it was a real thing.

The trouble is that if you have to understand or correctly guess internal Google politics like this in order to know which products you can really rely on, then it's effectively not reliable.

With that said, I'd feel fine relying on VMs, disks, managed SQL, managed Kubernetes, etc. Maybe I'm too optimistic. And Google is giving exactly the guarantees they promised - 1 year of notice before shutting down a product.

> And Google is giving exactly the guarantees they promised - 1 year of notice before shutting down a product.

This is mostly true, but a bit more nuanced than one might think. Let's take the Go 1.9 runtime for App Engine. It was deprecated on June 27, 2019. [1] Existing deployments will keep working for an undetermined time, however new deployments won't be accepted starting October 1, 2019. That's just a 3 month notice! The offered solution is to migrate to Go 1.11 [2], however that's not straightforward either, because the Go 1.11 runtime is using 2nd generation App Engine, which means a bunch of App Engine specific code that you had working before will need to be rewritten. To make things even more spicy there's already a migration path to Go 1.12 which deprecates every single App Engine specific API. [3] Google is basically slowly shutting down the whole 1st generation App Engine.


[1] https://cloud.google.com/appengine/docs/standard/go/release-...

[2] https://cloud.google.com/appengine/docs/standard/go111/go-di...

[3] https://cloud.google.com/appengine/docs/standard/go112/go-di...

Note: I work on App Engine. Go 1.11 supports all legacy 1st generation APIs. It's in the first section of the doc [2] that you posted although perhaps we can make this even clearer. We maintained support for these APIs precisely to make this migration extremely straightforward for our existing users as we moved to a more modern underlying technology stack and a version of Go supported by the language community. We absolutely want App Engine to be a place you can confidently build a business upon.

Was this done proactively or reactively after many months of negative feedback? If it was the former that gives me a lot more faith in app engine after trialing in some years ago and giving up on it.

Proactively. It was in the initial email about the Go 1.9 turndown sent to users. We definitely understand that any code change is painful, no matter how trivial. Supporting legacy APIs on a modern Go runtime seemed like the right balance between keeping up with the language community while bringing along our existing users.

And if Google finally figures out that they're slowly re-implementing half of Erlang, badly, then half of this could evaporate within a couple years.

(Given their history I'd expect it's more likely they build their own BEAM and put a new language on top of it)

Is there Takeout or equivalent for all your VM configs and persistent disks? How hard is it to flip between Google and AWS and back?

That's fine, but why do a whole rebranding before shutdown instead of sunsetting Bebop which was a dead brand anyway?

Well to that extent, most other SaaS products which are affordable for SMBs are not a safe investment either, it's not that non-google companies/startup never shut down. Actually most SaaS startups fail.

Profits that don't register for Google can make a sensible business for a smaller company.

Do you think Bebop would have survived if Google never tried to buy it? Or if Google poached the key staff but didn't buy the company?

I agree but I think it's a false dichotomy.

At least with a startup you can count on them to, well, try.

but most lack the financial stability of google and could disappear rather quickly because of that.

Look for companies like Basecamp, companies that arent looking to be aquired or get unicorn status but to stay soundly profitable year-after-year.

This was one of the reasons I loved WhatsApp so much early on when that seemed to be the way it was going: a healthy >1B USD company with no dependency except on users.

As the WhatsApp story and many other tells us this isn't always safe, but it should be a safer bet than anyone clearly going the "unicorn or nothing" way from the start.

Was WhatsApp healthy or profitable before it was bought by Facebook? I'm not sure if there's any way we can know for sure, but it all played out like a pretty standard Silicon Valley "unicorn" - couple of rounds of investment by a big VC followed by a mega-acquisition by a FAANG.

Do we even know they are profitable now without Facebook selling user data?

But WhatsApp is an insane success story on its own. Back then, around 20 engineers handling billions of messages per day, with their own servers and spending zero dollars in advertisement and using a non-standard language (Erlang).

They had 400 million monthly active users in December 2013. At the same time they had 50 employees I think as well as modest server expenses.

They had signalled quite early that they where going to charge money, they had started charging money from at least a subset of users and they were still growing like crazy, 200 million monthly active users since april that year it seems based on the statistics I found.

To me that sounds profitable.

Financial stability doesn't mean much to the end-user if the product ends up getting killed off regardless.

SaaS Market is pretty mature. Salesforce, ServiceNow, Workday, Tableu, and Mulesoft are a few I have personally worked on that are not really in startup mode anymore.

> While Hire has been successful, we’re focusing our resources on other products in the Google Cloud portfolio

This is not a decision any startup would make. So there's at least some difference, in Googles disfavor.

It literally was a decision a startup made. Bebop was a startup that sold itself.

Selling a startup is not even close to the same as shutting down while admitting your product is successful.

I agree that not becoming dependent on nascent Google projects is a good call for for consumers. But their cloud offering seems to be pretty stable and reliable. It feels almost as if their consumer and cloud arms are different companies.

I certainly hope this is true but I hold a healthy degree of skeptism when using one of their cloud products. This is unfortunate, because overall I've found GCP to be quite far ahead of AWS in terms of product design and integrations.

can you elaborate more about 'GCP to be quite far ahead of AWS in terms of product design and integrations'?

