Google Ends Apps for Teams, Google Video For Business
Google announced that Google Apps for Teams, Google Listen, and Google Video for Business are the next products destined for the cyber-dustbin.
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Silicon Valley's consistently warm weather gives the impression of a perpetual spring--which is appropriate, since Google's ongoing "spring cleaning" campaign shows no signs of stopping. The Mountain View-based search giant last week said on its official company blog that Google Apps for Teams, Google Listen, and Google Video for Business are the next spate of products destined for the cyber-dustbin.
Released in 2008, Google Apps for Teams allowed users with verified school or business email accounts to collaborate using Google Docs, Google Calendar, and other non-email services. Max Ibel, Google's director of engineering and author of the blog post that announced the latest shuttering, conceded that Apps for Teams never found its footing; the service was "not as useful for people as we originally anticipated," he wrote. Existing accounts will be converted to personal accounts beginning Sept. 4.
Google Listen, intended to help users find and listen to podcasts, originated as a Google Labs project in August 2009. Listen received a light update earlier this year, but with podcasts now under the purview of Google Play, the product's moribund status had been written on the wall. Those who have installed the app can continue to use it, but the podcast search will cease functioning after Nov. 1.
Unlike the original--and now defunct--Google Video, which stopped accepting uploads in May 2009, Google Video for Business was built on top of the YouTube infrastructure. It distinguished itself from other video hosting services by specializing in internal communications for schools and businesses. Beginning this fall, all Google Video for Business content will be migrated to Google Drive. Files will be stored for free, with no impact on users' individual Google Drive storage quotas.
Google is also deactivating a number of redundant or seldom-updated blogs, an effort to winnow its current total of more than 150 down to a manageable and reliable collection.
The exclusion of additional products from Google's future plans comes as little surprise; the recently-excommunicated trio joins around 50 other products that have been retired since Google co-founder Larry Page assumed CEO duties in April of last year. Page's desire to streamline the company's products was made clear during his first earnings call as the company's leader, when he linked "more wood behind fewer arrows" to simpler, more beautiful, and more intuitive user experiences. Senior VP Alan Eustace echoed this sentiment in a Sept. 2, 2011 blog posting that detailed the retiring of several Google services. Ibel continued this leitmotif in the most recent announcement, stressing "a more seamless, beautiful user experience" cultivated by a "focus on the high-impact products that millions of people use, multiple times a day."
The complete list of discontinued, donated, or merged Google products includes once-widespread applications such iGoogle's personalized homepage, enterprise-oriented solutions such as Google Mini, and a number of products that simply did not grow beyond niche status, such as Google Wave.