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Google App Maker Shutting Down (support.google.com)
242 points by dataminded 21 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 226 comments

I started this project as my 20% when I joined Google over 10 years ago.

I had somewhat accidentally been a Filemaker consultant for a while before that and saw how far non-programmers could get with a visual schema editor and GUI editor and some light scripting. They often made a mess, so I came into to fix things, but the fact that a small business owner could make a working custom inventory and invoicing tool with absolutely no training beyond the manual was incredible to me.

I'm really saddened by this shut down, for the continued reputation damage that's being done, because it's my baby (and you don't often get to create an entirely new public product at Google), and because I still believe that the world needs more and better tools that allow non- and casual programmers to build software to solve their own problems.

Ex-user myself, and although I can empathise with your disappointment, I frankly have to disagree with your small business owner parable.

It was never easy as advertised. Novices even had trouble following the tutorials and making significant modifications to them. Basic tasks, as those mentioned, were easier accomplished with Google Sheets. And if they needed more they'd get someone professional to do Apps Script. Hence how I know of their pains.

I personally saw many Filemaker users build pretty impressive apps. App Maker was trying to be more powerful and more general, and so we opened up scripting a lot more than what you saw in Filemaker or MS Access, but it never achieved the full original vision or ease-of-use there. Scripting was a giant escape hatch for features that should have been built-into core, and the scripting features themselves didn't evolve enough. Managing scripts and using dependencies were extremely rudimentary.

Congratulations on such a cool project. I was hoping to test AppMaker with our functional users when it was first available on GSuite, but shortly after, the decision to remove support for Google Sheets as a data source proved to be a significant barrier. Our low-tech users enjoyed working with Sheets, but did not understand Cloud SQL. I never understood why that decision was made.

My IT Department even refused to enable Cloud SQL for App Maker to run. It killed off all hopes to use it

Smart move by them, just because someone can build an app doesn't mean they should. The amount of VBA stuff kicking around in enterprises is a nightmare!

Cool! Can you share who you (or the PMs involved) saw as the main competition for App Maker?

Disclosure: I worked at a competitor that targets Enterprises, and we were a bit anxious when App Maker came out. Never saw much results in the market though.

Google bought AppSheet (mentioned in the announcement). Also, Retool (YC alum).

At the time I thought Microsoft LightSwitch would be the biggest competitor. Oops :)

Oops indeed ;) Did you pay any attention to what Outsystems, Mendix, Appian, MS Power Apps etc were doing?

I've been at Google in 2015-2016 and remember that this project was staffed mostly with contractors, so I am surprised they are shutting it down only now.

We're cooking up a different angle to App Maker type software.


Check it out if you're still into this type of stuff:)...happy to answer questions.

There are plenty of takes on this space now.

I commend you for your idea and vision to propose App-Maker. It is a great low-code solution, offering very professional GUI components and integration with G-Suite; made all the more tragic by Google's short-sighted action to close App-Maker down. It is also why tens of thousands of people now wish they had never heard of AppMaker, myself included.

As a FinTech company in the Financial Sector, we were big advocates of App-Maker and the Google cloud-services, recommending it to our clients. Not any more, not now, not ever. The reputational damage to Google will be long-lasting as the people affected, will not forget.

If you have any sway in Google, try to offer us a life-line; not a spreadsheet-based / mobile app provider you acquired last week.

Well I'll tell you what, you had me a little concerned when you launched. We're working on similar challenges over at Smartsheet. Please reach out if you're interested in staying in this space!

How does AppSheet (https://www.appsheet.com) compare?

Google bought it recently and, unless the timing is coincidental, perhaps it was as a replacement?

What's going to replace AppSheet? Skate to where the puck is going.

yes, they mention it in the announcement as a replacement.

Can’t a deal be done for google to give it to you instead of killing it?

I wish that Google would sometime sell a product they deem not worth it to an outside business instead of just killing it with all the work done behind it.

Or open source it...

Could you shed some light on "the specific source code used for App Maker" that prevents from migrating?

Mostly that the server scripts were run on Rhino and accessed APIs written in Java that would be difficult to port to a standard environment. The client scripts ran against a GWT-based runtime, and so had some API oddities they had to deal with too.

are you available for hire to work on a competitor product?

Is there at least an https://ourincrediblejourney.tumblr.com/ style post somewhere? :(

Google, by thinking so short term, has knee-capped any developer and engineering good will for their platforms. Today's version of Microsoft is who Google should be right now, but somehow we wound up in a different timeline. Could you have imagined these roles switched back in 2005?

Imagine if someone comes along and takes away Google's search business? At this point, their results are such a trash fire it can't be that hard. And if that happens, they've got nothing, because they've been lazy and arrogant (or at least appear that way to an outside observer).

I'm long MSFT, but definitely not GOOG. It feels like the unhealthiest FAANG. Their culture is in turmoil, they rely on one product that can be duplicated, and they routinely spurn the rest of the world.

Edit: this might be my most controversial HN comment to date. It's constantly bouncing between 2 and -2.

> And if that happens, they've got nothing, because they've been lazy and arrogant

Without search they would still have GMail, Maps, YouTube, Chrome, Android, and AdSense/Adwords. Surely that counts for something. That's the #1 email service, #1 navigation and mapping system, #1 video hosting website, #1 browser, #1 mobile phone platform, and #1 online advertising system. Then of course Cloud, Drive, Docs, Translate and all sorts of other services.

I don't know how you can consider that nothing and being lazy. These are services used by most of us on a daily basis. It's an impressive and diverse group of products, and it would be very difficult to compete against any single one of them.

> It feels like the unhealthiest FAANG

Really? You think Netflix is in a stronger position? They're a single product that depends on the ever changing licensing from a variety of third-parties.

What happens to Apple revenue without the iPhone and supporting services and products?

Facebook and Instagram feel susceptible to falling out of fashion and not being cool. That's a scary business to bet on long term. It's also far easier to build a Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp clone compared to Google Search.

> What happens to Apple revenue without the iPhone and supporting services and products?

Something less likely and arguably much less bad than what would happen to Google if the floor fell out of the targeted internet advertising game?

Of your 6 "#1s" you listed for Google, only one of them is directly a revenue source and not a loss leader of some form or another with AdSense/Adwords being the tail wagging the entire dog. (Even being generous including GSuite revenue as a part of Gmail, and YouTube Premium/Music/TV/Subscription-O-The-Day revenue as if it were not a minority of YouTube users, it is still majorly advertising driving Google's revenue.)

Facebook is susceptible to exact same instability, of course, but ironically for Facebook is maybe more stable in some eyes by sole factor of being less diversified because most of Facebook isn't high cost loss leaders.

> Really? You think Netflix is in a stronger position? They're a single product that depends on the ever changing licensing from a variety of third-parties.

You mean like CBS, NBC, and ABC, aged 93, 92, and 77 respectively?

Netflix is a single platform but arguably every piece of content is its own product.

> Netflix is a single platform but arguably every piece of content is its own product.

That's the problem. As time goes on, all the really popular shows will have left Netflix (Friends, The Office, Frasier, Always Sunny, etc) and all that will be left are Netflix Originals.