Whether it's actually safe or not, there's a plausible narrative that it is not and won't be. When I'm doing tech selection, things like this will keep me from picking Google every time.

Especially if I'm working for a large business.

One of the reasons big companies move slower is maturity. You are expected to keep doing something once you put it out there. Otherwise you're seen as a risky partner and avoided.

The only other way to go is to make the things you support so simple that people could, if pressed, do their own maintenance if you pull a fade. Abandonware with a prayer of being adopted by internal people.

The cost of switching to another platform should also be calculated into the price when you choose platform.

Everything they do besides _search_ is meant to distract you from the fact that they have an unchallenged monopoly far surpassing Standard Oil in the 1800s.

Standard Oil had ~90% of refined oil in the United States.

Google generates ~63% of all searches [1], with Bing ~25%. I'd hardly call that unchallenged or Standard Oil sized.

And as eyes move from search ads to places like Facebook or other platforms, they stand to lose more and more as they don't control where people are. Being so dependent on one source of revenue is very dangerous for them.

Interesting fact: Rockefeller's worth was 1-2% of US GDP, which in that metric would be $500 billion - $1 trillion now.

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/267161/market-share-of-s...

> Rockefeller's worth was 1-2% of US GDP, which in that metric would be $500 billion - $1 trillion now.

US GDP is around $20 trillion so 2% would be $400 billion.

Google is worth twice that with an $800 billion market cap, or 4% of US GDP.

I was curious and looked up some sources...

Here is the source on Google being 4% of US GDP: [0]

Rockefeller being worth 1-2% of US GDP is sourced from [1] on his Wikipedia page.

Math checks out.

More fun facts:

Apple is also around 4% [2].

Microsoft is around 5% [3].

Outside of the tech space...

Walmart is around 1.5% [4].

Goldman Sachs is around 0.35% [5].

McDonalds is at ~ 0.08% [6].

Boeing is hovering at about 1% [7].

0 - https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28google+market+cap%2...

1 - http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about...

2 - https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28apple+market+cap%29...

3 - https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28microsoft+market+ca...

4 - https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28walmart+market+cap%...

5 - https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28goldman+sachs+marke...

6 - https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28mcdonalds+market+ca...

7 - https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=%28boeing+market+cap%2...

This lines up with my intuition. 60% of search > 90% of oil. Search obviously also has no physical upper limit like oil utilization.

>US GDP is around $20 trillion so 2% would be $400 billion.

Oops - correct :)

I mentioned Rockefeller's worth, not Standard Oil. Comparing Google to Rockefeller is apples to oranges. Standard Oil was worth far more than Rockefeller.

Google founders are each worth ~$50B, 0.25% of GDP.

Seems like these non billion user products could be sold off rather than killed. The cost to ready the software to live outside google would be worth it for the goodwill alone.

Would this actually be practical? From what little I know about google infrastructure everything is dependent on their in house tooling and spinning projects off is a massive amount of work.

I think the point is that Google has been burning goodwill for a decade now.

It might not be visible yet, just like the ice cube who has been heated from -100°C to -5°C and still doesn't melt, but at this point it would take very little energy to thaw Googles goodwill reserves.

Anything they can do to return to former status as "defender of the Internet" might be worth huge investments for that alone.

> ice cube who has been heated from -100°C to -5°C and still doesn't melt, but at this point it would take very little energy to thaw

Unobviously a poor metaphor.

energy to heat 1kg from -100°C to -5°C: 200kJ

energy to melt 1kg from -5°C (as ice) to 0°C (as water): 345kJ

Water has lots of extremely non-linear behaviours!!!


Do you have a better idea? Either another example or a better way to tell it so it becomes true?

I guess I could start somewhere closer to 0°K, but that wouldn't mean much I guess?

Better pick an example that doesn't involve phase change. ;)

Maybe it is more like water spilling over the top of an earthen dam. It only takes incrementally more water to happen, but is very bad for the structure of the dam and things downstream.

I think your point was very well made, but to satisfy the people who comment on the energies required for phase change etc., you could just change it to very small temperature delta/difference, and be perfectly fine.

> Water has lots of extremely non-linear behaviours!!!

Is caused by a special property of water? Or is it just the discontinuity arising from taking 0°C ice to 0°C water?

If it's the latter it applies to all solid to liquid transitions (entropy of fusion).

I think the GP's point holds in that water has a higher latent heat of fusion than most other everyday substances, probably due to its polarity.

phase transition is a discontinuity. water is "complicated" but yes, it's just a phase change.

This is a very good analogy for a concept I've tried to formulate succinctly spur-of-the-moment a few times. I especially like that it captures the reversibility of the trend and the energy cost of doing so. Thanks for sharing.

That's interesting. They are not dogfooding Google Cloud?

This one was never worth running from the beginning. It existed mostly to prevent a specific person from feeling bad.

Yup. Google a search company, any technology that doesn't impact their bottom line, is dispensable (to a lesser/greater degree) to them.

