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Google Cloud Space Technology

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

        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)
          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.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            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'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

      • 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.

          • 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.

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            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 stand

        • by dkf (304284)

          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.

        • 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
      • by vadim_t (324782)

        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 neede

      • by hey! (33014)

        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

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        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.
      • 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 cr

    • by kwerle (39371) <kurt@CircleW.org> 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 FreeCoder (2558096) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:57PM (#38775138)
        Usually there really isn't any good warning ahead in time. For example Microsoft gives exact end of support dates for almost all of their products and it's usually years. With Google it's just a few months. Not all of Google's services are free either, and since they most often don't release the source code, you are basically locked to their services.
        • by kwerle (39371)

          Usually there really isn't any good warning ahead in time.

          ... when it isn't google.

          With Google it's just a few months.

          Riiiight...

          Not all of Google's services are free either, and since they most often don't release the source code, you are basically locked to their services.

          OK - name one of google's services that they have canceled in a way that screwed the users. Where they lost their data or could not get it out in a very meaningful way.

          • by DragonTHC (208439)

            so have to agree with this assessment.

            Google is never about killing off services. NEVER.

            Google is about replacing aging or failing services with new or popular services.

            GMC customers are never going to lose data if they pay attention and migrate to google apps or elsewhere before the clock runs out.

            Google gives you very long warnings. And multiple times.

            If you aren't paying attention, you're not doing your job and it's your fault.

          • by Anonymous Coward
            You're replying to a Waggener Edstrom Rapid Response team using sockpuppet software to manage discussions on social networking sites.

            "Monitoring conversations, including those that take place with social media, is part of our daily routine; our products can be used as early warning systems, helping clients with rapid response and crisis management. "
            http://waggeneredstrom.com/about/approach

            Team members include:
            bonch
            DCTech
            ge7
            zget
            cgeys
            *x**y*y**x*
            InsightIn140Bytes
            SharkLaser
            HankMoody (2554362

      • Reader, Gmail?

        (I mean we know they are going to close them eventually as well, right?)

        • by kwerle (39371)

          Reader

          ... any news aggregator?
          http://www.newsonfeeds.com/faq/aggregators [newsonfeeds.com]

          Gmail?

          You're kidding, right? Any mail provider... I don't know what to say.
          * I hosted my own until a few years ago
          * yahoo
          * hotmail
          * my isp
          * everyone and their brother

          I mean we know they are going to close them eventually as well, right?

          I don't get it. Why are you just spreading FUD? OK, maybe you don't like google. But you can't come up with a single service that they have shut down and really inconvenienced their users. And you're naming gmail just looks dumb - they make money off that. And while it would no

      • Precisely. I had a play around with their App Inventor system, about five minutes with it. I got so many emails urging me to download my "app" before they took the system offline that it would have been annoying but for the fact they were trying not to be evil.

        The cloud is a joke generally, but trust "them" to give you your backups 99.99999% of the time, and that's really useful.
    • Microsoft is constantly trying to move Office into the cloud, so what's the difference?

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        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 gi

    • 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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Most times you can continue using existing software, even without support, for an indefinite period until something breaks. There is software written over a decade ago that still works fine without any updates since. If a cloud service goes offline, though, you have no real choice most of the time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because you still have the software as oppossed to a 404 page....
        Many bussiness operate well on old software, not because they cannnot afford to change, because the 15 year old ERP system does what they need it to do and there is no reason to. Google expects bussiness to become their beta testers and everyone is a market test case.

      • by genner (694963)

        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.

        If desktop software gets killed you still have your copy to use.

    • by bgarcia (33222)
      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. [dataliberation.org]

      • by FreeCoder (2558096) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:01PM (#38775170)
        That is moot point, especially if you try to rely on them for business purposes. Yes, it's good that you can take out your data, but what do you do when they discontinue their service? At least desktop apps continue working. It's kind of funny that Slashdotters in general dislike DRM, and online services are basically the worst kind of DRM.
        • You spend the required money and/or resources to migrate to a new service to support that business process, and in the process end up with better software and/or process than you previously had. No software can or should exist as-is in perpetuity; change and progress is good for all of us.

    • 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 Snaller (147050)

        I mourn the death of Clippy!

      • by hairyfeet (841228)

        Uhhh...you'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

        • by madmark1 (1946846)

          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 (includin

    • by andydread (758754)
      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 for
      • For Wikipedia: http://dumps.wikimedia.org/ [wikimedia.org]

        For Office, there's Sironta [sironta.com]. Server-less P2P collaboration that works on the three major OSs. It's AGPLv3 licensed.

