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Google Kills More Services, Open Sources Sky Map 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the endings-and-beginnings dept.
alphadogg writes "Google is continuing to weed out its services and on Friday announced it will shut down Picnik, Google Message Continuity and Needlebase and make changes to some other services. Google acquired Seattle-based Picnik in 2010, saying it would integrate the photo editing service with its own Picasa. 'We're retiring the service on April 19, 2012, so the Picnik team can continue creating photo-editing magic across Google products,' Dave Girouard, vice president of product management for Google, wrote in a blog post Friday." A positive change to come out of this is that Google is open-sourcing Sky Map, and will be collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University to continue development.
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Google Kills More Services, Open Sources Sky Map

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  • by FreeCoder (2558096) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:43PM (#38775000)
    This is why it's ridiculous to rely on cloud services. That is what ultimately all of Google's services are. On top of that most of them are closed source too, so you're just out of luck when Google decides to kill them off. And judging by the amount of services they're quickly killed it probably isn't going to change. This is why desktop software is still much more reliable than online services, and I'm not going to change something like Microsoft Office to Google Docs.
    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:52PM (#38775074)

      Cloud services aren't the problem. Free cloud services where you are hoping that someone else picks up the tab for paying for development, maintenance and infrastructure are the problem. Granted, desktop apps are a better long-term investment than cloud services if you're wondering about the viability of the company that you are investing in. But if there's an actual business model in place (i.e., one that involves payment and not just "eyeballs"), cloud services offer quite a few advantages over desktop apps. It's up to you to decide whether you'll trade not having to maintain the software and being able to access it from anywhere with the knowledge that the software will stick around for as long as you have the installation file (DRM throwing another wrinkle in here as well).

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:56PM (#38775130)

        Something doesn't have to be free to be unprofitable (although bailouts somewhat mitigate that if you're large enough, heh).

        Also, advertising is the business model for much of the web. Try taking away all the sites you use which rely on advertising to survive.

        • by Cryacin (657549) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @07:04PM (#38777117)
          Actually, the most important thing of all with any software, desktop or cloud, is the consideration of legacy. What formats can you export your data to? What cost will it be to take it out? etc. etc. etc.

          And I would be very interested to see Word Perfect 1.0 run on any modern hardware without some very very serious hack rages going on.
          • And I would be very interested to see Word Perfect 1.0 run on any modern hardware without some very very serious hack rages going on.

            I don't think there WAS a 1.0 in WordPerfect's versioning. The initial release was on Data General minicomputers and had no version number, but would most likely still run comfortably on one of the SIMH multi-system emulators.

          • Funny thing is you would THINK that VMs solved that problem but they haven't. For example I built and maintain a "NOS" early Pentium 4 for a customer who has one piece of "must have" software, Macromedia Xres. That thing is a fricking nightmare pal, good luck getting it to run on ANY modern hardware, even in a VM. I tried dual boots, VMs, shims, you name it, that bitch will NOT run on anything newer than a 2.2Ghz with 1gb of RAM and an IDE HDD. Now some of the other royal PITA software like QuickBooks (Man i'd like to meet the guy that wrote that thing and kick him in the nuts. WTH was he thinking tying the software to a SPECIFIC version of Flash? WTF?) can be run in XP Mode or other VM with some tweaking but I found out the hard way there IS software out there that HAS to be run bare metal.

            As for TFA frankly anyone that uses ANY Google service that isn't already extremely popular deserves what they get sadly. Google has shown their entire business model is "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" and anything that doesn't grab a huge share is shitcanned, see TFA and Google Wave and a dozen others like Buzz for examples. If anyone is stupid enough to buy a Google TV, I don't care if its Intel, ARM, or MIPS, they are pissing their money away as i bet that'll be gone soon enough too. Google has shown their whole plan revolves around capitalizing on eyeballs and search while spending as little as possible and while Sony, Apple and MSFT have all cut checks Google has made it clear they ain't paying shit to the content owners so any Google TV will simply be banhammered from their services.

            But I hope this has taught many a valuable lesson, don't bother relying on a Google service until it hits 30 million plus users bare minimum, probably 60 to 70 million just to be safe. They have made it clear with these service killings that 8-12 million is just too small potatoes for them to care about and they only want hits, misses will be culled.

          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @12:54PM (#38782059) Journal

            I'm not sure about WordPerfect, but VisiCalc for DOS, which I ran on my 8086 PC and was originally released in 1979, still works in DOSBox. In fact, I can still open spreadsheets that I created in the '90s on my Psion Series 3 by running a Psion Series 3A emulator in DOSBox.

