Google shuts down Aardvark and 9 other products
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Google Chief Executive Larry Page’s push to narrow the tech giant’s focus and streamline operations continued on Friday with the announcement that the company was shutting down 9 projects and Aardvark, a side company that built a social search site.
‘Technology improves, people’s needs change, some bets pay off and others don’t,’ said Alan Eustace, a senior vice president at Google, in a blog post titled ‘a fall spring-clean.’
Eustace said some of the products would be killed off, while others will be merged into existing products as features. The employees working on the affected companies and projects will be reassigned to new positions at Google.
‘This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience,’ he said. ‘It will also mean we can devote more resources to high-impact products -- the ones that improve the lives of billions of people. All the Googlers working on these projects will be moved over to higher-impact products. As for our users, we’ll communicate directly with them as we make these changes, giving sufficient time to make the transition and enabling them to take their data with them.’
Page announced the company-wide refocusing in July when Google pulled the plug on Google Labs, a website that let users test out new products with which engineers were experimenting. Google Labs was where Gmail and Google Docs got started and was at one time an important piece of the company.
The Google CEO and co-founder described the moves in a statement made during a Google earnings call as as putting ‘more wood behind fewer arrows.’
Last month, Google also shut down Slide, a side company that made social apps mostly for Facebook, MySpace and Apple’s iOS. Most of Slide’s employees were rolled into other parts of Google, but Slide’s founder, Max Levchin, who is well known as a top engineer with a solid understanding of social networking, left the company.
Eustace said that while Google is axing some companies it has purchased over the years and ending other products, it won’t keep Google from being creative.
‘We’ve never been afraid to try big, bold things, and that won’t change,’ he said. ‘We’ll continue to take risks on interesting new technologies with a lot of potential.’
Here’s Eustace’s rundown of the companies and projects in Google that have been shuttered:
Google says it’s winding down Google Labs
Google shuts down Slide, Max Levchin departs
Google agrees to $500-million settlement over online drug ads
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles