Google nixes Buzz, Jaiku, iGoogle social features, Google Labs

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Google on Friday announced that it is scrapping another handful of products as the tech giant continues to trim down its product line and focus more on successes such as Android and Google+.

The most notable of the products getting nixed this time around might be Google Buzz, the company’s failed attempt to release a social networking product in the vein of Twitter. Buzz is notorious for being a major privacy stumble for Google that ended in a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, which brought tough online data protection terms after a big backlash from users and privacy groups.


The federal government, in the case of Buzz, said Google deceived users of Gmail into signing up for Buzz and unwittingly creating a public list of people they emailed frequently that doubled as a friends list for Buzz.

After Google corrected its privacy gaffes and settled with the FTC, Buzz remained unpopular even after it was included as a small feature inside of the Google+ social networking products launched earlier this year. After all that, it’s not tough to see why Google would want to leave Buzz in the past as it continues to build up Google+ into a Facebook rival.

‘We aspire to build great products that really change people’s lives, products they use two or three times a day,’ said Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of products, in a statement. ‘To succeed you need real focus and thought -- thought about what you work on and, just as important, what you don’t work on.’

And while Buzz will no longer be worked on, it isn’t the only product being dumped.

Here’s the run down of what’s being axed directly from Horowitz’s announcement:

Code Search, which was designed to help people search for open source code all over the Web, will be shut down along with the Code Search API on January 15, 2012. In a few weeks we’ll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+. While people obviously won’t be able to create new posts after that, they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it using Google Takeout. Jaiku, a product we acquired in 2007 that let users send updates to friends, will shut down on January 15, 2012. We’ll be working to enable users to export their data from Jaiku. Several years ago, we gave people the ability to interact socially on iGoogle. With our new focus on Google+, we will remove iGoogle’s social features on January 15, 2012. iGoogle itself, and non-social iGoogle applications, will stay as they are. The University Research Program for Google Search, which provides API access to our search results for a small number of approved academic researchers, will close on January 15, 2012.

In July, Google Chief Executive Larry Page announced that the company would narrow its product offerings and streamline operations, which at that time meant pulling the plug on Google Labs later this year -- a website that allows the public to test experimental new projects and was the birthplace of hit Google products such as Google News, Google Maps and Google Trends.

On Friday, Horowitz also said that Google Labs would officially shut down by the end of the day.


He also said that, as previously announced, Google’s retail search efforts and will be melded into the Google Product Search product.

‘Changing the world takes focus on the future, and honesty about the past,’ Horowitz said. ‘We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google+. Our users expect great things from us; today’s announcements let us focus even more on giving them something truly awesome.’


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-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles