Focus, Focus, FOCUS For Google
Google is shifting focus from everything to almost everything, and to prove it they’ve decided to clean a little house. All around the Google-verse you may have noticed that certain features no longer work or have simply been removed.
Here’s a list of some of the Google products that are either being shut down or currently aren’t available:
- Google Labs – Google labs is the place to go check out some of Google’s current projects which haven’t quite been integrated into their services. Now many of the projects will be integrated into products. Gmail Labs, Google Maps Labs, and Testtube will still exist.
- Realtime Search- Google’s deal with Twitter has expired and there are no details as to why. Their agreement ended and it wasn’t re-upped on either side, so Google’s stream of real time tweets has now been shut off by Twitter. As a result Google felt it necessary to shut down Realtime Search for an undisclosed amount of time, and for the most part no one’s really complaining. It’s likely that Google will bring it back using Buzz and taking more advantage of Google+ instead of Twitter. However, there seems to be a very remote chance that the two giants might get back together, especially since Bing and some other sites still have the same access to the Twitter stream.
- Google Directory – Google Directory was Google’s answer to the yellow pages back in 2000. It allowed you to find products and services by category instead of searching alphabetically, and it’s been obsolete for years now. Now you can search Google for anything you need today and it’s all integrated with maps and other Google services.
- The Wonder Wheel – The search tool that came out as part of Google’s last major redesign of the site is currently unavailable. According to Google, the tool stopped working during the initial stage of the latest redesign. This is not the first time the Wheel has been unavailable, so there’s a chance it will come back, but it seems not too many people are complaining so we’ll see.
- Google Toolbar for Firefox – Google has discontinued the Firefox toolbar. You can still download a version compatible with older versions of Firefox, but Google has decided against updating the tool for the newest version of Firefox. Google has stated that this is because many of the features in the Toolbar are already integrated into the browser, but it seems that the real underlying cause is most likely that many of the features are integrated into Google Chrome. This is just one more way Google is quietly putting the focus on their own browser.
With Google’s Larry Page taking over as CEO in April, this might be the first big change we’ve seen with him getting direct credit. Only time can tell how things will be different with a more focused Google.