The vast majority of those are not premium shows like The Crown, You and Stranger Things, but straight-to-DVD caliber bilge that will initially entice users because of the netflix branding, but turn them off once they realize it's low quality. You can't keep commissioning new programming forever while keeping the price at $12.99/mo. or whatever.

> The vast majority of those are not premium shows like The Crown, You and Stranger Things, but straight-to-DVD caliber bilge that will initially entice users because of the netflix branding, but turn them off once they realize it's low quality.

How many shows does NBC have each year? How many are still around the next?

Netflix does the same thing as all the other Networks. The difference is, since it's all on demand, they can just keep their low quality stuff around for the few people who actually enjoyed it, making their service appeal to a broader base.

Netflix's goal isn't to have only mega-hits -- it's to have enough different stuff to keep all the subscribers happy.

There is a very small Venn diagram of people who like Stranger Things and that new Goop show, and that's just what Netflix wants.

> How many shows does NBC have each year?

People don't pay $12.99 for NBC each month.

Not sure how that's relevant. Given this is a discussion about company viability, you could say no one pays Google for anything.

But they do, by viewing ads. They pay with their attention. That's how they pay NBC too.

Programming has a fixed one-time cost to produce while subscription revenue scales with number of subscribers and is recurring. This means that as Netflix grows, they can keep producing more expensive content and grow their catalog faster. There is a feedback loop here:

The same money spent on content has higher ROI the bigger the subscriber count is -> the more/better content they produce, they more subscribers they can get -> the more subscribers, the more money they get to play with.

The mix of lower and higher-end content probably makes sense because the low end content is cheap to produce and caters to people with niche interests, or people who watch constantly and just want something new to watch.

This assumes the Disney back-catalog strategy makes sense in the digital age.

Pre-VHS, Disney would re-release movies in theaters. They could re-release Fantasia, or Cinderella, or whatever, and still make money in theaters in the 1970s.

But, there wasn't that much content to watch at that time. You had live TV or movies. That was it.

Today there is more on-demand content out there than I could watch if I lived a million years. Do you think "Bright" will keep subscribers 10 years from now for Netflix?

Just as an example: "Band of Brothers" and "The Wire" are two of the best things I've ever watched. Would I _keep_ an HBO subscription forever after I've watched them? No...

Without search they wouldn’t really have AdWords would they?

Without search, they wouldn’t have revenue.

Google Adwords is most of their revenue and it won't exist without search

GMail, Maps, YouTube, Chrome, Android

These products aren’t by themselves profitable, they just build the datasets used for advertising

There is advertising on Google Maps and YouTube, and if I recall correctly, YouTube has been profitable in recent years, and I imagine Maps will be the same if it's not already.

It's hard to find numbers online, but it seems like Maps generates about 10 billion in annual revenue, and YouTube 10-20 billion. For comparison, Netflix has 20 billion in annual revenue and 1-2 billion in annual profits.

The person I was replying to said Google is the most unhealthy of the FAANG companies with nothing to show aside from search. But... one part of their "nothing" generates as much revenue as one of those FAANG companies.

Google is one of my least favorite businesses, but I feel like everyone is downplaying their accomplishments and diversity.

> GMail, Maps, YouTube, Chrome, Android, and AdSense/Adword

These are primarily ads-based revenue channels. Sure, they have some enterprise Gmail subscriptions, Youtube 'premium', and take a cut of the play store, but those are all primarily platforms to serve you ads.

Products that Google tries to monetize that aren't supported by ads seem to fold.

>Imagine if someone comes along and takes away Google's search business? At this point, their results are such a trash fire it can't be that hard.

This is not going to happen unless antitrust regulators deal with what reinforces Google's search market share: the distribution they buy with TAC (e.g Safari and Firefox) and what they get for free (Chrome) and close to free (Android).

The antitrust remedy should be to separate Chrome and Android from Google and place a ban for some amount of time where they can't buy being the default.

Tech people might have switched to Google because it was legitimately better than the competition, but you're still living in 2000 if you think that's how Google got big. There's a reason why the CEO of Google is someone who was responsible for building the moat around Search (Google Toolbar and Chrome).

The tech company is rotting from the inside, no anti trust needed. Monopolies breed incompetence

with such money stream it will take a long time to rot.

That’s a very short sighted approach which assumes humanity is glued to text based web crawling. The Internet is evolving in tandem with the abundance of rich media creating new opportunities for search queries. Yes, they are still rooted in symbolic transmission, but not in a 20 year old format.

Google, by thinking so short term, has knee-capped any developer and engineering good will for their platforms.

And yet, legions of HN'ers use and recommend Chrome, GMail, Google's Cloud offerings, Google Voice, GoogleFi, etc...

I wonder if the problem is that there are no good alternatives to Big G, or if it's just some kind of mental disconnect.

> legions of HN'ers use

Every single one of those has an alternative. I'm using Firefox at home and Brave on mobile.

I do need to replace Gmail. My primary inbox uses my own domain, so that won't be too hard if and when I decide to switch.

Moreover, if Google lost search, how is it going to survive on those other products? Not one of them is special and doesn't have a competing offering available.

But they're alternatives that don't interoperate without more work. That's the advantage an ecosystem offers.

I want great services, like email, and I’m willing to pay for them.

Try FastMail and see if it suits you. $5/month. There's a free trial, too. I think it's 30 days.

/Not affiliated with FastMail. I'm just someone who switched ~10 accounts from GMail to FastMail a year ago and am happier for it.

And Dropbox had an alternative. Just grab an FTP account, curlftpfs, and SVN/CVS.

> And yet, legions of HN'ers use and recommend Chrome, GMail, Google's Cloud offerings, Google Voice, GoogleFi, etc...

I don't think that's the prevalent view around here anymore tbh.

You have a handful of users that will jump on any anti-Google HN post and bandwagon. Don't take that to mean that's the prevalent view...

> Google, by thinking so short term, has knee-capped any developer and engineering good will for their platforms.

I can't see that hurting their already-established products, but I'm seeing even non-technical users get increasingly gun-shy about adopting new Google products.

> At this point, their results are such a trash fire it can't be that hard.

So far, the other search platforms seem to be even more of a trash fire. (Obviously, this is subjective.)

The thing is, search gets harder every day: The number of bad actors polluting search grows. It's not fair to claim that declining search quality is proof that Google as an organization is declining in competence.

It's just a conglomerate and has been run like one for the last decade. That whole "startup" culture died out a long time ago and has been overlooked because of people's nostalgia and the high pay and benefits.

The company is still very profitable with several major product lines. It's far from dying and there's no 2nd place competition even close in the areas it dominates (search and advertising).

The market is pretty irrational at the moment, throwing trillions of dollars at almost everything with non-negative returns, and as such almost everything Google does as a company right at this moment doesn’t really matter for their share price, they’re too big not to attract buyers for their shares (I suspect mostly index funds).

> Imagine if someone comes along and takes away Google's search business? At this point, their results are such a trash fire it can't be that hard. And if that happens, they've got nothing, because they've been lazy and arrogant (or at least appear that way to an outside observer).

