Google Continues to Trim Service Offerings




Larry Page is determined to make Google more streamlined. It looks like maybe Yahoo’s new CEO, Scott Thompson, has caught the same bug. Hey, it’s good to keep moving and not keep services around that are not performing or simply don’t have an audience. Unfortunately, there is the human side to this type of “spring cleaning”. Yahoo announced that thousands would be laid off as a result of their efforts but that’s not part of Google’s efforts thankfully.

So what exactly is Google up to? The official Google blog says

Over the last six months we’ve done a lot of spring cleaning—though it’s all happened out of season. Spring has now arrived and we’re ready to close or combine another round of products. Focus is crucial if we are to improve our execution. We have so many opportunities in front of us that without hard choices we risk doing too much and not having the impact we strive for.

The services that were put on the chopping block include

  • One Pass which was Google’s content payment system for publishers. Is that a referendum on paid content or just an ill-advised and under used product?
  • Related search – I am glad to see that I wasn’t the only being slack when I simply ignored the Google Related bar that would show up at the bottom of a site
  • Google Flu Vaccine Finder – Who knew?
  • Google Sync for BlackBerry is going the way of, well, the BlackBerry itself
  • The mobile web app for Google Talk gets shut up
  • The Patent Search home page will get redirected to google.com. Apparently it’s not unique enough to stand on its own
  • The entire Picasa ecosystem is getting revamped as well

All in all, you can’t blame Google for what it is trying to do. What started out as the ideas from the now famous 20% time policy at the company resulted in a disjointed and rather haphazard bunch of pieces and parts. Google resembled the house on your block that looks great from the front (that’s the search part) but when you get inside it’s like an episode of Hoarders. There is stuff all over the place that no one but the owner would want and then the backyard looks like a refuge for misfit pieces and parts.

Google is doing the right thing by making the company more concentrated and streamlined. After all, Google is just trying to be beautiful.

Making changes to products or services is hard, but we do need to maintain our focus if we are to do important things that matter in the world. As we continue our clean-up, we look forward to creating a simpler, more beautiful user experience across Google.

Cue the pretty mood music as we all consider a beautiful Google. I gotta stop here. I’m getting misty.