> Yup. Google a search company, any technology that doesn't impact their bottom line, is dispensable (to a lesser/greater degree) to them.

Rather: Google is an advertising company, ...

The only time people jump onboard google products is at launch. Being the premier tech company in the world that actually launches things like this brings significant network effects that help boost these products past noise threshold.

After that it doesn't matter coz you'll probably move on to the next company(2-3 years) and it won't matter that the google product you adopted failed/was shut down since you'll be in a different tech time/space continuum bubble and will have adopted newer things.

This is really a problem of Google just not bothering to invest in things long term. It's a known problem and I don't think Google cares coz none of these products really disrupt the market or bring in the big bucks which is all tech giants care about.

Interesting dynamic, this is the same as offshoring. Make a decision that is beneficial in the short term, get that bonus or promotion out of it, run away before the much greater long term downside catches up with you. But it can only work in an environment that encourages job hopping... which we have.

Hey companies, if you want people to make good decisions then you need to invest in retention above all else.

This makes sense, Hire was born out of Bebop (founded by Diane Greene, former VMware founder/CEO).

Google acquihired Bebop to get Diane Greene as head of Google Cloud (which is why this product was lumped under their cloud division), but she left Google earlier this year. No reason for Google to keep it running now.

So I guess we now passed the aqui-hire (acquire a company you're not interested in to get the people you want) and arrived at the prod-hire: Build a product you're not interested in to acquire a company you're not interested in to get the people you want.

... until they leave.

There was probably tension between Diane Green and Sundar Pichai.

The general struggle for Google is the difficulty in choosing a strategy for serving both

1. Enterprise customers with custom / manual / labor intensive needs

2. Fully automated products and processes for a wide spectrum of users who need to adopt to Google and not the other way around

To sell big Enterprise contracts, Google needs to listen to these customers specific needs and promise solutions. I don't think Google has this capability in its DNA. This must be very frustrating from someone like Diana Green that is used to operate a company in a different way. Could be the reason that she left her role.

Hire user here. IMO the product was functional (and cheap relative to the market) but not good.

There were a lot of UX quirks that made it feel like an outside consultancy slapped some “Material” design on a pre-built app and called it a day.

Really I would’ve liked to see a product like this be a meta-layer on top of GSuite productivity tools. ie Interview feedback forms should be a Forms form, the job board should be more like Sites.

From a strategic standpoint I had no idea why they pursued this particular product. The output here never seemed particularly well-aligned to any strategic motive.

> From a strategic standpoint I had no idea why they pursued this particular product

A manager wanted a promotion

>made it feel like an outside consultancy slapped some “Material” design on a pre-built app and called it a day.

Google's replacement motto for "Don't be evil" is "Launch and forget."

Looking through https://killedbygoogle.com most of the projects look like crappy side projects so I can understand why a multibillion dollar company would kill them off.

My favourite one they killed was this one though:

Google Ride Finder

Killed almost 10 years ago, Google Ride Finder was a service that used GPS data to pinpoint and map the location of taxis, limos, and shuttle vehicles available for hire in 10 U.S. metro areas. It was over 4 years old.

A taxi app... Close, but no cigar.

Companies are going to avoid new Google offerings given this behavior.

They marketed Hire by Google hard. Glad we didn't sign up and waste integration effort on this.

Are going to? They already are. I will no longer consider a Google product for work purposes. Even for big stuff they are committed to like their cloud offering there is no confidence that individual features within it they you rely on won't get killed off.

you dont use gmail or google apps for business? i think their mail and docs/sheets are not a risk. everything else i wouldnt place a bet on

Once I started doing just a little advanced stuff in Microsoft Word I realized how poor Google Doc is. You can't define your own style for crying out loud, you have to redefine an existing one.

Yeah- Google Doc's main advantage was sharability- especially for people who couldn't figure out how to deal with attachments or network servers.

I'd consider those products safe since Google is completely dependent on them internally.

until someday they aren't

Microsoft, Zoho, and AWS all have a mail/docs offering that one can count on to stick around.

What about to Go? Or Flutter? They are the best in their niche.

Go I'd consider, even if Google ditch it, the language still exists and is sufficiently entrenched to continue on. I wouldn't go near Flutter at all. Exactly the sort of thing that Google will lose interest in and stop backing leaving you with a product built on an un-supported platform.

Go is probably pretty safe, but even internally at Google Flutter is still sort of flying under the radar and nobody knows (or cares) about it too much. But if leadership decides to take a look at what the heck is going on in that corner of the organization... that would be a hard one to explain.

I don't think Flutter is flying under the radar. From a 2018 tweet, which quotes the VP of design at the g.

“Flutter’s ability for real time UI iteration is a game changer in the way we polish and refine designs” - @MatiasDuarte https://twitter.com/FlutterDev/status/994658401132019712

Oh I definitely will. I received heavy Hire marketing spam emails in the last 3 months.

It is very unprofessional to try to get companies to change their processes to depend in a product that you are closing.

I wont touch Google products with a 10ft pole for my company any time soon. It is a liability.

"It was built mostly for small to medium sized businesses, with a price that ranged from $200 to $400 a month depending on how many G Suite licenses you needed."

