Google Graveyard: Products Killed by Google

Google threw in the towel on these doomed ideas

Graveyard tombstone image R.I.P. depitcting Google projects that have been killed

Pleasureofart / Getty Images

Google is usually at technology's cutting edge, and many of its products and services have become industry leaders. But not everything Google dreams up turns to gold. The tech giant has produced a few clunkers, but Google doesn't hesitate to cut its losses. Here's a tour of the Google Graveyard, with a look at some products and services Google has killed off through the years.

01
of 23

The Google Clips Camera, 2017-2019

The Google Clips camera next to a smartphone showing photos taken by the camera

 Google Inc.

The Google Clips miniature clip-on camera was introduced in 2017. The $249 device was an interesting idea, incorporating artificial intelligence into a tiny, wide-angle camera whose purpose was to automatically capture candid life moments, such as with kids and pets.

Alas, