SBP Blog

Don't follow Google in this: Top failed Google products

Jun 15, 2015 by AdrianC

The Google search engine, Gmail, Android or Chrome... this is what immediately comes into our minds when we think about Google - and for good reason, because these products "call the shots" in their field. However, if we look closely, behind these successful products we see the projects that Google really wants to bury, a “graveyard” of failed products.

Google Wave: May 2009 - April 2012

Google Wave was a real-time communication platform that brought together elements specific to email, instant messaging, web chat, social networking, and combined them into an in-browser communication client.

This was Google's biggest blunder, and the main problem was that, while it tried to be everything for everyone, it failed to be anything for anyone. Another issue was that while users had great expectation, its uselessness and irrelevancy quickly overshadowed their anticipation.

Wave it's a clear indication that a product targeted towards too many purposes will fail in meeting the demands for any of its purposes, according to the old saying, "A person who chases two rabbits catches neither."

Google Buzz: February 2010 - October 2011

Buzz was a social network and sharing product that Google launched in 2010, as an integrated part of Gmail, and it offered users the possibility to share links, photos, comments and videos, organized in “conversations” which were visible in the inbox.

Buzz wasn’t received with too much eagerness, and while it tried to “captured our imagination”, it stayed on the market for only 1 year. Its biggest problem was weak privacy settings, which resulted in many user information disclosure. So the only “buzz” that Google succeeded to make with this application was a hailstorm of criticism from all parts (users, media, companies) - and also housewifes :)

I’m sure this painful episode showed Google that they must be very careful with regard to user privacy and security, and their future applications will surely benefit from Buzz’s security failures.

Google Answers: August 2001 - December 2006

By using Answers, any user could ask a question and then offer an amount of money to the researcher that gave him the best answer. So the difference between Google Answers and other similar applications was that Google Answers was paid… hmmm no need to explain why this projects has failed, right?

Maybe Google should have thought from the beginning that no one was going to pay $100 for a research that could be made for free by using any search engine available, including Google's. Surely Google will now think twice before launching a paid service with so little benefit.

Google Jaiku: February 2007 - January 2009

Jaiku was acquired by Google in October 2007 and was a microblogging site, which had Twitter as its main competitor. The only problem with Jaiku was that it did not have nearly as much users as Twitter, so Google decided eventually to discontinued the service and to focus on Google+.

Creating a successful social networking service is not easy and it seems that Google struggled for many years and from many angles, however their failures resulted in more experience.

The list above is only the mere tip of the aisberg (Google does have many other failed products... definitely more than they would have wanted to have). However, while products such as Google Lively, Dodgeball, Google Notebook, Google Reader and others didn't quite reach the "critical mass" that would have allowed them to survive, we are amazed at Google’s perseverance and ability to learn from past failures, a trait towards which all companies should aspire.

Tags: Google 


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