Google is carrying out another round of spring cleaning, according to the official Google blog. Effectively, they’re in the process of shutting down and discontinuing a few of their less than successful products over the course of the next year.
It isn’t really a bad thing, although there will always be the people who found it useful that lose out when something is discontinued. On the plus side, Google says it takes what it learned from each of those products, and applies it in better ways and in different things, to build, in their words, “a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience.”
As a result though, the following Google products are slated for discontinuation:
Google Bookmarks Lists
The experimental feature for sharing bookmarks will be discontinued on the 19th Dec 2011. Google bookmarks themselves will continue to function as normal.
Google Friend Connect
A social feature, Google will retire this from all sites except Google blogs in March 2012. Google is encouraging people to start a Google+ page instead, and use the Google+ badge on their site to help them engage socially with visitors.
Gears, a browser extension that allowed you to create offline web applications was already limited earlier this year, with no new browsers being supported. As of December 2011 though, the Gears apps for offline Gmail and Google Calendar will stop working as Google focuses on incorporating offline abilities with HTML5.
Google Search Timeline
The graph of historical results for any given query is being removed. On the other hand, the search tools will now let you specify date ranges more effectively, and the graphs for Google Trends will still be available if you want to look at search trends for a query.
Development stopped on Google Wave over a year ago, but Wave has still been accessible. As of the 31st of Jan 2012 though, Wave will become read-only, (no new Waves), and it’ll disappear completely on April 30th 2012.
Google’s article publishing system, Google Knol, was intended to allow experts to produce, publish and collaborate on articles to help improve the quality of content on the web. However, Google expanded the idea into a collaboration to create Annotum, a WordPress-based publishing platform, which looks like it will be replacing Google Knol. Knol’s can even be converted into Annotum pages it looks like, but for all intents and purposes, Knol itself will be unavailable from May of 2012.