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Google Shutters More Projects During "Fall Spring-Cleaning"

Calling it a “fall spring-cleaning,” Google said yesterday on their blog that the search giant would be shutting down several Google Labs projects and merging others with existing products. This comes not long after the announcement that Google Sets list-guessing application would be shutting down.

For the most part, Google is characterizing most of the shut downs as products who have become obsolete. Google Desktop, for instance, just doesn’t seem to fit as the almighty cloud becomes a larger and larger part of computing. Google Notebooks, another example of a product being shut down, ceased development years ago but can be seen as precursor to Evernote. Google says that these shut downs will help streamline their list of products — which is rather vast and fractured — and help give more resources to more important projects. In all, Google lists 10 projects that will be terminated.

While its good to see Google not letting these projects simply languish, it’s hard not to wonder if perhaps the entrepreneurial spirit that allowed the creation of so many projects (and albeit some dead-ends) will no longer be a major focus at Google. We can only speculate on that point, so in the meantime read on below for a full list of the cut programs and see if any of your favorites were spared.

From the Google Blog:

  • Aardvark: Aardvark was a start-up we acquired in 2010. An experiment in a new kind of social search, it helped people answer each other’s questions. While Aardvark will be closing, we’ll continue to work on tools that enable people to connect and discover richer knowledge about the world.
  • Desktop: In the last few years, there’s been a huge shift from local to cloud-based storage and computing, as well as the integration of search and gadget functionality into most modern operating systems. People now have instant access to their data, whether online or offline. As this was the goal of Google Desktop, the product will be discontinued on September 14, including all the associated APIs, services, plugins, gadgets and support.
  • Fast Flip: Fast Flip was started to help pioneer news content browsing and reading experiences for the web and mobile devices. For the past two years, in collaboration with publishers, the Fast Flip experiment has fueled a new approach to faster, richer content display on the web. This approach will live on in our other display and delivery tools.
  • Google Maps API for Flash: The Google Maps API for Flash was launched to provide ActionScript developers a way to integrate Google Maps into their applications. Although we’re deprecating the API, we’ll keep supporting existing Google Maps API Premier customers using the Google Maps API for Flash and we’ll focus our attention on the JavaScript Maps API v3 going forward.
  • Google Pack: Due to the rapidly decreasing demand for downloadable software in favor of web apps, we will discontinue Google Pack today. People will still be able to access Google’s and our partners’ software quickly and easily through direct links on the Google Pack website.
  • Google Web Security: Google Web Security came to Google as part of the Postini acquisition in 2007, and since then we’ve integrated much of the web security functionality directly into existing Google products, such as safe browsing in Chrome. Although our previous sales channel will be discontinued, we’ll continue to support our existing customers.
  • Image Labeler: We began Google Image Labeler as a fun game to help people explore and label the images on the web. Although it will be discontinued, a wide variety of online games from Google are still available.
  • Notebook: Google Notebook enabled people to combine clipped URLs from the web and free-form notes into documents they could share and publish. We’ll be shutting down Google Notebook in the coming months, but we’ll automatically export all notebook data to Google Docs.
  • Sidewiki: Over the past few years, we’ve seen extraordinary innovation in terms of making the web collaborative. So we’ve decided to discontinue Sidewiki and focus instead on our broader social initiatives. Sidewiki authors will be given more details about this closure in the weeks ahead, and they’ll have a number of months to download their content.
  • Subscribed Links: Subscribed Links enabled developers to create specialized search results that were added to the normal Google search results on relevant queries for subscribed users. Although we’ll be discontinuing Subscribed Links, developers will be able to access and download their data until September 15, at which point subscribed links will no longer appear in people’s search results.

(Google BlogSearch Engine Land via Techmeme)

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