Evolution continues as Google announces they are cleaning house by shutting down products or merging others into existing products as features. The recent blog post posted by Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President says: "This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience. It will also mean we can devote more resources to high impact products—the ones that improve the lives of billions of people." You can expect to see the changes in the next few months.
Most of the products on the chopping block are rather small or have outlived their usefulness in a changing tech landscape. Of course, those who have only recently found the products may lose faith in the idea of "trying something new" as discontinued software made their investment a "waste of time".
Along the way, if you were to visit Google Labs, you will find:
Here is the list of products:
Aardvark: http://www.vark.com Ask questions, get *live* answers from your network! Aardvark finds the perfect person to answer any question in real-time.
Desktop: http://desktop.google.com The sidebar in Google Desktop includes a news widget that learns from the articles you read and a feed reader widget that learns from the websites you visit.
Fast Flip: This website is already closed for business. Fast Flip was started to help pioneer news content browsing and reading experiences for the web and mobile devices. As with most technology, a better way has been created.
Google Pack: With declining interest in downloadable software, the time has come to discontinue Google Pack.
Google Web Security: Google Web Security for Enterprise, protects organizations of all sizes against web malware attacks and enables the safe, productive use of the web, http://www.google.com/a/help/intl/en/security/websecurity.html
Notebook: If you're trying to jot down quick notes or create a document to share with others, check out Google Docs. You can also try Google Bookmarks - it lets you remember web pages that you liked and access them easily.
Sidewiki: This tool let you contribute helpful information to any web page. Publish helpful information about any web page right in your browser; read insights in context from Sidewiki.
Subscribed Links: Scheduled to shut down on 9-15-2011, Subscribed Links had let you create custom search results that users can add to their Google search pages. This tool let you display links to your services for your customers, provide news and status information updated in near-real-time, answer questions, calculate useful quantities, and more.
Does it matter? Have you found a replacement yet? Still looking for alternatives?
Consider the other products from Google which are also potential shutdowns:
App Inventor for Android
City Tours (shutting down September 6, 2011)
Google Mars (Yes, you can look at Mars now on Google)
The five essentials to business success includes optimizing the latest technology but to rely on tools which may be non-existent in 12 to 24 months can be a rollercoaster ride for the entrepreneur who grabs every software tool without thought.
Hopefully you do not grab new software simply because it is "new". Focusing first on the process of how you engage your customers, clients or guests will determine the question "How can we improve" which then leads to "What software can provide this?"
New software can be addictive just the same as video games. Focusing too much on the software tools vs. the people or the business will only make you an expert of the software tools and leave you in perpetual learning mode.