            Perhaps more interestingly, I have a lot of files lying around from the '90s that I've just copied from one machine to another without really paying attention to what they were. When I went from a 60MB hard disk to a 1GB one, there was no point seeing what was worth copying - I could fit all of my files, important and unimportant, in a tiny fraction of my new disk. This happened when again I went to a 20GB, then 40GB, 80GB, and 256GB disk. Now I also have a 4TB NAS, so I even keep snapshotted copies of things. I may have to dig a bit to find applications that can open these files, but they're preserved. If they were one some cloud service that I'd abandoned, then after six months (or some years) of inactivity, my account would have been disabled and the data deleted.

      • by GerryGilmore (663905) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:23PM (#38775320)
        Let me expand that to say that anytime you are building something that ultimately relies on a 3rd party for integral, non-easily-replicatable components, you're asking for trouble. As an example, I worked at Dialogic where they acquired a product called Visual Voice, used by many companies to develop their core voice-processing apps. One day, senior PHBs decide they donl;t want to be in the app-development business and kill Visual Voice. Bam! Dead! Oh - you developed apps based on VV and now your company is tanking because you can't get bug fixes, new features or support for newer hardware? TFB, mofo! Welcome to dependency-land.
        • by afabbro (33948) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:51PM (#38775797) Homepage

          Let me expand that to say that anytime you are building something that ultimately relies on a 3rd party for integral, non-easily-replicatable components, you're asking for trouble

          I think you're stretching that a bit. The vast majority of the world's IT does exactly this. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Hitachi, EMC, Cisco, etc. all provide "integral, non-easily-reproducable" components.

          The difference is that if you buy physical hardware and own the software (often with a source code escrow agreement), you can control the pace of getting off something, whereas in the cloud, you cannot.

          • by zidium (2550286) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @06:19PM (#38776817) Homepage

            That's why I choose PHP on the LAPP stack (postgres vs mysql). I have the entire source code for my stuff and they're all permissively licensed (much more lenient than GPL) so the odds of them ever being abandoned are very remote.

          • I think the difference is long term support contracts as all those corps you named make damned good money and would take a serious hit to their businesses if they abandoned or failed to live up to their long term support contracts. lets take the one whose software I've had the most experience with, Microsoft.

            While everyone makes fun of their "glacial" OS development frankly its damned easy to plan around a MSFT Business OS because you know to the day how long you are gonna have support for which is a standard 10 years for business OS. Since there will be at least 2 if not 3 releases in your support window that gives you plenty of time to test and get your core software switched over and simply go from one to the other. I've finally got the last of my business customers switched over to 7 and now that all the software is certified working and they are all happy all I have to do is bring Win 7 machines online as they need them because Win 7 is supported until 2020. this let them skip Vista completely and they'll probably skip 8 and 9 as well and be ready to start certifying their 'must have' software for Windows 10 around 2018.

            So I'd say the key is to base your plans around software that has LTS and think long term rather than risk betting too much on software that may not be here tomorrow. A good example below is Red hat. if your software runs on RHEL they have plenty of LTS options and you know they aren't going anywhere so planning your business around RHEL wouldn't be a problem, but as we saw not too long ago planning your business around CentOS would be bad as they could disappear tomorrow. it all comes down to LTS and how much you can trust the company to provide it, all the companies you named along with Red hat and a few others have the LTS options one can plan a business around without any real fear of getting burned.

        • Let me expand that to say that anytime you are building something that ultimately relies on a 3rd party for integral, non-easily-replicatable components, you're asking for trouble.

          Yet many businesses work exactly that way. They're trading off an increase in risk (e.g., from a jerkwad supplier) for an immediate reduction in costs from not having to have so much expertise in-house. That can turn make a small business profitable enough to support an owner and a few staff, at least for a while, and is the very bedrock of the free market.

        • by XrayJunkie (2437814) on Monday January 23, 2012 @10:44AM (#38791259)
          You can not make everything by yourself. In most cases, it is easier to buy/use 3rd party code/software e.g. for reusability and maintainability. They are experts that know their software. "Incoming" bugfixes and security updates are two additional pros. Of course are there drawbacks (money, bad api, dependency, ...).
          But you always have to check every angle and make some tradeoffs. Basically, thats what libraries are for!
          Example: We developed many Eclipse plug-ins and used 3rd party plug-ins/metamodels from other universities. If there is an update creating an incompability or the other project is not continued anymore, we have to reimplement it ourselfs or switch to the next alternative.
      • by vadim_t (324782) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @05:58PM (#38776687) Homepage

        I don't think that whether you pay or not matters that much.

        Cloud services are always paid for, whether by advertising, collection of data, or actual payment by the user. They all have a business model of some sort. It's not the sort of thing you can run from a box in your closet because you feel like it, and eat the cost because it's not a big deal to you.