Hm. Does that price seem too high? When I think small business I think mom and pop restaurants or utility stores. Would they be willing to pay so much per month just to hire people which they'll inevitably have to pay for anyways? Do small and medium businesses hire at such large rates to justify this expense?

Obviously I'm just armchair generaling here, I'm sure G Suite's sales team crunched the numbers to make sure they made sense. But they don't make sense to me, and I'm wondering if someone can explain why.

The target market for Google Hire was probably Lever's (https://www.lever.co) customers, i.e. mostly funded startups and other companies hiring white collar employees. For these businesses, $200-400/month for an Applicant Tracking System is pretty inline with market. Lever's pricing is higher as far as I've seen.

My company (alley.co) is a satisfied Hire customer, and we are 70+ people, all of whom are in professional tech roles. We're definitely still in the SMB category, and since we're a consultancy and have no outside investors, we're likely to remain in that category. We're a remote company, so our signal to noise ratio in applicants is low, and we really need solid filtering tools for the first round of reviews.

Hire works really well for us since we're on G Suite for everything else. I'm about as annoyed about this sunset as I was annoyed about the sunset over Google Inbox. Google's commitment to building tools to make digital life easier is really faltering. We used a handful of Hire competitors before settling on Hire... hopefully the year before EOL will be long enough for one of them to emerge as the best alternative for us.

I’ve only ever seen tech companies use it, so assuming that’s the target, the pricing seems reasonable.

Actual small businesses — like local shops, handy men, movie theaters, etc. likely still use Craigslist, or something much cheaper like Zip Recruiter.

small business is defined as anything up to 500 people. mom and pop, restaurants are in the same group but it covers a pretty big swath.

not sure why you are getting downvoted, the EU guideline recommends to define SMBs as <= 250 people and the German equivalent KMU is defined as <= 500 people

500 people is a small business? Wow, definitely this definition is not used in Europe.

Mmm it’s not that far in France a TPE is below 10, a PME between 10 and 250, ETI between 250 and 5000 and a GE above 5000.

500 is almost PME which stands for Petites et Moyennes Entreprises, literally small and medium sized business.

the EU guidelines says <= 250 employees, Germany's KMU is defined as <= 500 employees

Why the negative points?

Exactly in both definitions, the French and the German, the M means MEDIUM. 500 is NOT a SMALL business. It's at least a medium one.

The generic term in industry is SME, ie Small to Medium Enterprise. Mom and Pop stores often don't even qualify as "Small".

I'm the founder and CTO of Lever, YC S12. I also worked at Google as a PM prior to founding Lever.

Let me know how I can help if anyone has questions! We're a great alternative to Google Hire.

One of the biggest drivers for me picking google hire over Lever or Workable or one of the alternatives was the pricing model. By charging based on the size of the company and not the number of job slots it removed one of the biggest pains we had which was the constant juggling of putting specs live and archiving some as the priorities changed. £300 p/month for essentially unlimited slots was unbeatable.

What is the feedback and calendaring integrations like with Lever and gSuite?

Lever charges on company employee size as well! You can have as many job postings as makes most sense for your talent marketing / candidate experience.

Lever's G Suite integration for both calendaring and email is quite extensive. In addition, we have a feature called Easy Book that enables candidates to book their own interview times, especially useful for phone screens. Here's more with some screenshots: https://help.lever.co/hc/en-us/articles/360025622851-How-to-...

Wow cool to find you like this.

We built a resume software which focuses exactly on working with ats (https://rezi.io/)

We plan to make resume formats specific to certain types of ATS, Lever being amongst the first we hope to work with.

Any way this message can spark that conversation? Our users & hiring partners love the idea.

Send me a note, <first name>@lever.co, and we'll take it from there!

https://rezi.io is returning a 500 page :(

thanks for the notice - all sorted now

Hi Nate. I've recently launched a service for managing coding challenges for recruitment through git (https://candidatecode.com).

I'm keen to start offering some lightweight integrations for a few ATS - is there anyone you can point me to in Lever that might be able to kick off that discussion?

Sure thing. Send me a note and I can forward

Nate - why do you think Google shut down Hire? When it launched, did you see any path for it to become a major ATS player, given Google's impatience?

Thx & hope Lever scoops up a bunch of customers from the transition (if Hire even had a bunch of customers!).

As many of the news articles have talked about, Google Hire's origin was the acquisition of Bebop. Some discussion on this HN thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10839516

In this case, I know that Diane Greene advocated for her team to have the opportunity to launch their product, which they had been developing in stealth from 2012-2016.

I haven't worked there for some time now, but Google has historically supported teams in launching into the market through experiments, labs, new product launches, etc. However, Google's current scale makes it very difficult for a new product to be worth improving and maintaining. They must make billions in revenue directly or indirectly to show up in a meaningful way. In most cases, products are given a few years, tested for impact, and ultimately the most likely outcome is that a product will fail when that is the bar. It is not entirely different from the reality of a startup—the majority of startups don't last either.

Can we just combine all services Google cuts in the last month into a mega post on the say 14th of every month?

