Google Kills Host of Products, Focuses on Money

on September 03 2011 4:16 PM
Google Wallet
An attendee takes a photo of the Google wallet application screen during a news conference unveiling the mobile payment system in New York May 26, 2011 Reuters

Google said on Friday that it was pulling the plug across a host of products as it regroups its efforts to focus on products that bring the company money.

Over the next few months we'll be shutting down a number of products and merging others into existing products as features, senior vice president Alan Eustace said in a move he called a fall spring-clean at the Internet giant.

The closures follow a new direction set by CEO Larry Page to focus the company to devote more resources to high impact products -- the ones that improve the lives of billions of people.

Notable among the out-going products is FastFlip, a product that allowed Google News users to flip through pages of several online news publications from one location.

For the past two years, the Fast Flip experiment has fueled a new approach to faster, richer content display on the Web -- which will live on in our other display and delivery tools, Google said.

Besides Fast Flip,  Sidewiki, Google Desktop, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook and Subscribed Links are getting culled.

Aardvark -- a question and answer service it acquired for $50 million just last year -- will also be folded, but engineers at Google and Aardvark said the technology it pioneered will live on.

Aardvark uses the contacts in a person's network to provide answers to questions via the Web at Vark.com, instant messaging, email or Twitter.

Aardvark began as a small experiment in a new kind of social search, and over a few years blossomed into a service that made millions of connections between people to answer each other's questions, Aardvark co-founders Max Ventilla and Damon Horowitz Ventilla said.

Over this time, we learned a lot about creating and maintaining online communities, and how to facilitate sharing of knowledge between people, they said. We've been excited to share these lessons within Google over the past year, especially as part of the effort behind Google+

Under new CEO Larry Page, the company is shifting gears and putting its focus onto monetizing its existing business more effectively.

Now I think about our products in three separate categories, Page said during the company's Q3 earnings call.

First, there is search and our ads products, the core driver of revenue for the Company. Next, we have products that are employing high consumer success - YouTube, Android and Chrome. Then we have our new products - Google+ and Commerce and Local.

Google has spawned countless products and services with its 28,000 employees, but investors applauded its strategy to put more wood behind less arrows, the company said as it shutdown Google Labs earlier this summer.