Google is taking this whole streamlining thing quite seriously.
The latest ‘victim’ is their SMS Search product which allowed users to conduct a search by text message.
Many users of the service are reporting that the service has apparently been shut down by Google this night. When they send a search term to Google’s SMS Search number, 466453, they get the following response:
SMS search has been shutdown. You can continue to search the web at google.com on any device
TechCrunch also reported
People began to notice the service stop working on Friday, and asked about it in one of Google’s Product Forums (good thing those haven’t been closed down yet) and on Reddit. Jessica S., a Google employee, set the record straight:
Closing products always involves tough choices, but we do think very hard about each decision and its implications for our users. Streamlining our services enables us to focus on creating beautiful technology that will improve people’s lives.
While I completely understand from a business perspective why Google would do this (bottom line is that it doesn’t contribute to the bottom line) using this ‘beautiful technology’ corporate line is starting to sound ridiculous. Tell it like it is Google. It was a service that made no money and was never going to. In the world of the new Google that is very un-beautiful.
The losers in this will be those who knew about the service and would never have a phone with a data plan. How many of those people there were is anyone’s guess.
So what SMS services still exist?
For now, Google’s other SMS products that let you check your calendar, update your Blogger blog, check your Gmail, and send and receive SMS text messages through Google Voice, appear to still be working; but users will inevitably start wondering if these will be next on the chopping block.
You can bet that more than a few of these services have shortened times to live.
Google is getting leaner and more focused. That is good for the company. What has truly changed are the days of the free products that are not going to contribute to the company’s finances. As a business, that makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, people have grown so accustomed to most of Google services being free that there will be an adjustment period as they either become a ‘pay to play’ like Google Apps or simply go away like SMS Search and Google Reader.
It’s a new age for Google and the one thing everyone will be searching for is their wallets so they can be a part of it.