I remember clicking on that a while back on thinking there weren't that many products listed there. They must have filled in a lot of killed-off-projects because now I'm struck by what a large number of projects are in the graveyard.

The age at the end of each one makes it genuinely sad. Well done them.

Dont think of them as products, think of them as a promotion for a googler to principal engineers.

They’ve killed goo.gl? Ok, that was news to me.

Just call it "Axe Tuesday".

Almost every successful Google product over the last 15 years has been the result of acquiring an already-built product and marketing + distributing it well: Youtube, Nest, Waze, Doubleclick, Android.

Products that are organically created within Google (even Google Hire, created via acquihire) have a pretty awful track record.

Gmail? Google maps? Chrome?

Gmail is 15 years old.

Maps is ~15 years old (and was the combination of several acquisitions in the maps space: Keyhole, Where2, Zipdash, etc.)

Chrome is 11 years old + extremely successful, but my point still stands.

Plus Chrome is not really a product as, to my knowledge, it generates zero income.

Firefox and Safari generate tons of money for Google via search referrals so Chrome would have billions in revenue if it was valued the same way.

Indeed, when you value Chrome's market share in terms of traffic acquisition, it's pretty straightforward. Especially since they designed it from the ground up to do more searches.

I believe it indirectly makes money as being a platform for Google's ecosystem, especially for their Enterprise Cloud apps suite or even Chromebooks.

Chrome is an advert delivery mechanism, if you see it from that perspective it looks highly lucrative.

Every time there's a post about a Google service being shut down, there are the usual remarks. I'm not saying they aren't deserved, but I'm curious if there's an alternate perspective here? Perhaps sunsetting these services ultimately leads to a more trim and lean Google, and better profit margins? Put another way, is it just the HN circle that is so put off by this?

The two positions don't seem to be in any conflict: I'm sure it is good for Google to shut these services down. I'm sure it does result in a leaner and more profitable company. The end result is still that Google cannot be trusted to keep any service running that isn't extremely profitable, and people who come to depend on these less-profitable services still end up orphaned.

This is the big difference for me.

I can much more likely rely on a 10 person startup who're turning over, say 50mil and clearing a few mil a year of profit after all expenses. That's a stable reliable business.

At Google, that's defined as "failure" and designed straight to the Google Graveyard.

Even a 1 person startup making a few hundred thou per year is a better bet for me - I'd sooner have Pinboard as a critical dependancy for my business than any shiny new Google toy like, say, Flutter...

A ten person startup, turning over 50 million, with a few million of profit??? Where do I sign up?

Two great examples are the goo.gl URL shortener and the custom site search widget. These two services actively break parts of the internet when they stop working.

Google has largely failed to diversify. In contrast with Amazon, or Microsoft they only have two closely coupled revenue lines ( search and ads ). Overall this makes them vulnerable to a shift in the marketplace such as increased demand for privacy.

> only have two closely coupled revenue lines ( search and ads )

There is (practically) no "search" revenue that is not "ads" revenue. Ads is close to 90% of all Google's revenue. The remainder is not broken down in the earnings report, although I suspect it's largely their cloud computing business. Thus, Google's two revenue lines are really ads and cloud, with the latter much smaller than the former, and probably with a lower margin too.

Privacy and ads can co-exist

In the way google does it?

They're apparently not interested in offering an ad service that just shows ads related to the topic of the site/article (or that have identified the types/topics of sites/articles they wish the ad to appear on), the way that e.g. magazine ads would be "targeted".

It's good short term anyway. Whether it bites them in the end is basically a question of whether they make their brand untrustworthy. They seem to be doing so.

If you're an end user, the only relevant perspective is noticing that the company is unreliable. That they're maximizing their own interests is something you can take for granted, but it's of little comfort or interest.

Right, because when Johnny B. Small business owner realises the google service he relies on for <Insert almost any task you can imagine> is cancelled, he's not thinking "oh great now i have to find/learn/migrate data using a new service", he's thinking "Oh well at least google's bottom line will look a little better".

Well one thing is that here there's a full 12 months of sunsetting going on, compared to a lot of "we're killing the product and you have a month to export your data"

A year is a pretty long time!

I am curious about usage numbers on some of these though.... like if these products were actually really successful I don't think Google would actually kill them.

Founder and CEO of Agave.com here. We're a new player in the space and we've focused on making it easy for startups to get going quickly with an ATS that doesn't suck. If you're interested in a demo or getting an invite to join (we haven't launched publicly yet), shoot me an email at jared@agave.com.

Do you have an XML job feed?

We are aggregating jobs from ATS-es.


Hi Dennis, we do support XML job feeds for all of our customer accounts, including those on the free plan.

Does google actually have a worse track record on shutdowns than the average startup? Random 10 person companies shut down all the time, but we seem to pay extra attention when it's a 10 person team inside Google.

No 10-person company's product story is as unfocused and insane as Google's. They abandon products right after building them, they change names of products confusingly and frequently, and they always have 2+ products that mostly overlap.

There's this sense that we're constantly being baited and switched. No small company could afford to give its users whiplash as often as Google does.