How do you imagine that happening in practice? Say that someone comes with a competitor search that is overall better than Google search is right now. It won't be hugely better because Google search is pretty decent but even if it's significantly better it would have to so good that almost everyone cares enough to change their default search AND it would require that Google doesn't react to the new competition. With >100 billions of dollars in the treasure chest it seems extremely unlikely that Google wouldn't have the time and resources to react and improve their search engine in the face of true competition and they wouldn't even need to make it better than the competition, just make it good enough that's not worth for most people to switch.

Also, creating a competing search engine isn't just a matter of secret juice and algorithms, it's mostly a matter of tons of network bandwidth, CPU, memory and storage. While I'm sure there are plenty of people outside of Google that can come up with brilliant new searching algorithms to actually make that into a successful product that matches the scale of Google's web products you'd need a lot of money and time.

Google is like any other company. I think the HN angst is because folks attributed some sort of magical powers to them.

Microsoft of all companies is even more bumbling and mercurial. They are where they are with respect to cloud today mostly due to dumb luck and in spite of their corporate strategy.

There are dozens of Microsoft product shutdowns that have had similar or bigger impacts on customers.

There are dozens of Microsoft product shutdowns that have had similar or bigger impacts on customers.

Name 3 products that Microsoft has "shut down" with little to no warning.

Microsoft has done a great job of sunsetting products. They give months, usually at least a year of warning that a product is being discontinued or deprecated, and continue supporting that product for another several years even after it is no longer available for sale. (Zune Music, for example, no longer works, but Microsoft didn't turn off the servers for Zune until 2015, 3 years after they stopped selling the devices, and refunded purchases made on the service. Zune devices still continue to work and it's still possible to get battery replacements for them.)

Microsoft has also done a better job of explaining why products were being sunset, if they knew of alternatives in the market, and even helping people to migrate to alternatives (including in some places directly pushing people to what previously were direct competitors such as advertising Spotify inside Groove as they hollowed out that product from the inside).

It's hard to feel Microsoft is being "mercurial" when they keep saying things like "We gave this a shot of X years and it didn't have the marketshare we hoped for."

In comparison, Google has generally seemed less forthright with reasons, plans, long term strategies for their products. It's very easy to imagine given how many Google products supposedly originate out of "20% time" how often projects just get shut down for the reason of "no one still wanted to work on this in their 20% time", not some market fit reason, some long term strategy, much less with any vision of alternatives for existing customers or migration strategies.


- Access for Office 365

- Windows 10 SCCM/MDM co-management

- Health Vault

I will say that Microsoft has historically had a more clearly defined release and support cadence for their products, and they clearly articulate options for end of life in most situations. That said, products like Windows 10 and red-haired stepchild products change often enough that they effectively lack a meaningful support strategy.

- Access for Office 365 was always just part of the Office 365 plans for businesses. And it still is. It's also available as a standalone product; in fact the difference between the two is just how you license the product.

- Windows 10 SCCM/MDM is still available. This is what my company's IT department uses. They were very surprised to learn that MS had supposedly killed a feature they use every day, including today, without warning. You might be thinking of specific features that were removed?

- MS Health Vault. Yeah, that one was definitely Googled. Notably, MS did keep Health Vault open longer after the shutdown announcement than Google did with Google Health after announcing GH's shutdown.

Access for Office 365 had a web service component where databases would run as little web apps in SharePoint. The feature was killed a few years ago.

Windows 10 SCCM/MDM still exists, but SCCM is in read only mode if you use an MDM solution in co-management.


Windows Phone

Games for Windows Live (Which was a horrible piece of crapware that was pushed onto an unwanting public to begin with.)

sounds like they did humanity a service by shutting those things down

The number of times I see "do no evil" be quoted in HN posts about Google doing something contravening that borders on the absurd. It is a ridiculously simplistic phrase that Google execs themselves haven't referenced in nearly 15 years, a lifetime in tech company terms.

Google's only real operating principle is "do no harm"...to the revenue-generating Google products. Everything else can and will be discarded at a moment's notice.

And in this specific instance, Microsoft is starting to roll out and market their Power Apps platform, as well as Power Automate. I'm not sure I know where Google is going, but I think they've decided they don't want to get into enterprise.

I really disagree with your take. Google has been careless, not lazy. They'll start up projects on a whim and cancel them on a whim but they haven't been complacent.

I agree with most of this, but why do you think it can be duplicated so easily? Is the reason they are so dominant now because they've built a moat around themselves? IMO if it can be duplicated it will, there's so much money at stake.

I think it's fair to say that any of Google's individual technologies can be replicated in fairly short order, but the problem is that the combined effect of Google's collective suite of tools is powerful.

Yes, I can build a Gmail clone in a few months. No, I can't get Android Assistant to automatically read invitations from it, add them to my calendar, generate maps to the event on the fly, and tell me when I need to leave to avoid being late to get there.

So yeah, it's a moat, and it's a pretty damned big one.

Google also has a lot of assets that are just too labor-intensive to replicate with any efficiency. Apple found that out when they tried to compete in Maps.

And for all that Google indexes and initiates from their end, every SEO worker on earth also makes sure their client's sites are properly formatted and submitted. That kind of buy-in is reserved for companies that can demonstrate you'll get a return on your investment.

> I think it's fair to say that any of Google's individual technologies can be replicated in fairly short order, but the problem is that the combined effect of Google's collective suite of tools is powerful.

What? That makes no sense to me. There have been thousands of some of the smartest/highly skilled people (payed some of the highest salaries) in the industry building systems for decades, that's Google infrastructure today. How do you expect to replicate that quickly without similar investment in time and money?

The hard to surmount "moat" is inherent to the tech and its demands. Just take the amount of dark fiber they have or the highly customized datacenter hardware and software stack and the sheer amount of them. Sure, you can replace all that with a smaller set of VMs using someone's "cloud services" but your margins, power use efficiency and scale will be much worse.

That reminds me of a discussion with a Linux filesystem engineer: building a POSIX filesystem is easy, building a thread-safe highly scalable fast and efficient POSIX filesystem is hard. You can have a single operating systems student build a simple POSIX filesystem in one day but it takes year-hours of multiple highly experienced system engineers to get a production level filesystem.

I didn't mean to trivialize the effort, or diminish the amount of work. I just mean that most of the hard work has been done by being thought of already.

Leveraging spam detection algorithms across all accounts is a brilliant idea, and a paradigm shift from what people were doing. A genius thought of it. Relatively speaking, it doesn't take a genius to replicate.

Also worth remembering that AJAX/XHR technologies were very new when Gmail was being built. Fleshing out the interactivity on the site was a herculean feat relative to the amount of effort it would take to rebuild the thing today in React, Vue, or Angular.

The groundwork they laid in building Gmail is now available to the commonfolk, so yes, replicating the effort today would take considerably less time than pioneering the effort then, and I don't think that's pejorative in any way.

It's hard to compete with free and the bull horn that is Google Search.