        So even if you pay, the exact same thing happen. So you pay $10 per month or whatever. Big deal, you're still insignificant in comparison to what's needed to pay for the entire infrastructure, and you have no significant influence on the company that runs it. If it starts being unprofitable, it will get shut down, even if you still want to pay those $10.

      • by hey! (33014) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @05:09PM (#38784419) Homepage Journal

        Cloud services aren't the problem. Free cloud services where you are hoping that someone else picks up the tab for paying for development, maintenance and infrastructure are the problem.

        Actually, free cloud services where you are hoping that someone else picks up the tab for development aren't the problem. It's not having a plan to keep things running when you need to move away from *any* product or service you depend upon.

        Take Amazon's S3 service. It's not likely to go away, but it's quite possible that one day you'll decide S3 doesn't meet your needs any longer. Maybe the price for your usage tier went up, or maybe another vendor has a more attractive service. *Even if you don't expect a service to go away, you need to make provisions for moving away*.

        That isn't just for the cloud. It's for proprietary platforms and libraries where the vendor can decide to get out of the business or send the price way up. The need to make provisions to move away from something even applies to *open source*. Take Hibernate. If JBoss stopped supporting it, somebody else would surely pick up maintenance, but Hibernate might not meet your needs at some point in the future. That means you ought to think long and hard about freely using hard-coded HQL throughout the system.

        As a designer it's your responsibility to imagine how things might change for the client. If you aren't thinking about the future you aren't designing, you're *doodling*.

      • by tehcyder (746570) on Monday January 23, 2012 @05:46AM (#38789359) Journal
        Having a business model for your cloud service doesn't guarantee its long term viability in any way. All business models are intended to make a profit, but self evidently not all companies do.
      • by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday January 25, 2012 @06:28PM (#38823169)

        Cloud services aren't the problem. Free cloud services where you are hoping that someone else picks up the tab for paying for development, maintenance and infrastructure are the problem.

        That's not the problem either. The problem is dependency on any product of service (on-premise or remote, cloud or not, developed in-house or custom by a third party or COTS) for which your assurances of reliability (whether contractual, or based on your own internal QC processes, or whatever) is not sufficient given the criticality of the system to your business processes (whether in terms of the information stored in it or any other dependency you have on it.)

    • by kwerle (39371) <> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:52PM (#38775076) Homepage Journal

      Yeah, it's a shame that you're 100% locked in to their free service, there is no warning, and you can't get your data out, or use any alternatives.

      Oh, wait...

    • by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:53PM (#38775100)

      Microsoft is constantly trying to move Office into the cloud, so what's the difference?

      • Because their offline versions aren't going anywhere and in fact they take great pains to make sure old versions still run on new OSes? My Win 7 box is running Ms Office 2K which is positively ancient but you know what? it works, and with the free converter pack it even opens the new 2k10 docX files just fine and dandy. When i was playing with the Win 8 dev preview (HATE the new UI BTW and I'm just damned glad Win 7 is supported until 2020 so I can skip 8 on my main system like I did Vista) for shits and giggles i stuck on office 2k and guess what? It STILL works.

        From what I've seen of Office 360 or whatever the hell they call it they are going for more of a collaborative thing, to let office users share work as well as have a cheaper way to add office machines without needing a full copy of Office. But i haven't seen anybody say they were gonna remove the ability to use plain old offline MS Office and unless Ballmer is even worse of a CEO than i think he is i doubt seriously anybody in the future will be talking that either.

        I'd say this is a problem for those that use Google cloud services but frankly most of their stuff is cheap or free and they DO give you plenty of warning and easy ways to migrate so....meh. I really can't fault the company for dumping a money loser as long as they keep giving users easy ways to migrate. This is one point in Google's favor as they do give plenty of time, its not like they just flip the switch the second they decide to kill something. How long did they give you on Wave and Buzz, something like 6 months? Plenty of time IMHO. i'd say the only thing I'd change is that they have a set in stone EOL like on MSFT's products but frankly they have so many I doubt anybody would know what the EOL is on any of them anyway, so keep doing what you are doing Google, it seems to be fair.

    • How is Cloud different from other software, which can also be killed, unless of course, it is open source. But even with open source, it is more convenient if the company continues to maintain and support it.
    • by bgarcia (33222) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:55PM (#38775116) Homepage Journal
      Cloud services are fine - as long as you can easily get your data out of them whenever you want.

      And Google is trying to make sure that's possible. []

    • by madmark1 (1946846) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:23PM (#38775322)

      Or, as seems far more likely the case, these services are being removed *precisely because no one relied on them*. They are services that are not getting widespread use, so they are being shut down. Are you still whining over the loss of Microsoft Bob, consigned to the dustbin of history because no one used it?

      Yes, cloud services can be shut down. Google generally goes out of their way to make sure you can get your data out, and gives fairly generous time frames in which to do so. They seem to be better about it than most other companies, including those that produce only desktop apps.