The difference between Google and a 10 person company is that at Google if a neighboring product is more successful then it will cannibalize the lesser products staff, while a 10 person company will be there as long as it is profitable.

When I get involved with a random 10 person company, I know what I'm getting into.

Using the google brand provides(provided) a sense of respectability and deeper pockets/longer term vision.

Some users, I believe rightfully so, feel betrayed by google's lackadaisical approach to starting and shutting down projects. Especially when comparing the effort to market vs create a great product. Like google +, it was shoved down people's throats, only to be tossed.

This all seems pretty fair to me.

I know how to evaluate a startup's potential failure. Who's funding them? How much money do they have? How popular are they? How solid's the product? What are the founders like? Heck, for a lot of small startups, you can just ask to talk to the CEO if it's what it will take to close the deal. And I have a good idea of the conditions under which they'll throw in the towel.

But Google product success seems to depend entirely on internal politics, which are completely opaque to me. As traek explains, this product only exists at Google because Google wanted to hire the company's CEO: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20815572

And it stopped existing because she left Google. How could I possibly predict that? Better just to stay away, I figure, unless it's an obvious money-maker or has high strategic value.

Also - if I build a business around a 10 person startup, and they run into trouble or get acquired - there's at least some chance I could negotiate to buy/lease/rent the piece of IP and platform I'm relying on, or to reasonable expect to replicate the important bits of APIs I'm using by starting my own 10 person team.

I cannot ever expect to "negotiate with Google".

> And it stopped existing because she left Google. How could I possibly predict that?

It's pretty easy really, and you don't have to predict Google executive tenures: if the founder of a service you are considering using sells the company to Google and runs a completely different product division afterwards, even if that service doesn't immediately sunset and lives on as a vanity project, it will die of neglect. The founder focuses on the job they were hired for, and the competition will not remain in stasis like the service inevitably does.

Ah, so the solution is to understand the internal culture of every company you do business with?

Our definition of 'easy really' might be very different. In fact, whenever someone talks about complex topics and starts off with 'easy really' I cringe. There's a certain perspective people have to have to use such language, and that perspective is very far from my general understanding that 'reality is complex'.

> Ah, so the solution is to understand the internal culture of every company you do business with?

I'm comfortable treating this as a universal constant. Any company that buys a startup and immediately promotes their CEO to a different department never cared about the startup they just bought.

I think that's a good heuristic if the product is a startup and if the executive moves on and if I can see that. But I'll note that even that's not perfect. YouTube was an acquisition where all of the founders moved on to other things, and 9 years later it's still doing fine.

Google internally is like a mini VC ecosystem. Google leaders calculate the opportunity cost of headcount instead of the actual cost, so if a project isn't worth at least a million per man-year it gets shut down in favor of other projects which might fuel the system in the future.

Yes, but when a VC creates a product, he doesn't name it:

VC's Product Name

Why? Because then his name is behind it. Instead, he invests.

Google could choose to create products that aren't google branded as an experiment. Then they can win/fail on their own merit.

But google doesn't choose to do that. They use their branding and marketing machine. They know they are using their brand to create trust. Then they betray it.

Seems pretty clear to me and it even seems odd the naivete some people here display, it's almost as if they had an interest in seeing google as a force of good, when they clearly removed their 'do no evil'.

There is a choice being made, and the choice has a reason. They have every right to do as they please with their brand, we have every right to find it sneaky, dishonest and something that makes us less likely to get burned again (jumping on board other google projects)

For better or worse, brands exist. I love my Nike shoes because they are super comfortable and last a long time. I might be able to get cheaper sneakers that are just as good. But I'm loyal to the brand because they consistently produce great products. If that stopped being the case, I'd stop paying the Nike brand premium. Can Nike experiment? Sure, hopefully not under the Nike brand (in fact, that does happen, many companies in many industries own more than one brand and keep the flagship brand separate from more experimental brands on a PR basis)

Some people pay attention:


I stopped using every Google product besides Search and Maps. Still have Photos but thats replaceable. Oh and Youtube, which is not replaceable. Haven’t used Gmail in a decade and no use for all the other stuff that no one knows if it will be around next year or not. Sorry to say but that what it has become.

I still have the old picasa executable so I can use it on new or reinstalled computers. It's great for browsing all the images and videos on your computer.

Sadly doesn't run on Macs using Catalina anymore

I'm the founder and CTO of Lever (https://www.lever.co), a similar product and part of YC S12. I recommend you check us out!

I was also a PM at Google from 2007-2011. A big part of why I left and founded Lever is that I'm super passionate about enterprise software, and vertical enterprise software (even in huge markets) isn't aligned well with Google's core business.

> and vertical enterprise software (even in huge markets) isn't aligned well with Google's core business.

That's exactly the point that everyone who says "Don't use google products" is missing. Anything horizontal (eg GSuite basics, docs/sheets, mail, calendar) are relatively safe.

Anything vertical isn't going to move the needle in Google's view of their finances.

MS and Oracle have had issues with their "verticals" in the past, but they weren't actually big enough that they could kill them off, given their reliance on enterprise customers for their income.

