Google continues to weed out less popular products in order to "put more wood behind fewer arrows."
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As 2012 winds down, Google is shutting down more of its services, this time calling the closures "winter cleaning" rather than the usual "spring cleaning."
Venkat Panchapakesan, VP of engineering, said in a blog post that difficult decisions are necessary for Google to maximize its impact.
Eleven services are being discontinued, although few are likely to be widely missed -- none of these offerings have a particularly high profile.
Five affect Google Calendar. On Jan. 4, 2013, Google plans to:
-- shut down the ability to create new time reservations through Calendar Appointment slots;
-- discontinue Calendar Labs experiments Smart Rescheduler and Add gadget by URL; and
-- terminate two U.S.-only features: Check your calendar via SMS, and Create Event via SMS.
Google also is putting Google Sync out to pasture as of Jan. 30, 2013, because it has been superseded by other open protocols, specifically IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV. However, this applies only to users of Google's free services. Google Sync will remain in place for Google Apps for business, government and education customers.
Google Calendar Sync availability ended Friday, Dec. 14. Google Sync for Nokia S60 gets the boot on Jan. 30, 2013, along with a little-used contact sync service for older devices, known as SyncML.
A mechanism for viewing and updating Project Hosting issues in Google Code, the Issue Tracker API, will be mothballed on June 14, 2013.
Punchd, a loyalty rewards app for Android and iOS, is being shut down on June 7, 2013. Those with Punchd rewards can redeem them until that date.
Google's product purge began when company co-founder Larry Page became CEO in 2011. He subsequently described the goal of the initiative as an effort to "put more wood behind fewer arrows."
The last such shutdown was announced in September. Since the closures began, Google has shut down around 70 services.
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. We've got a management crisis right now, and we've also got an engagement crisis. Could the two be linked? Tune in for the next installment of IT Life Radio, Wednesday May 20th at 3PM ET to find out.