      Despite grouching to the contrary, there isn't much difference any more between a cloud app going away, and a desktop app being retired. If Microsoft suddenly decided to kill Windows tomorrow, how long could you continue to use it? I'm going to guess "Until the next time you swap out a video card, forcing you to reactivate your copy". What happens when the activation servers aren't there? You have to rely on the company to act properly, and give you a time frame to move to something else during which the activation servers will still be live, or they provide some permanent activation.

      Yes, I think DRM sucks, I think activation schemes suck, but they already exist, and until they are gone (which seems fairly unlikely to me) there isn't a major difference between desktop software and cloud services, once the plug is pulled. It is no more 'ridiculous' to rely on cloud services than it is to rely on desktop apps, or the x86 architecture, or the public power grid. Any of those could be changed at any time, though some are far less likely than others to change. Is it more likely gmail goes away, or Outlook/Exchange? Both companies make a crazy amount of money from their offering. One is 'cloud based', one not. Which is more 'ridiculous' to rely on?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:23PM (#38775728)

        Guess I'm loading up win2k or WINE.

        I'll still be able to run everything but the games and even many of those games will run on 2k with an xp .dll or regedit(it hilarious)

      • by Snaller (147050) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @06:19PM (#38776815) Journal

        I mourn the death of Clippy!

      •'d just go the the cracksite and get "WGAKiller" and call it a day? BTW for all the talk about "ZOMFG I'll have to reactivate!" the box I'm typing this on has had every. single. piece ripped out and replaced, and I DO mean every piece, the PSU, HDDs, GPU, Motherboard, CPU, RAM, burners, the only piece left that is original from Oct 09 when i installed Win 7 on it is the case and i had to reactivate a grand total of ONE time, and that was when I ripped out the ECS board with the quad for an Asrock with a 6 core. It took less than 5 seconds and it said 'thank you" and that was it.

        So with offline software there is ALWAYS a way around it, be it "legit" or no, but online only and you're screwed. After all I don't see anybody playing their Star Wars Galaxies characters they invested serious time and money in now, do you?

        • by madmark1 (1946846) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:32PM (#38786543)

          Actually yes I do. There are/were ways to export your data before the servers shut down, and several projects (in various stages of operation) to operate home-brew servers.

          Your option to continue using desktop software is illegal, and average users either don't know how, or don't want to break the law, to continue to use that software. I'm guessing it is also a situation most businesses don't want to get into, so your argument is useless. And while Google hasn't done this for all services, many (including wave) have been open sourced, or turned over to others, so the option still exists to use it.

    • by andydread (758754) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:28PM (#38775354)
      So isn't search a "cloud service"? Isn't slashdot a "cloud service" What about Wikipedia? So you still run Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia? What desktop software do you "rely on" for Internet searches? How do you easily collaborate with people on a spreadsheet from different parts of the world who are using different platforms from with in a desktop version of Microsoft Office? What about defunct versions of Microsoft products that have left people's data stuck in a no longer supported proprietary format? What's the difference between paying a subscription to desktop software that can go away at any point it the future or a subscription to a "cloud service" that can go away in the future?
    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:22PM (#38775716)

      Oh hi, DCTech. Still doing your sockpuppetry, I see.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:45PM (#38775747)

        Well, I'd buy what he saying if he'd replace "Microsoft" with, say, "LibreOffice".

        MS would be happy to sell you subscription to their Office Live - or how's their online docs thing called - instead of one time license for desktop Office, but they're kinda stuck with their suckish IE unable to crunch through it without inducing coma in users. Only IE9 is kinda able to do it.

    • by makomk (752139) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:27AM (#38780059) Journal

      It's not just a question of cloud services, from TFA:

      In 2005 we acquired Urchin, whose online web analytics product became the foundation for Google Analytics, helping businesses of all sizes measure their websites and online marketing. We’re fully committed to building an industry-leading online analytics product, so we’re saying goodbye to the client-hosted version, known as Urchin Software. New Urchin Software licenses will no longer be available after March 2012.

      So basically they're killing off the non-cloud self hosted version of their web analytics software in favor of the cloud version.

    • by Ed Avis (5917) <> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @10:09AM (#38780597) Homepage
      Check the article. Current GMC customers will be able to use GMC for the duration of their contract As with anything, you can expect to get what you pay for. Sign up for a five year contract, and you will get the service for five years.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:48PM (#38775046)

    If they can this easily kill off Google Message Continuity, something marketed only to Enterprise customers running Exchange, then why would any enterprise consider using any of their services? Their migration path is just to move everyone to Gmail. If that's what the company wanted in the first place, they would've just done that.