FAANG (except Netflix obv) aren't dependent on enterprise customers. Facebook and Apple don't really offer enterprise products and AWS/Google have, basically Workspaces/Workdocs for AWS and GSuite from Google.

Both Facebook and Google are "vertical" in that they sell ads on the internet, or, more accurately, they provide access to their users to advertisers. Everything else is noise.

So the general rule is "Don't buy vertical services from a horizontal company".

I use Lever at work and it’s absolutely excellent.

Thank you! I appreciate the support. Means a lot.

Yet another one hits the Google Graveyard https://www.saashub.com/google-graveyard

Yeah. They definitely kill things. https://killedbygoogle.com

Nothing new under the sunset. https://gcemetery.co

Use https://killedbygoogle.com/ ! It's open source, and writes savage tweets. It also answers a question I usually have to ask about shut down Google products: What was it in the first place?

Someone already has a PR to add Hire: https://github.com/codyogden/killedbygoogle/pull/567

Yep, that was me. I closed the PR before ready, but Cody quickly sorted it out.

Cheers. :) Thanks for the PR!

While this is splendid news of another fallen Google product, I'm afraid this time it is different. Google has a similar alternative to outgrow and to completely replace Hire which is called Byteboard [0].

[0] https://byteboard.dev/

That only appears to cover engineering hiring, whereas Google Hire was a general ATS. Byteboard definitely isn't a replacement yet, and it isn't clear that it aspires to be one.

> I'm afraid this time it is different.

Exactly the same. Google often shuts down a service in favor of alternatives it already have, like Hangouts=>Duo and Inbox=>GMail.

That's an a120 incubator project, meaning it's being created in a separate part of the company as an experimental product.


that's an assessment tool, not an applicant tracker as far as I can see. Not the same thing at all.

Starting to think that the key is to build your toys on a VM you control. That way nobody can take them away

Proprietary stuff is starting to become flakey not in the uptime sense but pure lifespan. Almost like planned obsolescence became a thing with gear

I'd love this, a private server that ran apps (running on my box at home or maybe on an AWS instance) I can access via a web browser: no more senseless version upgrades with all the UI changes to boot, dropped file formats, license key nightmares, and of course ended products.

Do it!

It comes with it's own set of challenges, but I've found with the advent of docker it's quit easy to test running your own xyz server.

Some people have never stopped thinking that way. Some of us have questioned every single "we'll just use google <blah>" decision/discussion every time it's come up.

Yep. Though some of the cloud glue-like things sure do seem appealing.

So my current thinking is build it on VM but glue it together with cloud...ideally with something that is available in multiple clouds. e.g. GCP and Azure both have pub/sub and both have cloud functions

There is no reason this needs to be a SAAS product, and at this point we should know better than to trusting any SAAS product offered by Google.

I wish they would take the approach of making it trivial for me to host an open source version myself on Google Cloud rather than just throwing away the work: it would let them keep making money and mean that I could actually have enough faith to use their products.

This is surprising considering how many companies I've seen use Hire in my current job search. Was it not profitable? I wonder what the backlash is going to be for all the companies that spent time integrating it into their hiring workflows.

Does anyone have recommendations for good alternatives? We were sure this would be a good idea when moving to it. :(

We use Lever and have been pretty happy with it. Easy to use and good integrations.

We used Lever too. Until the renewal price came. $10,000+ doesn’t make any sense if only planning to hire a handful of people / yr

That was the biggest advantage of Google Hire: it was actually affordable as a startup.

This is the main reason I built Agave Hire (agave.com). I wanted something I could easily customize, and also wasn't expensive.

Check out https://hirehive.com, I'm the CTO and we have a great set of features. Our pricing is based on the number of open roles and prices start at $49 per month for 3 open roles.

Glad to hear! I'm the Founder and CTO of Lever. Anything I can do to help?

Not sure what the HN rules are for self-promotion but my team and I recently launched an ATS/CRM called TalentAdmin. We're currently more geared towards smaller businesses but slowly growing into larger customers. We're not a perfect fit for everyone but we're very strong in structured interviews / scorecards, support, and at a price competitive with Google Hire.

Check out at agave.com, it starts out free and gives you full API access to your own data.

Edit: disclaimer, I’m founder and CEO there.

Speaking of self-promotion, there may be value in adding all necessary disclaimers before you recommend a product.

we migrated to Bamboo recently. It's OK.

I just have the worst nightmare: Google abandons Photo. I have all my photos synced in Google Photo and remove duplicate in my iPhone. If they shut it down, am I screwed?

Well Google might be very kill-happy with their own products but at least they always give an early notice so everybody can at least take out their data and move to another service.

So even if they shut down Photo one day you will probably have time to download all your photos. Even today you can just download all your photos at once if you have already deleted them from your phone/computer.

Btw you should be aware that if you bulk-download your photos from Google they might be in lower resolution and they will be missing some information (e.g. the geo-coordinates). So it might be a good idea to also store your (original) photos on your own devices.

Google is very very very very nice about product sunsetting - generous timelines and no bandwidth throttling. Also photos and videos are part of their core business now, i don't think they'd ever abandon the space unless something seriously disrupted the market.

