Rant: Google, Stop Killing Things - Part 3: What Will Be Next To Go?

Since it is apparent Google's “spring cleaning” was not a one-time thing, I am starting to wonder what other Google products may be on the chopping block soon. Here are some thoughts.


The death of Google Reader AND iGoogle basically removes Google from the RSS game on the feed reading side, but FeedBurner is still around serving feeds. Will Google choose to close down FeedBurner and abandon RSS completely, or do enough sites use FeedBurner to make it worth keeping around?

Google Tasks

Google Tasks is a fantastic product. It is conveniently built into Gmail and Google Calendar, and it has a lot of very nice mobile apps (even if none are from Google). On the other hand, there has been zero activity on the product in quite a while—often a sign that Google is preparing to kill it. In addition, the recently leaked Google Keep includes checklist functionality, which may replace Google Tasks. Overall, though, I get the impression that Google Tasks is a product a lot of people use on a day-to-day basis, but not enough for it to influence Google.

Google Groups

I actually thought Google Groups was close to death a couple times in the past. The recent redesigns have breathed some new life into it, but it still does not seem to be most people's go-to mailing list or forum solution outside of Google. On top of that, Google seems to be pushing Google+Communities as its preferred way for users to communicate within a group.

Google Web Fonts

This is mostly on the grounds that Google Web Fonts still has its pre-Google+ UI, whereas nearly every surviving product that is not near death has seen a redesign. It could be that Google recognizes that Web Fonts has a perfectly usable UI...or it could be that Google does not intend to continue working on its Web Fonts site.

Google Talk (as we know it)

Let me be clear: I am not predicting the death of Google Talk. What I AM saying is I could see Google moving to a new instant messaging service that is not based on standards like XMPP. Rumors of a new messaging service codenamed “Babble” have begun to surface, and it is likely we will see the future of Google chat services at I/O in May.

In addition, Google Talk voice and video chat are likely to be shut down as they get replaced by Google+Hangouts. When they work, I actually prefer Google Talk video chats over Hangouts—particularly on mobile where the app requires less resources—but Hangouts are definitely more reliable, and they are clearly where Google is focusing its engineering efforts.

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