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Google shuts down some products, Streetview goes indoors

27 October, 2011
By Allison Orr

After announcing a spring clean in September, Google has shut down a number of products, including GoogleBuzz, Sidewiki and GoogleLabs.

GoogleBuzz had been Google’s social networking, microblogging and messaging tool, integrated into the company’s others programs.  The rollout of the service in 2010 had been criticised on privacy grounds, as the default settings at first publicly disclosed, via a user’s Google profile, the names of Gmail contacts that user had most frequently emailed or chatted with.  Saying in their official blog that they had learned a lot from produces like Buzz, Google are shutting down this and other services to focus on Google+ and giving users “something truly awesome”.  According to one of Google’s own engineers, this learning experience was not well used. 

Steve Yegge caused a stir when he accidentally made public a post to other Google engineers a scathing criticism of Google’s products, particularly Google+.  Comparing Google unfavourably to Facebook, he says they don’t “get” platforms, describing Google+ as a “knee-jerk reaction” and a “pathetic afterthought”.

None of this seems to have affected Google’s business, announcing earnings of US$2.7 billion for the quarter ending 30 September 2011.  Google CEO, Larry Page talked up Google+, which now has 40 million users.

In other Google news, StreetView is to start going indoors, offering users the chance to see inside shops and businesses.  The pilot project was rolled out in London and Paris,  but will also be launched in a number of cities in Australia.  It hopes to build on the Google Art Project, which took StreetView technology into museums.  The scheme will be introduced on a voluntary basis.

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