Yes you are, if they do that. This is why I manually export everything off my phone to an external hard drive once a month, to make sure I also keep the originals. Google Photos is very searchable & easy to use, but not a final long term storage option.

If it was successful why not sell it and let it live on?

I wonder if it has to do with Diane leaving and Thomas being the new CEO, trying to cut the smaller stuff. Especially with Hire was basically the project of Diane's company that Google acquired.

This seems reasonable. Google acquired Bebop in 2015. I think Google earn outs are usually three years. She left in 2018.

Hire would have been launched by the acquired team, all of whole would have had a similar three year earn out. If the few key people leave, suddenly there’s nobody left to maintain the product.

I can think of two reasons:

1. The code can be tightly tied to their internal systems and infra. It may just be more expensive to separate it out, not to mention engineers at Google are smart enough to avoid such projects (I mean, separate it out so that they can sell it) with no value to career.

2. Its success (of whatever scale) is probably tied to Google branding. Once it goes away, its probably as good as yet another job listing site which isn't super hard to make.

Right, #1 makes a lot of sense. The management/engineer’s time and commitment is the most finite resource and it’s possible they integrated it heavily since the 2015 acquisition.

That said, they paid $380 million for it when it was called Bebop so it’s not entirely chump change if it retained that value.

What if they paid for some info and the company was a bundle deal

Half a billion dollars is a lot to pay for any one thing like customer data and talent. There has to be a strong business interest at that level.

WhatsApp users were sold $55 each. Data on employed people could be worth more.

Because they want the people who worked on it to work on something else.

A LinkedIn clone that will be closed in less than 2 years after debuting it.

Would be perfect if LI closed shop during those 2 years.

I'm guessing that's the one industry feature that LinkedIn won't be copying.

Is this related to the EU accusing Google of favoring their job search product on relevant Google searches?

Interestingly one of the hire support links in the announcement goes to the invalid address http://perezmiguel/. I'm guessing that is the person who worked on the announcement document.

I preordered Stadia. I think I made a mistake.

SmartRecruiters offers a lightweight version of our enterprise product for around a similar cost. We are also offering a free data migration and Recruiting AI seat for current//former Google Hire customers. Just give us a shout if interested.


Phew ... tragedy averted. I ranted earlier about them [0]. We didn't use google Hire exactly for this reason. And they were more expensive than existing software while providing few features with less polish.

And yes, they had a more aggressive sales force pushing the product, who would cold call, play the discount game, etc.

This could have been a good value add to the G-Suite. Alas.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18160658

Same. I'm from a product/tech background and working with a People (aka HR) team these days. Google Hire looked very appealing since we're on Gsuite but now I'm really happy that my spidey-senses told me not to take the risk.


What a bummer. By far the best candidate management software I've used. I guess it's not too crazy complicated where another company couldn't ape all the features.

I'm the CTO and co-founder of https://hirehive.com, we're an ATS built for small to medium sized companies. Our pricing is based on the number of open roles at a time. We've been around for over 5 years and have great set of features to help your hiring process, including custom application forms and multilingual hiring. Check us out or get in touch.

I think Google, as most do, underestimated the time and effort it takes to build a recruiting suite, even for the SMB market. I've spent 5 years SmartRecruiters as PM and in partnerships. It's taken 80 engineers a good 5+ years to build a clean solution that can scale globally with different local customs, job boards, assessments, and regulations.

I think there should be a law that mandates orgs offering SaaS products (probably, with a min. base of users, say >100) to open-source their code, if they decide to sundown it. It almost appears to be the bare minimum, from a consumer protection perspective, for a responsible company (or, even Google) to do.

I did not know that this was a product, but it kindof makes sense, especially if you can leverage existing G Suite offerings.

I don't know how many companies were using it, which probably explains why it is being sunsetted. And they're giving it a year before turning it off.

Why do they cancel this product? Are they losing profit over this? Were they working on any new features? If no new features are required, would it be such a hassle to just keep the product working without assigning engineers to it? Only support?

This is a good decision, reflecting the wisdom of Silenus, who, legend goes, once mused that the best thing is not to be born, and if already born, to die quickly. Google is intent on gaining the lead in Cloud, and this was a distraction from that.

My first thought was "Wait, didn't they only launch this a year or so ago?".

This product was fairly recent if I'm not wrong, just slightly over 2 years old

IIRC, it was an acquihire situation. The founder sold their company to Google, presumably as a condition of accepting a role as the head of Google Cloud. She's no longer at Google, so it makes some sense that they're not running her service at a loss.

Do you mean Diane Green? What the company's name that was sold to Google?


I thought you were joking, but the name really is Bebop...


"Greene joined Google in 2015 when the search giant bought her startup, Bebop, for $380 million."

$380mm sounds like a pretty great signing bonus.

Edit: I shouldn't have spoke so soon re: the signing bonus joke. Looks like she ended up donating her $150mm share: "Greene intends to donate $148.62 million of those proceeds 'to a donor advised fund.'"

Wikipedia says "Initial release: July 18, 2017"


Google Hire is being replaced by ByteBoard https://byteboard.dev/ which started at Area 120, Google’s incubator.

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