TechNews

Google’s worst kills of 2019

It’s no big secret that Google has a pesky little habit of, y’know, cold-blooded murder.

You know what I’m talking about, right? Everyone’s favorite Android keeper has had more than a few instances of giving us some promising new product, selling us wholeheartedly on its commitment to said product and its lofty visions for its future — and then, once we’ve all become thoroughly invested in adopting said service and integrating it fully into our lives, changing its tune and abandoning the thing entirely.

Hell, there are entire websites devoted to memorializing killed Google products — the aptly named Google Cemetery and Killed by Google databases.

Now, there are obviously two sides to this story. Google is ultimately a business, after all, and it only makes sense for a business to direct its resources toward the assets that have the most potential to generate revenue and align with long-term strategic goals. (I just lost 2% of my soul for typing the phrase “long-term strategic goals,” by the way. That’s how committed I am to you.)

But at the same time, when your willingness to tout a product one moment and turn your back on it the next becomes a groan-inducing vulnerability — a reason for every one of your launches to be accompanied by a hint of skepticism and an only slightly joking sense of “so when’s Google gonna kill this?” — well, that’s a problem. As I put it a year ago, when your fickleness becomes a punchline, it’s a sign you’ve failed to follow through a little too often.

To be sure, plenty of Google’s killed products go largely unnoticed — or at least largely unmourned. I mean, is anyone losing sleep over the loss of Allo, Google Jump, or Google Bulletin? They were all unceremoniously slaughtered in 2019. (Allo, I’d argue, is the perfect example of a service not catching on in part because of Google’s reputation for failing to commit to new services. As for the other two, did anyone even remember that they’d existed?!)

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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