Shameless plug: Feel free to add your bear forecast on https://www.empiricast.com/time-series/41

Microsoft has their own share of stories abandoning the developers. Remember Silverlight?

The final release of Silverlight was 7 years after they announced deprecating it. MS supports products they've killed better than Google supports many products they haven't.

> MS supports products they've killed better than Google supports many products they haven't.

Well put. I'm no MS fan but this rings very true.

I do have to give MS credit for mostly supporting deprecated products. I do think they should have open-sourced VB-classic and FoxPro. They pissed off a lot of organizations by outright ending any future progress. There were some proprietary or "sensitive" parts in the code base, but they could have documented and replaced those modules with low-performance or filler stubs, and let the open-source community rework those parts. (Note those products still run in Windows 10, the last I heard.)

Google will have a hard sell for "enterprise" tools if they keep pulling the plugs. Rewriting custom built applications into non-deprecated platforms is expensive.

Microsoft didn't see a disconnect between "VB Classic" and "VB.NET" like so many users did. They continued the version numbers straight across (the first VB.NET was version 7; it's currently at 16). They didn't feel they outright "ended" future progress, they felt they evolved the platform organically and at least to some extent were confused when users didn't follow along. Microsoft followed the confusion by providing increasingly more migration tools and assists (many of which you can still find online, even if some of the worst mistakes of their WinForms 1.0 era code is uncorrected).

(I don't know if a similar reasoning exists behind encouraged migrations from FoxPro to Access, but I'd imagine that given how very long Access supported FoxPro imports and databases, there's probably a similar sentiment inside those parts of Microsoft.)

Those kind of compatibility break/evolutionary steps are always hard, and Microsoft could always have handled them better, but seeing as how even open source continues to have the exact same problems (say the Python 2/3 debate or the Perl 5/6 stuff) it's hard to say that anyone in software has a good handle on this stuff. Microsoft at least seems to try every time to offer migration paths and assistance/help.

Re: Microsoft didn't see a disconnect between "VB Classic" and "VB.NET" like so many users did.

It wasn't backward compatible in the least bit. You pretty much had to start over. The auto-converters were poor, mostly because GUI land doesn't map well to Web Land.

In the Python 2-to-3 change, most just had to re-test and do minor tweaks to existing code (at least so I hear). Few had to start the code-base over. If I had to score the difference on a 1-to-10 scale, the Python change was like a 2.5 and the VB change was like a 7.5.

I think the comparisons are much more apt than that. It's a set of interlocking 80/20 challenges. In both languages ~80% of the language stayed the same, the huge fights were over that remaining 20%. Similarly in both cases users themselves maybe only used 80% of the overall language capabilities but among users it was frequently a different 80%, and one person's unused 20% was another person's critical "must have" deep in their 80%. That in particular is the 80/20 rule that affects what a developer might consider "minor tweaks".

Beyond that there are the exact same basic economic disincentives to migrate: large code bases have larger sunk costs, more friction, and less interest in migrating. It's the really large code bases that have the most reason to be disruptive in any migration.

In the VB6 to VB7 change, some could have just "re-test and do minor tweaks to existing code", even without the GUI converter helping you with all the Designer-generated metacode, had you been using VB best practices. There wasn't anything anywhere near as significant as say a massive change to default representation and syntax of strings (such as Python 3 switching to Unicode by default; VB6 at least came from Microsoft's UCS-2 era, which is also partly how so many of its programs have managed to survive in Enterprise this long). The problems were much more long delayed deprecations and a bit more forced handholding in project organization (classes existed in VB from the beginning, but so much VB was still global variables and disorganized global modules).

As someone involved in multiple migrations out of VB6 at this point in my career, second only to big Enterprise Sunk Costs reasons, I very much feel that project organization was the biggest reason codebases had to "start over". A large VB6 project built using almost nothing but global variables and global modules is a fun spaghetti ball to untangle back into some semblance of OOP. It wasn't anything syntactic or technical (otherwise presumably better migration tools could have been built if it were something mechanical like that).

Even the closest to a technical problem was essentially a universal one that applied somewhat similarly to Python 3 as it did to VB7: C/C++ FFI changed a great deal from ActiveX papering over COM's worst faults and VB pretending DLL calls were easy (and shuffling its DLL Hell under the carpet) to .NET's complicated COM relationship and P/Invoke system that more accurately reflect the FFI reality in Windows (versus VB bubblegum and lollipops). Even then, P/Invokes sure look a lot like VB<=6 FFI calls because they were clearly based on it. (There are also ways in .NET to pretend COM is friendlier than it is, themselves early VB inspired.) FFI can be assumed to be a challenge in just about any language upgrade/update/migration in the history of languages, and that's not entirely a backwards compatibility problem you can fix nor prevent in the language design. (Look at the native interfaces of any and every other language out there.)

(Sure, I've seen the laundry lists of complaints of things that weren't backwards compatible, but compared to the 80/20, it's absolutely fair to compare VB 6/7 and Python 2/3, and to admit there is no magic "right" solution in either case to avoid the migration hurdles both experienced.)

> The auto-converters were poor, mostly because GUI land doesn't map well to Web Land.

While there was a lesser used "webforms" converter, the major converter was direct GUI to GUI from VB6 to .NET 1.0 WinForms, very apples-to-apples, and it did a rather good job given what it had to work with (both the byzantine messes that were the average VB<=6 codebase and the young and not quite polished, but certainly capable in theory of everything previous VB did, .NET 1.0 WinForms). While with hindsight we mostly all agree "webforms" was a bad idea, it wasn't the emphasis in migration stories, and it certainly was never the only option (and where it was seen as the only option likely the local myopia of management that were the ones wanting the instant jump to Web Land "for cheap" in a migration to secure funds for said migration in the lands of sunk costs).

Re: had you been using VB best practices.

Everybody had a different opinion about what those were. Things that look obvious in hindsight weren't.

Re: While with hindsight we mostly all agree "webforms" was a bad idea

Do you mean in general or early versions? It seems a git-er-done platform for smallish apps without the fuss and muss of MVC. Our Webforms group is more productive than our MVC group. If MVC pays off in the distant future, nobody can really tell yet. Our MVC stack is poorly tuned, but that's the problem with MVC: it requires decent oversight. MVC typically can have more JavaScript eye-candy to dazzle, but I'm not sure it's worth it from a raw productivity standpoint. The org is paying a toy tax.

I'd like to think "don't use global variables", "try not to use global modules, prefer classes", and "goto considered harmful" are relatively universal best practices that were espoused as far back as VB1, as I recall, very little hindsight needed for the best practices I was particularly thinking of.

I mean every version of Webforms. Webforms is entirely dead in 2020. There's no support in .NET 5. It's not surprising that your Webforms group seems more productive, and MVC more "poorly tuned", as both are common misperceptions, and performance and web standards/best practices continue to show MVC better aligned with today's standards and performance than Webforms ever could be. (It's also related to why it isn't surprising some of the Webforms fans are busy building Rube Goldberg machines in Blazor today to replace their lost love.)

I didn't use very many global variables in my VB-classic. I'm not sure what you mean. And, what's a "global module"?