    • by icebike (68054) * on Saturday January 21, 2012 @08:46PM (#38777635)

      If they can this easily kill off Google Message Continuity, something marketed only to Enterprise customers running Exchange, then why would any enterprise consider using any of their services? Their migration path is just to move everyone to Gmail. If that's what the company wanted in the first place, they would've just done that.

      This was a money losing proposition from the get go, and one you can easily replicate by doing a proper server backup to any off-site location. "Hundreds of Businesses" use it.

      What they found is that user wanted to use Gmail, entirely walking away from exchange. The more success they had selling Google Apps (including paid Gmail customers) the less candidates for GMC. "Millions of Businesses" use Google Apps.

      If you missed the bit about Hundreds vs Millions you might be forgiven. It was buried fairly deep.

      Buried deeper is the fact that you can walk away from GMC tomorrow morning at 8am and have a competitive solution in place by noon, or operate with your own backup. You find it much tougher walking away from Google Apps or using Gmail for your entire in-house mail. You usually have no backup for that.

      Even odder was the announcement about Needlebase:

      Needlebase: We are retiring this data management platform, which we acquired from ITA Software, on June 1, 2012. The technology is being evaluated for integration into Google's other data-related initiatives.

      Whoa, shutting down a data management platform they haven't even acquired yet? No, wait, twisted sentence structure!

    • by Vexo (825223) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @08:50PM (#38777651)
      Note that, as per TFA, all Continuity customers "will be able to use GMC for the duration of their contract." Google is providing its enterprise customers exactly the amount of service permanence that it promised and that its customers agreed to when they signed those contracts.
  • That's progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:49PM (#38775060)

    The Google announcement doesn't leave many people stranded, it's just taking acquired products and sending the users to more popular web-based products. Examples include Urchiin users told to move to Google Analyitics, and Exchange backup users to move to GMail for Google Apps. In total, nothing of value is being lost, and developer resources move from maintaining the old to innovating the new.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:14PM (#38775254)

      Might as well get rid of Google Groups too. Pick out the historically relevant and useful content posts by those who contributed them, then dump the 20+ years are arguments, flamewars, and endless debates into the bit bucket. Put the historically relevant posts in a Google history archive of some sort. No need for the rest of the useless debates even in the big 8 heirarchy, especially with many of them having profane and racist content, regardless of whether the poster was anonymous or posted using their real name.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:15PM (#38775266)

      What your saying is that it's a forced migration.
      "What your using may work great for you, we don't care, you must migrate"

      Thanks for the fringe case examples though, however bussiness and users do not like change just because "It's progress"

    • Re:That's progress (Score:5, Interesting)

      by eulernet (1132389) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:28PM (#38775360)

      No, you are wrong, here is an example: []
      No more service, and no replacement (don't believe what they say, this service was indexing all source code on the Internet, not Google's only).

      Google is killing every service that doesn't return quick money. This means that Google just stopped all innovation (except a few star projects, like Google car, but what does an advertisement's company do in the automobile's domain anyway ? It's so ... out of place).

      Why would you want to take risks when you can make money with existing products ?
      Why would you put money in Research when you can concentrate on Development ?
      Oh, that's right: let's buy any startup that has an interesting idea, and kill the idea if it doesn't make money.

      Google is ranked as the 2nd most innovative company in 2010: []
      Let's see how it will do in the next rankings.

      The problem with Google is now greed.

      • Re:That's progress (Score:5, Interesting)

        by madmark1 (1946846) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:49PM (#38775494)

        Can you explain to me how this is different than, say, every other company in the world? Apple's latest innovation? Siri? Bought from someone else, then magically it doesn't work on anything but their newest phone, despite the fact it was available as an app for the older phones? Microsoft? Even their browser was bought from someone else, not to mention FrontPage (I didn't say it was good...), Excel, the Explore pane in Bing... Adobe has DreamWeaver, Flash, Fireworks...

        The problem with Google now is greed. Sadly though, that's the problem with every other company on the planet. Microsoft announces that from now on, web programming should be done in HTML5 and Javascript, and screw all of you that learned ASP.NET. Adobe gives you mobile flash, Adobe taketh away.

        Google continues to push forward with new services (G+, Car) and continue to add to older services (New google search changes, gmail interface changes) even if those turn out not to be popular. The search thing seems to be earning them some grief in particular, yet they tried something new. They could easily have left gmail and search exactly as it was, or not started G+, or Reader, or Wave. They DID change things, and start new things though, so that kind of kills your argument that they aren't putting money into anything, or doing R&D.

        • by cynyr (703126) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @04:47PM (#38776215)

          Microsoft announces that from now on, web programming should be done in HTML5 and Javascript, and screw all of you that learned ASP.NET. Adobe gives you mobile flash, Adobe taketh away.

