January 15, 2009
The ax fell on Wednesday at Google, not just for some of the company's employees but for six of its services, too.
In addition to Google's announcements about the elimination of 100 recruiting positions and the shutdown of offices in Austin, Texas; Trondheim, Norway; and Lulea, Sweden, the company said it would close Dodgeball, Google Catalog Search, Google Mashup Editor, Google Notebook, and Jaiku. It also said it's discontinuing the ability to upload videos to Google Video. Vic Gundotra, VP of engineering at Google, said in a blog post that Dodgeball, a mobile social networking service that lets users share their locations with friends, would be closing in the next few months and that further details would be forthcoming. Jaiku, however, will live on as an open source project. Gundotra said that Google engineers have been porting the microblogging service to Google App Engine and that when the migration is completed, the company plans to make the code available under the Apache license. "With the open source Jaiku Engine project, organizations, groups, and individuals will be able to roll-their-own microblogging services and deploy them on Google App Engine," he said. "The new Jaiku Engine will include support for OAuth, and we're excited about developers using this proven code as a starting point in creating a freely available and federated, open source microblogging platform." He also said that Google would be shutting Google Mashup editor, a tool for making Web service mashups that has been in closed beta testing. Much, if not all, of the functionality of Google Mashup Editor is available through Google App Engine, and Gundotra is encouraging users to transition their applications to Google App Engine. In a separate blog post, Punit Soni, a Google product manager, said that Google Catalog Search is scheduled to close Thursday. The service, launched in 2001, provided the ability to search the full text of thousands of product catalogs for the few who used it. The technology developed for Google Catalog Search went on to provide the foundation of Google Book Search. The cessation of the ability to upload videos to Google Video in a few months is unlikely to affect many video makers, apart from those seeking to upload videos longer than 10 minutes. YouTube limits videos to 10 minutes, with some exceptions, in part as a way to keep storage costs down and to prevent the unauthorized uploading of complete half-hour TV shows and longer-format, professionally produced content.
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