Google killing Jaiku, Dodgeball, Notebook, other projects

Company's experiments reach their end. Some will live on, though, supported by volunteers or just kept running without future development.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

In a series of separate posts on various official Google blogs Wednesday evening, the company announced that it is terminating, stopping development on, or restricting access to six products that clearly haven't been adding much to the Google brand or bottom line lately:

The clock started ticking on Google Video when it bought YouTube in 2006. Starting, "in a few months," Google Video will no longer allow user uploads. That makes sense considering YouTube's function. In 2007, Google turned off users' access to paid videos on Google Video. It should be noted that Google recently added video upload capability to Picasa Web Albums, so clearly execs at the company realize that there can be different video services for different needs. See the Google Video Blog.

Google Catalog Search is getting the ax. Launched as a "demonstration" of OCR technology that eventually made it in to Google Book Search, it's being shuffled off with the farewell, "It was a great experiment." And which company doesn't have its product catalogs online already these days? Not needed. See the Inside Google Book Search blog.

Google Notebook is losing its developers. It will stay live for now, for the (few dozen) people who use it, but the blog post announcing its imminent stagnation points everyone else to products that perform some of Notebook's functions: the SearchWiki function, Google Docs, Tasks (in GMail), and Google Bookmarks. Not mentioned: Yahoo's Delicious and AdaptiveBlue. See the Google Notebook blog.

Dodgeball, acquired by Google in 2005, will be shut down "in the next couple of months." Once a popular social/geolocation experiment, it's been largely supplanted by Twitter.

Google's Mashup Editor, which never made it out of private beta, will be terminated, "in favor of the more powerful App Engine."

Jaiku, as it is today, may live on with support from a "volunteer team" of Google employees, but the main product is getting ported to the Google App Engine, and will be release as open source. This is interesting. See also the open-source nanoblog project, Laconica. Google acquired Jaiku in October, 2007. The Google Code Blog covers the fates of Dodgeball, Jaiku, and the Mashup Editor.

Other blogs (TechCrunch and Center Networks) are calling Grand Central and Knol as the next projects to join Google's scrap bin. I can see Knol getting the ax--there's no buzz around it. I'd add Google Base to the list of likely casualities. But I don't think it makes sense to kill Grand Central. Given Google's play in the mobile space with Android, I believe the company needs to invest more in mobile voice services like this one.

Obviously related: Google lays off 100 recruiters.

See also: Search Engine Land: Google Ends Google Video Uploads, Shutters Notebook, Catalog Search, Dodgeball & Jaiku.