          How is that LISP or pascal serving you today? how about BASIC? or any number of other languages that are basically gone these days. How about all that "insert dead gui toolkithere"?

          • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @02:03PM (#38782721) Journal
            Lisp? SBCL keeps pushing out new releases and the code it generates for x86-64 is pretty fast. Pascal? Well the Free Pascal Compiler supports the dialects used by Borland Turbo Pascal and Delphi, so your investment in Pascal code is probably quite safe. The latest release adds some improvements to ARM floating point code, so it will run faster on Android and iOS devices (for example). Looks safe to me. BASIC? Not sure - I've not really been keeping up with who ships BASIC these days, although PowerBASIC did just start using LLVM on the back end so it's probably seen some nice speedups recently...
        • by eulernet (1132389) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @05:21PM (#38776435)

          About ASP.NET, you made a mistake. I'm an ASP.Net developer too. What disappears is Silverlight, not ASP.Net.

          Sadly though, that's the problem with every other company on the planet.

          Sadly, I agree with you.
          When times are tough, all companies tend to reduce their expenses, and the first cuts are with employees and research.
          In my opinion, this is very wrong, the economy slows down because every company has the same behaviour.
          Having such a pessimistic point of view means that Google is not confident anymore in their products.

          What irritates me is that the companies doing the most effort on reducing expenses are the richest ones, and the resulting profits will not be redistributed, except for the shareholders.
          Typically, management asks their employees to do more with less (improve productivity), and at the end, they fire people to improve their margins further.

          And no, Google invest where they know that they'll have money in return (search, gmail, etc..), and mostly because of competition.
          Innovation is about taking risks, investing everywhere. See Microsoft and IBM, they do a lot of Research, because they know that you cannot predict what will be a success in the future.
          Remember the 20% at Google (20% of your time is spent on new projects), it's not officially dead, but I'll tell you: IT'S DEAD !

          If you just concentrate on improving a product, this is not innovation, this is just improving your quality, process and productivity.
          When you have an innovative company (using a disruptive innovation), like Google was, and you start to copy your followers, this means that you are not able to innovate anymore, you have no new ideas and no vision for the future.
          The only thing you can do is to buy smaller companies to add value to yours.

          Google is the new Microsoft, let's see what company will take Google's place.

          • by madmark1 (1946846) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @01:39AM (#38778833)

            I'm sorry, can you please fill me in on the exciting innovations coming from Microsoft lately? Live tiles? On the google side, did you forget Car, Wave, G+, WDYL, Swiffy, Wallet, Offers, Music, Fusion Tables, Panoramio, Schemer... and those are just the recent ones. Some of those may be services they acquired from others, but some are also their own.

            • by eulernet (1132389) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:28AM (#38779715)

              Where do you see something exciting in these projects ?
              They are just eye-catching, and I predict they will be killed in the near future (Wave is already dead).
              See hairyfeet's reply, his fad's concept is so true.

              About innovation, read this interesting article about 3M:
              To sum it up: 3M had a culture of innovation during 100 years. A single CEO killed this culture in 4 years.

              And 3M just got out of the top 50 most innovative companies:

              To make room for 2010's freshmen, a half-dozen American giants on 2009's list got dumped: AT&T, ExxonMobil, 3M, Johnson & Johnson, Southwest Airlines, and Target

              • by madmark1 (1946846) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @08:28PM (#38786489)
                Yes, you are right, you are the soul arbiter of what is exciting or not. Just because YOU don't find anything exciting there, doesn't mean others don't. Oh, and lets not forget, innovation means trying new things, to see what becomes exiting or popular, not sticking to known, exciting things, yes? The fact is, they spend money on projects all the time, start new projects all the time (which you argued against, but is demonstrably false).
                • by eulernet (1132389) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @09:48PM (#38787113)

                  No, I'm not an arbiter, but I'm old enough to not care about new services (especially social ones), and yes, I work on tools aggregating social media.

                  But instead of arguing, why not wait and check in the next following months who will be right ?
                  I'm much more interested in reality-check than belief-check.

                  I showed you how fast an innovative culture can be shattered.
                  I like Google Services, but frankly, as Hairyfeet said about Apple, they took all the low-hanging fruits, and if they intend to reduce expenses to increase their margins, they are so wrong, read:

                  (b) However, when people and organizations focus primarily on costs, costs tend to rise and quality declines over time.

                  and that was explained in 1950 !

                  • by madmark1 (1946846) on Saturday January 28, 2012 @03:56PM (#38851209)

                    Again, this applies to every single corporation, at least the western ones, who are all focused on next quarter, not next year or next decade. I fail to see why Google should look forward to failure, but Apple shouldn't, IBM shouldn't, Microsoft Shouldn't, Facebook shouldn't, Twitter shouldn't....