      • I sent a submission in a while ago asking Slashdot to provide a "seven click" method to export all my (aka your own) comments. However they didn't post the story and haven't done it.

        I have a wealth of info locked in slashdot posts that I want to use for a blog but there's no way to download my post history that I know of. I even emailed help support and they emailed back saying that it wasn't currently a public feature. (Oh, yes, I'm quite sure they could do it if it mattered, we're back to "are you a Big E

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

    • by makomk (752139)

      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)
      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) *

      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 de

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Vexo (825223)
      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.

    • 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: http://google.com/codesearch [google.com]
      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:
      http://www.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/innovative_companies_2010.html [businessweek.com]
      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)

          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"?

          • 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 PowerBA
        • by eulernet (1132389)

          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 ef

          • by madmark1 (1946846)

            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)

              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:
              http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_24/b4038406.htm [businessweek.com]
              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:
              http://www.bus [businessweek.com]

              • by madmark1 (1946846)
                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)

                  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

                  • by madmark1 (1946846)

                    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. G

          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            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

            • by eulernet (1132389)

              You are so right about fads !
              Everybody thinks that innovation must be eye-catching.
              I recommend that you read Edwards Deming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._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 belie

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                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"

      • by wbr1 (2538558)
        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)
        Google code search is still up, just at a different URL here:
        http://code.google.com/codesearch [google.com]

        And it's not limited to just Google's own code. From this blog post: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2012/01/google-code-search-still-available.html [blogspot.com]
    • by guanxi (216397)

      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

    • With how crappy Google's search results have been getting, some may argue it already is dead.

      • by Njovich (553857) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:14PM (#38775258)

        Amen, I love Google, but for any search that is slightly complicated I turn to Yahoo these days. Google doesn't seem to take you serious when you enter search terms, often ignoring terms to give a more popular result. Having to add quotes is also a hell of a lot more annoying than the + sign was. That is four keypresses for quoting a single expression. Quote a couple of expressions on a mobile phone and it just gets annoying. Also it forces localization on you, which gets a pain when you speak English and another language roughly equally well and just want the best result. I wish there was just a version that treated all languages equally. The problem is that the 'local' languages gets precedence, regardless of quality of result. Yes there are settings for them, they work like crap, try them for a while.

        • Yahoo is just a layer above Bing, might as well use it directly.

        • Use the "Verbatim" option.
        • by swillden (191260)

          When you do your search, and decide that you don't like how Google helped "fix up" your query, you can use "verbatim" mode. On the left side of the screen you'll see a "search tools" link. Click that, and it will expand to a list of various search options. Click "verbatim" and you'll get exactly the terms you searched for, no spelling correction, no synonyms, etc.

          I think for most people, the automatic "improvements" of their search queries yields better results, because most people aren't very precise

        • by makomk (752139)

          That is four keypresses for quoting a single expression.

          For some real fun, try and figure out how to get Google to search for a phrase rather than keywords and not automatically rewrite your query to what it thinks you really meant. Yay, nested quotes!

    • Search is profitable because AdWords works well with it. The closed services were things that had Google compete with itself.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Not to be redundant, but they've already killed the usefulness of the search. I've been using Google since their inception. I may be moving to Bing or Yahoo because Google's search results have regressed in quality substantially.

      Google really needs to fix their shit. Consumer force only goes so far with technology: it's still very much the case that people look to their geek friends for technology recommendations.

  • 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 Naurgrim (516378) <naurgrim@karn.org> 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.
  • Picasa is a little long in the tooth and needs some new features and a UI change to make it more user friendly.

    • by Daengbo (523424)

      Picasaweb has migrated to Google+ Photos, and Picnik is closed as a standalone and is instead called "Creative Suite" or something in the photo service. Just like the rest of Google's local applications, I doubt Picasa has a real future. Picnik (also on the chopping block in TFA) really needs to move from Flash to HTML5, and they need to work on the load time.

      • There is always a need for local software for photos and video....If google does not want to maintain said software, that is fine, they will just need to maintain a publishing plugin for the software that replaces it.

  • 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 Tacvek (948259)

      The only real reason Google is keeping Sketch-Up is that it ties into Google Earth.

      Unfortunately Google Earth's cancellation is already planned. As soon Google can reliably replicate enough of its functionality into the WebGL version of Google Maps, Google Earth will be gone.

      In the plus side, at least there is some hope of Google releasing the Sketch-Up source, since it is not tied into any of Google's core technologies.

    • I believe it's for people to design buildings for Google Earth/Maps.
    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      I really wish they'd release Sketch-up for Linux. Updated versions of Picasa as well. I find it a bit strange that they don't since they have such a large number of employees using Linux.
  • 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.

  • 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.

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