Re: "Webforms is entirely dead in 2020. There's no support in .NET 5."

Deprecated, yes, dead no. MS announced no plans to stop basic maintenance. Even ASP Classic still runs on IIS (upon configuration adjustments). I'm not necessarily saying using deprecated products is "good", only that Web Forms programmers seem to get more done in average for typical custom CRUD apps. It looks like productivity is being shot in the head to keep Future Compliant.

Re: "and web standards/best practices continue to show MVC better aligned with today's standards and performance than Webforms ever could be."

What is "better aligned with..." exactly? I'm not claiming Web Forms is "web scale". I'm just saying use a Chevy instead of Maserati if you don't actually need a Maserati because Maserati's are expensive and high maintenance. Too many want to stick every buzzword in their stack to keep their resume HR-bot-match-compatible. It's fraud in my opinion.

I would note the needs of CRUD are different than the needs of "web" in the CMS-ish sense. MS stacks of late seem to try to cater to both, and it makes for unnecessary complexity. I think they should split and have a CRUD-friendly stack different from a CMS-ish stack.

I also don't see the disconnect between Visual Basic 6 and VB.NET.

Most of the stuff like Me ended up being integrated, and based on my experience at a couple of Orgs where regular office users naturally migrated from VBA into VB.NET, it was quite natural for them to do so.

Maybe those that hacked around on VB like it was QBasic (note not QuickBasic), or still stuck with VBX programming model instead of OCX, had issues migrating.

Perhaps oddly, I think the biggest difference is simply how much people didn't like early Visual Studio and the .NET WinForms designer. I look at VB6 and the .NET 1.0 WinForms designer and see the exact same tools just in slightly different positions, but there was a ton of cheese moved in those "slightly different positions".

I also buy at least some of the runtime environment arguments. Microsoft did a better job of slipstreaming the VB6 Runtime install into Windows itself (and did a fascinating job of mostly protecting VB1-6 users from the DLL Hell management of said Runtimes, plural) and also early application installer that enough VB6 users had some interesting illusion that they were creating "real" EXE files without a runtime. As opposed to the early days of .NET where few Windows systems could just be assumed to have it installed and slipstreaming it into most InstallShield-style installers was never fun.

Re: the Perl 5/6 stuff

This has resulted in Perl 6 being renamed to Raku (https://raku.org using the #rakulang tag on social media). So now there's Perl, and there's Raku. Each going their own way, but with Raku offering a migration path with its Inline::Perl5 module, allowing you to run (almost) any Perl code in Raku.

Right, exactly why I mentioned it, because it is a good example of a different path in open source, and one that still hasn't necessarily proven itself to be "better", but certainly different.

That's because Microsoft tends to ship binaries, as opposed to services. Binaries tend to keep on working (Especially when they aren't exposing attack surfaces to the web), even if the team that has shipped the last version was fired.

But they continue shipping updated binaries. If anything it's easier to just leave a web service running until it eventually breaks than to keep people working on the code and shipping updated binaries.

A better (worse?) story is Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8, and Windows 10 Mobile all being completely different, incompatible platforms that deprecated the prior one, before they decided to give up and use Android.

Not comparable.

Microsoft stopped selling phones with those systems long before they stopped supporting them. They didn't just "turn off the servers" on those devices like Google has done with Nest. My old WM 6.5 phone still worked the last time I played with it.

Plus, there was a direct migration path at each phase. Someone doing .NET CF apps on WM 6.5 shouldn't have had that many problems converting their WinForms-ish mobile UI to WP7's Silverlight-flavored XAML, and the XAML differences between WP7, WP8, and WP10 seem all relatively minor compared to the overall compatibility base of the underlying .NET CF to "Silverlight" .NET "CF2" to proto-UWP .NET to UWP .NET. So many of the problems in those transitions were UX "best practices" changes and not anything technical.

I know a lot of developers had problems at each step of that migration curve and that it wasn't as smooth in reality as it should have been (and was on paper), but calling each transition a reboot or a restart (or "completely different, incompatible") doesn't make sense when so many of the moving parts were the same and backward compatible with each other.

That's true, a better Microsoft analogue would be the Kin.

I don't see how the Kin is comparable. It was killed after just 2 months by both Microsoft and Verizon (it's exclusive sales partner) due to poor sales.

Microsoft and/or Verizon also offered full refunds to the dozen people who purchased the device after MS announced it would be shutting down the Kin servers.

The Kin was also the result of an acquihire situation and contractual obligations to release the product from the acquired firm.

And yet UWP still lives on, and is being improved to be independent of the actual Window 10 version, and to have Win32 and UWP on the same process.

Ballmer was an ineffective leader, and he's gone now.

Yes, eventually one will be able to migrate those apps into Blazor, thanks WebAssembly.

>Imagine if someone comes along and takes away Google's search business?

I think DDG's going to give them a run for their money. In terms of relevance they seem to offer the superior product - at least in my own experience.

Yeah, I think open source nlp technology will eventually get good enough that replicating google search becomes easier. I’d give it five years before someone is nipping at their heals

Once again so many people are piling in with the "Google cancels everything" trope. But the official blog post states it was due to "low usage" [1] after 18 months of general availability.

Obviously, as well-intentioned or well-designed as it may have been... the product was a dud with users. I mean, did anyone here ever use it? Or know someone non-technical who did?

So obviously they got the product wrong, somehow. This isn't a beloved product like Reader... it looks like it was a dud. And they're trying again with the other suggested alternatives, since "no-code" still has promise.

I fail to see how this is any different from a startup that doesn't gain traction and shuts down. What do HN'ers think Google should do when a product is a dud without enough users and no clear path to success can be found -- if not cancel it? At least they're still supporting it for another full year (so users can find other solutions), which is almost as long as it existed for in the first place.

[1] https://gsuiteupdates.googleblog.com/2020/01/app-maker-updat...

I somewhat agree with your point but what does "low usage" mean if you're Google? In comparison to their other services 100k people[0] are not many. For a startup/small business they certainly are.

[0] made up, could be much lower, of course.

For any company anywhere, it's going to be relative to the costs of running it.

There's no such thing as absolute low/high usage for Google.

There's simply different thresholds for enough usage for a product that takes 1 engineer to maintain, 10 engineers, 100 engineers, or 1,000 engineers.

Google isn't going to have hugely different metrics here from a startup. Either a product justifies its profitability or it doesn't. Aside from minor details, doesn't substantially matter if it's a 50-person team inside a MegaCorp, or a 50-person startup.

You're missing opportunity cost in your calculations. That is significantly different for Google vs a startup vs a small business. It isn't enough to make "some profit" in a mega corporation. The profit compared to the resources invested has to be of a similar magnitude to their primary business, or else they're wasting resources. Things are axed all the time for not being profitable enough.

But the same is absolutely true for VC. They're not looking for 2x returns, they're looking for 10x returns.

And VC-funded startups are the right comparison to make here. Are they any less ruthless about pulling the plug on something that can't show any probable path to required growth?

(I think it goes without saying that neither Google nor VC's are trying to fund lifestyle businesses, the way a mom-and-pop bootstrapped startup might be.)