                    I also fail to see where you showed how fast an innovative culture can be shattered, let alone how Google qualifies. The "innovative" Google services you seem to have once loved weren't innovative then either. Gmail? Pretty sure I could do web email quite a while before it came along. Reader? We all had RSS feed readers before that. Search? I'm sure at the time, no one thought Google could possibly dethrone Yahoo, since they owned search. By your arguments, Google should NEVER have been successful, since all they did was take other things that existed, and improve them. But then, Bic seems to be doing just fine, doing nothing but improving ink pens, no? Facebook didn't invent social networking, but they own it now. Google didn't invent search, but they own it now. They stay ahead by improving what they have, and trying new things as well. Those new things don't always have to be innovative. They don't have to be never before seen ideas, only better than what everyone else is doing.

          • by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {}> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @03:33AM (#38779231) Journal

            If I had modpoints i'd mod you to 1000, so sad yet so true. The only other thing I'd add is look at how companies have become fad chasers, if a fad pops they suddenly drop things that work to chase the fad. look at MSFT which you point out does billions in research, but how many of it that isn't fad chasing to they actually develop into products? Ever since Ballmer they have been pissing away their core business (Business software and OSes) trying to be fucking Apple. Its the business customers and business developers that have been the big money clients yet they are gonna take a big old shit right on top of them to push HTML V5 because Ballmer wants to be the head of Apple so damned bad it hurts, simply because Apple has the buzz with iOS. Well i got news for them if we wanted fricking Apple we'd buy fricking Apple!

            But I agree that Google is falling into the same trap as MSFT and IBM, too much focus on short term, not enough on long. The problem Google is gonna have is like Yahoo frankly there is nothing keeping their customers from walking away, whereas big blue will always have mainframes and MSFT will have workstations. It will be curious to see if some startup can just pop up and do to Google what Google did to Yahoo and Altavista, or whether the culture you pointed out of just inhaling startups will ensure we keep these same megacorps for the next decade.

            Personally I predict after a couple more megaflops MSFT will accept their fate as the IBM of desktops, what will happen with Google will be anybody's guess, to me the big question mark will be Apple. Will Cook be able to predict new markets like Jobs did and stay one step ahead of the game, or will it be like the Pepsi guy where they try to coast on past success and slowly go downhill? In any case i'd say the next 5 years are gonna be pretty rough and tumble, especially if the economy keeps going south.

            • by eulernet (1132389) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @06:18AM (#38779701)

              You are so right about fads !
              Everybody thinks that innovation must be eye-catching.
              I recommend that you read Edwards Deming ( ). For example "The New Economics", it really hurts. He's right since 50 years, and was never listened in his own country.

              Will Cook be able to predict new markets like Jobs did and stay one step ahead of the game, or will it be like the Pepsi guy where they try to coast on past success and slowly go downhill? In any case i'd say the next 5 years are gonna be pretty rough and tumble, especially if the economy keeps going south

              After reading Steve Jobs' biography, my CEO told me that it was pure luck that Jobs was successful with Apple.
              He was a psychopath, and he was obsessed with design.
              It's just that his obsession matched the market.

              I believe that Apple will do as Google and Microsoft: they'll improve their existing products, and perhaps buy companies which offer new products.
              But I doubt they'll be able to propose new ideas.
              Perhaps they have enough money to start copying competition, but at a higher cost (as did Microsoft with its XBox).
              I'm now waiting to see what FoxConn and Lenovo will propose in the near future.

              • by hairyfeet (841228) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {}> on Sunday January 22, 2012 @07:28PM (#38785907) Journal

                Well with Jobs I'd say it wasn't so much that he was batshit as he had one gift that made him, which a story i read about making iDVD illustrated. the guy was told his team would be presenting to Jobs so they made these mockups with all these buttons and functions and menus and Jobs walks in and looks at their stuff for less than a second before going to the whiteboard and drawing a square. He says 'this is it, this is the product. you have a box and you drop a video in the box and a button that says "burn" pops up. that's it" and he walks away.

                And THAT was what made jobs a hit which i don't know if cook can replicate. Jobs had a knack for finding a market where the devices were too complex and releasing a butt simple device that your grandma could use that then became a hit. I had one of the first rio players and it was a fiddly bitch, menus and layers and a ton of bullshit whereas your mom could work an iPod. this is the concept i just can't get through to FOSS zealots with their perception bubble, they think because they like CLI and grep and pipes and all this fiddly shit they can get the masses to like it and that's not true, look at Windows 7 where your mom could run that thing with VERY little knowledge required. its all GUI and clicky clicky and plug and play, they've spent millions making everything pretty and hand holding and THAT is what the public wants, they do NOT want to have to think.

