Posted November 16, 2009 9:44 am by with 7 comments

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I know that Google likes to cover its butt by placing new tools in Google Labs, then keeping the beta tag for years, but its new Social Search feature has gone AWOL.

OK, technically, Google has shut it down until sometime later today or tomorrow:

The Google Social Search experiment is temporarily down. We are working on it and expect to restore access sometime Monday or Tuesday

Down? Did they say down?

When has Google ever yanked a service after launching it? I know some services have failed–and therefore permanently shutdown–but temporarily yanked?

We have no word on why the service is down, but let’s have some fun speculating:

  1. It was launched too soon, without proper care and attention to the details.
  2. It’s insanely popular and Google’s servers are taking a hammering, so the service is being reconfigured.
  3. It has been hacked, or there’s some kind of massive security hole that’s revealing far too much of your friends’ data.

My money is on #3? What do you think?

  • Google doesn’t have any information on me do they?
    .-= Frank Reed´s last blog ..PR Means “Premature Readiness” for NEC =-.

    • What they have on you is so scary, they had to shut down the entire service! 😛

  • I think Google has had a fairly easy path so far. They’ve been able to compete on technology alone, and were a fairly disruptive change to the search space. Think Altavista, Yahoo, etc. all burdened by the legacy of investing in previous search metaphors.

    This lack of human factor is reinforced in other areas. For instance, user interface is dictated by numbers, rather than trying for innovative design.

    That they bring down services like this shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s in a lab setting, even if half their products are in perpetual beta. What is concerning is they haven’t learned better PR skills at communicating this information. PR is less efficient than a system error, but you need it to retain loyalty.

    The best experience brands are focusing on the experience, driving effectiveness, and not just the efficiency side of the equation. With newly energized competitors like Bing (with it’s own impressive technology) coming out with great features and trying to capture mindshare, I’d think Google better start learning some social skills.

  • #4 the “bing people” that pulled the skirt off Matt’s table during the “smackdown”
    .-= Pat Strader´s last blog ..Three Things You Should Be Doing (But Probably Aren’t) =-.

  • I was surprised to see the cancellation message on the weekend, and had to go to labs to figure out which experiment was cancelled (would be nice to see more info in the message).

    But that aside, it could be that people have figured out how to use the service to compile more information than Google is comfortable with.

    There’s also the possibility that it’s not Google’s servers that were getting hammered (Google is a master of scalability), but a slowdown in one of the connections. I doubt Google would want Social Search to slow down SERP retrieval rates.
    .-= Helen Overland´s last blog ..Link Mining for Backlink Gems =-.

  • I have never known Google to take a service down so quickly either but there are only a million things that can go wrong so we will probably never know the reason.
    .-= Google Terminator´s last blog ..Google Terminator Review Update =-.