Maybe nobody used it because they couldn't trust it to be around for a long time?

Indie developer here, working in education. AppMaker was extensively used by some folks where the low maintenance offered was very attractive. I know of many people who were starting to make major investments in the platform.

I was engaged with Google about spreading the value of the service. I told them I was worried about the graveyard.

Education moves much slower than other industries. 18 months is nothing. One year to sunsetting is tomorrow.

I believe Google owes me an apology. I can live with the usual technical debt reasons, low usage reasons for needing to shut something down. But they have to do it in way that doesn't put a massive amount of work into the lap of those users who DID use it.

I'm literally so busy at this now that I barely have time to even respond to the general internet. Instead I've been writing to the mailing list.

It had one of the worst landing pages in the industry. You couldn't tell how it worked or what it did or how it might be useful.

Google goes full-tilt on some products (Stadia/Chrome/GSuite) and leaves others to die.

What kinds of startup -- in any industry -- gets traction after only 18 months and $0 marketing budget?

It was a dud becuase Google did not advertise it, did not invest ANY resources in training people on how to use it, and did not add any significant updates to the product in its entire existence.

It doesn't help that it wasn't available for the tier 1 $6/mo GSuite orgs; companies paying for business/enterprise likely already had better software that did what app maker did.


But which is the cart and which is the horse? Was it shut down because people didn't use it, or was usage low due to people avoiding it because they knew it would be shut down, leaving them stranded?

18 months is nothing and indeed consistent with their short-sightedness. For instance, Saastr affirms it takes 2 years to find market fit. Real products (ie non digital) take years to organically compound in the market. The repeated product shutdowns demonstrates misaligned incentives in the org, of more or less glorified project management padding for promotion versus long-term (5+ year) product development roadmaps. This is why I am not a GOOG investor.

Oof. This really hurts. So often when folks complain about Google shutdowns, I defend G with “but that was a consumer product! GCP doesn’t kill off things. It’s different.” But here we have Google Cloud (in my defense, not GCP) killing off a powerful, proprietary Enterprise product with no viable migration path. At least folks get a year to migrate off, but that’s a lot of sunk cost.

I seriously considered App Maker to build some internal code flows but could not develop the trust needed to deploy into production. With SaaS apps that require serious onboarding and deployment it's become almost impossible to trust Google in particular on this issue.

I'm hoping SMBs will start to seriously consider business continuity as a key feature of SaaS. If I wanted to differentiate as a SaaS product today, I'd consider offering putting at minimum source code into escrow upon sale/bankruptcy.

Genuinely curious, in your experience, have you found a particular set of SaaS apps to have required a more involved Onboarding/Deployment or is it generally a few usual suspects?

Google recently acquired Appsheet (nocode app development platform) [1]. Considering the recent boom in nocode apps, it's highly likely that Google is trying to stay ahead of the game by acqui-hiring specialists for this.

[1] https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/14/google-acquires-appsheet-t...

And why bother using it when it’s going to get shutdown anyway. Question isn’t if but when.

> nocode apps

Do you mean fancier Wordpress?

The world absolutely needs a fancier Wordpress.

Preferably one where bad installs don't turn your website into a host for Martian hackers mining cryptocurrencies, sending viagra marketing e-mails, or SEO spam.

WordPress requires a lot of code to set up if you're doing anything beyond running a blog. And as you can tell on most websites, they do a lot more than

if (have_posts()) :

   while (have_posts()) :




Your dismissive tone makes it sound like a bad thing. Considering how wildly successful Wordpress has been and how many small businesses it has enabled, I'd say "fancier Wordpress" is a market with a lot of potential.

Not dissing Wordpress. Just the redescovering of software you install and can configure easily / install plugins to get what you want without coding yourself.

Lot of people hate on Wordpress but will go for other Nocode solution which has better PR because they're new and so have lot of free money from SV funds. Or just so they can make themselves feel "better than a Wordpress agency" when what they're selling is the exact same thing.

> We're a nocode agency

Ok, so you're selling website and apps using code made by other people. Like any Wordpress based agency.


Do you mean saving document as a webpage in Word 97?

Not sure I ever heard of that being used seriously. FrontPage and Dreamweaver on the other hand...

I had to suffer through it. At the academic place I worked at back in the early 2000s, the teachers used to love writing their intranet pages in Word and emitting them in HTML. Luckily we found some software that could clean up the monstrosity it emitted, and get pages down to a reasonable size (it was not unusual to shrink pages down from several megabytes of HTML and embedded CSS, down to 10s of kilobytes.)

The bit that matters:

> Due to the specific source code used for App Maker, you can’t directly migrate your apps to another platform. We recommend that you explore these options

There must be some kind of demand curve model whose independent variable is the ability to move to another service. A highly specialised PAAS might solve all your problems but be so unique that it's too risky to spend too much money on.

Had I started App Maker with the web platform and Node of today, I would have definitely designed things to use standard web APIs, Node on the server, and common tools for things like IO and data. Apps would have mostly a set of JS modules talking to generic enough backends to be portable. Ideally there would just be an eject button that would give you either a npm-ready project, or a Docker container. Then you could run it anywhere.

The problem is that App Maker was built in GWT (basically what made sense in 2009), and because we didn't have a JS server runtime, ran JS script in Rhino on Java servers. Rhino was great at the time, but didn't evolve, and offered super-powers (like custom Java host objects that can observe mutations, even on arrays) that made JS written to our environment difficult to port. Also, all of the server and data interactions were via APIs that are strange by today's standards because of the layering on Java.

Yeah, that sounds right; Docker’s probably right at the optimum point there.

Though I think such a demand curve would imply that highly-specialized environments can still be useful for cases where you don’t need to spend much money on them, because you only put tiny bits of functionality in there. Lambda, Cloudflare Workers, SQL stored procedures, etc.

Another one for the Google Graveyard: https://killedbygoogle.com/

This is most likely due to their acquisition of AppSheet which will likely become the "replacement"


Until it's also shuttered in 18 months, sheesh.

Well, that would be 18 months after the VP that championed the acquisition has been promoted and moved on.

I feel this falls short as an explanation of Google's ongoing service carnage. Where are all these people going?

> Due to the specific source code used for App Maker, you can’t directly migrate your apps to another platform. We recommend that you explore these options

I couldn't help but recall the song, "There she goes again" [1], when I saw this. Google propose partial alternatives, but I wonder how long until those are also shuttered. Is it even worth migrating to another Google product? if you have to do the work yourself, migrate to a different (or open source) vendor.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68MKLkNSMN4

No, any reasonable user would start completely removing themselves from Google (really any corporate SaaS environment that they don't completely own the source code of). This seems like killing the goose that laid the golden egg, I'm sure on a balance sheet these products are loosing money, but that basically tells any client who wants to build a service that you aren't trustworthy in the long term.

That's what is funny about all these cloud services, especially Amazon. You no longer get to think about the common sense way of doing things, but instead you have to use the AWS way. You're better off investing your time into building your own agnostic solution.

Why especially Amazon, I haven't seen them shutter any major service?