                The problem cook is gonna have is all the low hanging fruit has been picked, you've got PMP and cell and handheld already covered. they are gonna have to find new markets where things are too fiddly and dumb it down for the masses. I'd say one they could go after is car stereos, those are still too knob heavy and fiddly replace it all with a flat screen and a few finger gestures would be nice.

                but the fad jumping is REALLY getting old. you should fire up a VM and try the Win 8 dev Preview to see fad jumping at its worst, Steve Ballmer is gonna take a big old dump on his core business by trying to force iOS onto the desktop just because he wants to have a WinTab. the average desktop is NOT touch enabled and frankly most desktops and laptops WON'T be touch enabled because folks don't want to spend hours poking at a desktop, yet that is EXACTLY what Ballmer has done by putting a touch heavy cell phone OS on the desktop, all because of iOS being the buzz right now. its total fad chasing and will blow up in his face, but once they start chasing fads common sense takes a flying leap.

      • by wbr1 (2538558) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:16PM (#38775656)
        Google car make PERFECT sense for an advertisement company.

        When a Google automated car comes and delivers your pizza with customized adSense ads, you will see what I am talking about. In fact the pizza box will have big green download arrow for some crappy software that looks like the tab to open the box.
      • by bhassel (1098261) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @11:53PM (#38778483)
        Google code search is still up, just at a different URL here: []

        And it's not limited to just Google's own code. From this blog post: []
    • by guanxi (216397) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @05:45PM (#38776599)

      and Exchange backup users to move to GMail for Google Apps. In total, nothing of value is being lost, and developer resources move from maintaining the old to innovating the new.

      Is that sarcastic? A business is going to dump its massive investment in messaging systems: Servers, clients, handhelds, integration with other apps and systems -- and redo it all in GMail? Nothing of value is being lost?

  • by youn (1516637) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:49PM (#38775062) Homepage

    at this rate... this may be quicker than I thought possible

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:02PM (#38775176) Homepage

    UrchinTracker let advertisers track what users were doing, but didn't let Google track them. So it had to go. Big Brother doesn't like competition.

  • by Osgeld (1900440) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:02PM (#38775178)

    watch out! here comes the google monster! It will gobble up your website and shit it out once its bored!

    I actually kind of liked picnik, but whatever let the internet strip-mining continue ... thanks google

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @04:08PM (#38775929)

      watch out! here comes the google monster! It will gobble up your website and shit it out once its bored!

      Hey Google... want to buy or How about, too? Gobble gobble gobble... c'mon, shit it out already!

  • by Naurgrim (516378) <> on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:17PM (#38775288) Homepage
    I see I am not in before the cloud is good/cloud is bad discussion, but I do want to say I am glad Sky Map has a chance to continue. It is the first thing I use to show older relatives what smart phones can do.
  • by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:10PM (#38775616)

    Picasa is a little long in the tooth and needs some new features and a UI change to make it more user friendly.

  • by CurryCamel (2265886) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:14PM (#38775646) Journal
    Picasa I have heard about, but never used. But I hadn't even heard about these now shut down services. Had you?

    Is it just me that is getting middle-aged?

  • by afabbro (33948) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @03:58PM (#38775851) Homepage

    Google SketchUp is a hugely useful, free 3D modeling program. It has become the de facto standard in lots of hobbies (such as woodworking) because it's free, works well, and now there's a bajillion community add-ons.

    The problem is that it's Windows/Mac desktop software. It's completely orthogonal to Google's strategy. There's no ad revenue, and while there is a paid-for commercial version, I can't imagine it's big bucks for Google. The commercial version is $500, and at that price there's plenty of competition from other commercial packages.

    I'm sure someone in the headier days of Google saw it and thought "wow, this is cool, let's buy it!" and so they did. But what really is the strategy/purpose of owning it? It's great software, no doubt, but I think Google would be hard-pressed to explain how it moves their company forward.

    And so I fear for Google SketchUp. The free version is so awesome and I use it extensively...and I suspect some day someone in Google is going to discard it as carelessly as they bought it.

  • by careysub (976506) on Sunday January 22, 2012 @02:47PM (#38783065)

    My pet peeve is Google going the Microsoft route of discontinuing support for an application (Desktop Search) by shutting down the download server so you can't get a copy for a reinstall, instead of footing the negligible (actually zero incremental) cost of keeping the download available on a server, OR of making the discontinued app open source.

  • by XrayJunkie (2437814) on Monday January 23, 2012 @10:50AM (#38791323)
    What services are they killing? Sky-Map is open-sourced and the others not really used.
    You wouldnt pay for a service nobody (or at least not enough customers) use.
    I did not use these services, so please correct me if i am wrong.

"Laugh while you can, monkey-boy." -- Dr. Emilio Lizardo