It was not until Google Wave went under water in 2010 that I seriously began to think about failed Google products. Google and failure?! Nay! But failure of Google Wave finally made people think that, yes, Google can also fail. It’s not that Wave was the first Google product to go belly up –there were several failures before as well –but none of those failures created a negative effect on Google’s image. It was Google’s over-confidence associated with Wave –that proved to be a fatal blow to the perception of infallible Google.
Here is a list of Google products that failed to meet the expectations.
This product survived only for one day! It was launched March 15, 2005 and was removed the next day. Google X was essentially the same Google search bar but it was fashioned like the Dock user interface feature of Apple's Mac OS X operating system. The home page of Google also read “Roses are red. Violets are blue. OS X rocks. Homage to you.” Google did not release any official statement as to why it withdrew Google X.
By the way, later Google gave the same name to its secret research facility. The Google X Lab research on incredible futuristic ideas like self-driving cars and space elevator.
Well, it is still surviving but only in a few countries. Some might argue that it is too early to list Orkut under failed products. The fact, however, is that Orkut has lost almost everything to Facebook and with Google’s focus shifting to Google Plus -I believe Orkut is breathing its last.
Have you forgotten there used to be something called Google Video? Come on! Well, apparently, you indeed have forgotten! Google Video was Google’s attempt to compete with YouTube –but the attempts miserably failed. And then Google did what it does very well. It bought YouTube and today we know it as de facto THE YouTube online video sharing platform “from Google”.
“Google knows everything” –most people believe this nowadays. Also, it’s pretty easy to find the required information through Google. But there are people who did not even want to do a bit of googling on their own. So, in 2002, Google launched a service called Answers to help such people. Such folks could post their questions using this service and offer money to anyone who would find answer.
The service, however, failed mostly because more and more people began to look for information on their own. Google Answers was laid to rest in 2006.
Knol was an attempt by Google to seize the opportunity created by criticism of Wikipedia. A few years ago, people began to criticize the credibility of information available in Wikipedia. This was because Wikipedia articles are written by a number of users together –and some of these users are not subject matter experts. To fill this gap, Google came up with the concept of Knol (short form of the word knowledge). It invited experts to write articles in order to provide authentic and credible information.
Google’s endeavor failed because Wikipedia (based on open source MediaWiki platform) already has way too much information, popularity and contributor base.
Announced in May 2009, amidst much fanfare, this wave died as soon as it rose. Google Wave was a web-based computing platform and a communication protocol. For a lay person, it was a Google product that integrated features like chat, email and social networking. Communication in Wave was real-time (i.e. the text would be transmitted as you would type it out).
In April 2010, Google deleted all the text that was posted by users in Wave and handed over the development of this platform to Apache Software Foundation.
Launched on the lines of Yahoo’s Geocities, Page Creator was a website creation and hosting facility from Google. Users did not need knowledge of HTML in order to create websites. However, the websites created using this facility were too simplistic and that perhaps was the reason why it failed. Google shut it down in 2009 and transferred the existing pages to a new product called Google Sites.
For a moment this product made quite a bit of buzz and then suddenly it fell silent! Google launched Buzz in order to compete with the rise of Twitter and Facebook. The idea did not work and Google announced on October 14, 2011, that it would be discontinuing the Buzz service.
Lively was a web-based virtual environment which allowed users to create their virtual avatars. These avatars were able to interact with each other in the virtual space. Users were also able to create and furnish a room for their avatar wherein other avatars could walk-in. Lively was discontinued on December 31, 2008.
Notebook service was launched in 2006 and now has been replaced by Google Docs. It allowed users to save and share notes, links and images etc. It was discontinued n 2009.
Google bought Dogdeball in 2005. Users used to send their location to this services by SMS and in return would get information like nearby friend’s, friends’ friends and other stuff of interest. Google closed this service in 2009 and replaced it with Google Latitude.
Yes, after Dodgeball, even Latitude failed to take off! Latitude allows users to share their current location through mobile phones.
Google bought this Helsinki based micro-blogging service on October 9, 2007. But it failed to shake ground beneath Twitter’s firm feet. On October 14, 2011, Google decided to shut down the Jaiku services by January 15, 2012.
Google gave several interesting options to the users of its search engine. Users were able to reposition search results by moving them up and down and even delete certain unwanted results. Deleted items will then never appear in their search results. This product failed and now only Google+ button is remaining as the surviving option. Soon it may also have to go!
Now here is an infographic that shows the Google Graveyard! These products began their journey with great expectations but not everything succeeds in this world. Failure is a reality and we all need to learn from failures. Google has been learning and that is why it is a formidable force on Internet.
Infographic by WordStream Internet Marketing Software