Four Other Abandoned Google Products

This week saw the demise of Google Reader. Usage had apparently declined and with Google taking the decision to concentrate its focus on fewer products, its RSS reader unfortunately didn’t make the cut.

But despite the obvious success of products like Google Maps and Google Plus, Google is far from immune to failures and Reader is actually one of the more successful products to have been abandoned. Here are a few others which have fallen by the wayside.

Google Lively

Google LivelyThere’s a decent chance that you haven’t even heard of Google Lively. It was a virtual world which was sucked into a virtual black hole back in 2008.

It was basically a pimped-up chat room where users created avatars who could then interact in a 3D environment. Clearly believing that the limited functionality wasn’t enough of a handicap, Google also ensured that it only ran on Windows and required a plug-in.

Google Answers

Yahoo! Answers is the place to go if you’re happy with bad advice. The public provide answers, but what do the public know? Google Answers was much the same, only you paid for the privilege.

Okay, maybe this is a trifle unfair. The unique selling point of Google Answers was that the researchers were paid, so the information provided was supposed to be more reliable. However, paid research doesn’t equate to genuine expertise and for another reason why this project was shut down in 2006, you need look no further than one of the most frequent answers appearing on its Yahoo! counterpart. “Google it,” they say.

Increasingly, people did.

Google Video

A video-sharing website – you can’t argue with the concept. However, the decision to launch a video-sharing website when there is already an extraordinarily popular video-sharing website is rather more questionable. Compound this by demanding non-standard file extensions and you’re onto a loser.

Google eventually figured it might just be easier to spend $1.65bn on YouTube and so did precisely that.


This product is still with us, but not for long. An execution date of November 1st has already been announced with little chance of a reprieve.

Formerly Google Personalised Homepage, iGoogle is actually rather popular with many people who appreciate the ability to add RSS feeds, email accounts and other widgets to create a customised homepage.

In announcing its retirement, Google cited “the unforeseen evolution of web and mobile apps and the erosion of the need for the site.”

What’s your take on that?