I've seen lots of companies throw away their V1 and start over (hopefully with the knowledge learned), so my opinion is that it's okay to vendor lock-in and leverage stuff like AWS Load Balancers, ECS, etc. You're going to end up having to rewrite it when you finally scope out your real challenges, so it doesn't matter if V1 was agnostic or vendor-based.

> You're better off investing your time into building your own agnostic solution.

This sounds suspiciously like 'not invented here.'

I really hate the way AWS forces you to choose between portability and cost-efficiency.

But then it’s not really cost efficient, eh? Just a mirage until the pain comes. Until then, “let them consume highly abstracted services”.

There’s a reason some savvy firms continue to own their own infra. No one is forcing you to use AWS.

I'd love to see a service-guarantee of a core Google Product like Youtube, GMail, maybe even something further down the trough like Google music, buying into Cloud DataStore, Cloud Functions, etc. before I trust it fully.

As far as memes go I'm more reminded of the fade-to-black-wake-up-in-skyrim-for-a-200hr-session where instead of a 200 hour game session its a 200 hours of needless migration work.

The trouble with other vendors is the constant threat of the aquihire.

Really this is a problem with SaaS in general (although Google takes it to a pathological extreme)

You're one VC away from a pivot that is a closure under any other name.

The wonderful original of that song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZXLLMbJdZ4

Did you actually use this product? What are you migrating to?

Fittingly by rock band “Sixpence None The Richer”.

This is old news but one thing I think Google misses. No one product they cancel is used by tons of people, but the amount of people fucked over by the cancellation of any one product is enough to be an ongoing reputation hit for them.

Hi to all, sorry if someone have already proposed the same thing, but I confess I didn't read all your message. although google has announced the end of app maker due to low usage, and therefore the community will not be so large, I propose to petition (I don't know which is the most appropriate channel) to ask Google, at least to leave active existing projects for at least one more year. Do you think Google can realistically listen to the user community? I want to highlight that we are all customers since App maker must be used with Cloud SQL which is a paid service.

Just hope they don't kill flutter please.

I would really advise against investing in flutter.

It's "kitchen-sink" approach is resource-intensive to maintain. E.g., there's a language to maintain and a full suite of controls (doubly hard since integration with OS UX conventions is a constantly moving target) in addition to everything else you need for a full cross-platform app development platform.

Yet, where's the revenue stream to pay for it?

I think it's a matter of time before Goggle pulls resources off it.

It's open I believe, so it won't just stop, but it will quickly sink into disrepair without significant resources maintaining it.

Flutter is seriously the easiest app development framework though (and still indistinguishable from native apps, even on old hardware, unlike React). I managed to train a bunch of high school students with minimal prior programming experience (AP Computer Science Principles, which doesn't really require you to learn how to program) to make a basically production ready frontend. Flutter support is also amazing, and is easily up to par with iOS and Android except when it comes to certain platform native features (like Apple Watch supports, iOS Widgets, etc.)

They really have something here, and I think they know it. Hopefully they don't pull resources anytime soon.

It's Google. It has to be not just profitable, but take-over-the-world profitable to survive. It doesn't matter if it's laying golden eggs if it's not laying enough golden eggs. Goose for dinner!

Flutter is likely already paying for its own development through its use internally at Google to shorten development. The Stadia app was built using Flutter, for instance, and I would expect it to pick up steam internally at Google as time goes on.

It's also the primary UI for their next generation OS, Fuschia, though that could be canned down the road as well.

Yeah, the google material people like Flutter, last years flutter conf Keynote was given by VP of Design Matias Duarte https://youtu.be/NfNdXgJZfFo

Flutter is trying to be Dart's Rails, I wouldn't put much hope into it.

Plus there are the ongoing political wars with Chrome team (alongside Microsoft) pushing for PWAs, and Android reacting to continuous stream of Flutter questions by producing Jetpack Composer. It wouldn't surprise me, if there happens to exist a Jetpack Composer variant targeted at Kotlin/Native.

they can not..its part of their depreciate java on android strategy on android ..fuchsia OS has flutter by default

Is “Fuchsia OS” every going to be anything?

I always assumed it existed as a “just in case”: if some component of Android looked like it was infringing on patents, they had a head start on a replacement which was implemented in house and ABI compatible with their app ecosystem.

Not to mention greenfield OS development can be catnip to engineers - it probably serves as a good retention tool.

Yet they have adopted Kotlin, and are seating alongside JetBrains on the Kotlin foundation.

I only ever kicked the tires a bit on it, but my impression was that App Maker was really complicated as a "no code" platform, but not as powerful or portable as a "code" platform.

I actually really liked App Maker. I started a project on it in my Gsuite domain and was able to get a functioning prototype up in an afternoon starting from 0.

Then I ran into the biggest limitation that became a total nonstarter - it's impossible to share an app outside of your Gsuite domain.

It's a shame, I think this product was a little tender love and care away from really being something great.

Ditto. For someone who just wants to get a little DB app out, needs some amount of scripting and doesn't want to deal with counting pixels and spend eons on FE internals, CSS etc, appMaker is/was great.

I wish Google were to make the codebase open source, so that users can continue to run their deployments on self-hosted deployments, but of course that's a pipedream.

Oh well, at least there is 1 year of migration time left.

It's been about 18 months, seems right.

Not that I'd ever really heard of this product before, but it seems like it's been more like 3 years? Here's an article[1] from June 2018 that mentions it had been out for a year and a half at that point.

1: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/14/app-maker-googles-low-code...

I think it went GA about 18 months ago, but I was being facetious more than anything. I just dont use Google products beyond maps, android and search when DDG doesnt do it for me these days. Can't trust that 1) it will still be around in a year or 2) they change the core product so much its unusable 3) can depend on any level of customer support for it

I built two app maker apps that actually saw real-world use. Extremely disappointed to see Google get bored and kill off another product they under-invested in.

Per: "We recommend that you explore (...) options":

What are everyones' best (open) options: (looking for suggestions / shilling / sharing)

Would be nice if they make it open source.

This might be good in the grand scheme of things, as google matures they might feel the need to focus heavily on a few products rather than just try many.

Also initially i dont think anyone built their company on google infrastructure, so these products had a different mindset when made.

We've built a tool that can fill the gap for anyone looking at alternatives called Webase.

You can check out Webase here: https://www.webase.com/

I mean, OK, but maybe you could explain some of the ways your alternative solution compares to App Maker?

Let this be a warning, never get locked into a platform specific solution.

...run by Google, anyway.

The world has run on platform specific solutions for generations. Usually it works.

This is an odd move, as Microsoft is doubling down on this, as part of their "no-code" push on top of Office Apps + Azure.

They recently acquired AppSheet, a no-code platform.

Not sure if this is good or bad news to MS PowerApps (less competition? Or bad business idea?). What does the HN crowd think?

The leader in the space is Quickbase. They seem to be doing well, and worth at least a billion. https://pitchbook.com/newsletter/vista-to-acquire-quick-base...

Not according to the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Low-Code Application Platforms ;) Or how would you describe the space that App Maker is in?

Disclosure: worked for one of the leaders in that MQ.

They show Outsystems in their upper right hand quadrant. They claim 1200 customers. Quickbase claims 6000. I excluded Microsoft and Salesforce because it's hard to single out just the low-code piece.

So DataStudio, how long do we give that?

Whenever Google launches a new product, seems like you have ~18 months to build the long-term support option its users will need to migrate to once Google shutters their service. :D

At this point the shutdown announcements are probably sent by a cron job

Which makes me think - are YouTube, Drive and Gmail the holy trinity of long-term google projects that will stand the test of time?

I think you can safely add Search, Maps and Android to your list.

Not sure on Android. They already work on some replacements. They probably will have some mobile OS for the long-term future, but not sure if that will be Android. But there probably will be some compat layer, at least for the beginning, when/if they plan to roll out some successor/replacement.

Maps as a user yes. As a website owner it fucked over millions of pages with its exorbitant price hike.

Maps! Yes, how can I forget this gem? Search is how we usually define Google so I thought it best to leave it automatically assumed.

On a personal note, Keep is something I would love to have around for the foreseeable future since I use it a lot.

And AdWords, obviously

I think Voice is still going? My number still works anyway which surprises me. Gtalk moved to Hangouts which presumably is getting another transition but seems to still be going. And then Docs/sheets/etc.

The thing that shocks me about Google Voice and the fact that it's still around is that it is routinely abused for nefarious purposes. IIRC there was a series of bomb threats made in the US to which the perpetrator was simply using Google Voice and a VPN to mask their location.

I believe Google Voice got a shot in the arm because of the Google phone plans (Google Fi) merging some infrastructure behind the scenes.

At this point, it's probably safe to assume that Fi and GV will die together ...

I wanna know how FeedBurner (2004) hasn't been killed yet? I used it for quite awhile and kept waiting for the email saying it's being shut down. https://feedburner.google.com

Most of their products are not shut down.

Did anyone here actually use this?

Yup, for an enterprise-internal CRM. Worked really well; flexible, and did NOT require me to do much or really any amount of FE tweaking (all the UI is composed with a GUI).

Very sad to see it go.

And FWIW, not planning to go with any other no-code solution; and definitely not with anything hosted by Google unless the provide a no-code migration tool ;)

I'm kinda looking forward to the day I'll see "Google is shutting down Gmail" top post on HN.

How about "Google shuts down"?

I think Gmail will exist for a very long time... but HN will quite certainly exist for longer.

So true, yet you got downvotes. Someone is salty.

Why on earth would they shut that down? For shopping-related queries for example, search only tells Google what users' are looking for. Email tells them what they actually bought.

I'm utterly terrified of that day. It'll be for email what the Reader shutdown was for RSS.

i'm not waiting for it, i switched to fastmail early last year after +10 years of gmail. it went pretty smooth.

(offtopic-ish, just need to let it out)

Google is frightening. Buy startup, shut it down late enough for people not to realize that was the goal from the beginning. In the meanwhile crack down on apps like Termux:API for being able to send SMS from android with scripts.

I'm on the verge of believing that Google is out to kill tinkering and the tinkering (aka hacker) mindset. I just don't see why it's any good for them.

I'm pretty sure they are just dumb, not malicious.

"Let's buy this company! It could grow into a billion dollar business!"

18-36 months later: "It's not growing fast enough. Kill it."

Do that a few times, I might believe it. To it this many times? Embrace, extend, extinguish...

This. We've seen this behaviour repeated way too many times. This is more than them just being "dumb".

Don't underestimate corporate stupidity.

Nor Greed.

What's that old saying, never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity?

Goes right up there with: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me."

I have been 'burned' by Google once. I have learned from history, and the foibles of others related to Google. I won't be fooled again.

Looks like we had the same idea.

Upvote this post, it makes the point with far more elegance.

Sufficiently advanced stupidity is indistinguishable from malice.

Very true, but the other old saying is,

"Fool me once, shame on your stupidity.

"Fool me twice, maybe I'm the one being stupid by believing you are acting in good faith, and attributing to stupidity, that which was actually caused by malice."

Looks like we had the same idea. Upvote this guy, he got here first.

Can't wait til they shut down Flutter. Flutter is weak.

Next on list: Google firebase/Firestore/cloudstore/datastore or whatever name it has nowadays.

Er, “firebase”, “firestore”, and “cloud datastore”, are all names of different, existing (somewhat overlapping) Google offerings.

Tangentially, I've been extremely frustrated with that.

From the firebase page, you can only create a 'firebase function' using node.js.

If you instead go to the google cloud page, you can create a 'cloud function' using other languages such as python, which will then show up under firebase as a 'firebase function' as well.

What the hell? It is extremely confusing what can and can't be done in google cloud. There is no consistency between services. Half the documentation consists of circular references that explain very little.

I work with IBM cloud professionally and am shocked how confusing GCP is in comparison. I opted for GCP for my pet project because their wavenet text-to-speech is slightly better than Watson's. I am starting to regret that decision seeing how needlessly confusing GCP is.

Fool me once ...

I've got enough fun with Google in the early days. The only googly things I use now are something like look at the map from the browser etc. My email (app and address), document editors, code base etc do not touch/use anything even remotely aware of Google.

The amount of negativity for Google has gone through the roof on HN recently. Of course, there are issues with Google, but the general sentiment on HN towards Google is disproportionately negative.

How else can it be measured except by the sentiment of the people here expressing it? You can argue there's a silent majority, and I think a lot of us may not disagree, but the sentiment of the people expressing themselves should at a minimum be judged to be sincere lacking and further evidence otherwise.

The uncertainty of Google's service future and also the loss of control of my own data's future drove me to purchase email services from a commercial email provider rather than continue to rely on Google's Gmail for my personal email. So, I can say I also share this sentiment, and I am actively seeking alternatives to all the other, more "stable" services such as Search, Maps, YouTube, and so on and trying to rely less-and-less on them.

I mean, seeing google making announcements on regular every few months about shutting down another product that people actually use would kinda lead to this sort of sentiment. I wouldn’t say it is unexpected at all.

Is it disproportionate. I use Google. I like some things they do. But for anything where I'm not a paying customer I find my trust eroding and I find myself considering options that aren't as gargantuan. With that scale accountability starts going out the window and I don't feel like Google has managed that well. Not sure if that is mostly inept PR compared to some competitors or actually being worse.

Microsoft has been building up some of the previously terrible level of trust they've had around here. They've gotten up to the level of polarized mix, like Apple in my estimate. I don't see s lot of people who would get in the line of fire for Google. I think that's about trust and affection. They so things that are useful but they've been hard to like for a while in my eyes.

As with most things in life the total emotion is a sum of multiple unrelated experiences. The primary driver is the product shutdowns, but its also a mix of Google's original reputation as "the best" or "the smartest", combined with above average salaries and compensation.

It's like if that annoying know-it-all at works makes a mistake, the mistake seems extra bad.

Google is one of the largest corporations in the world and one that nearly every internet-connected human has some kind of relationship with.

What would you consider to be proportionate?

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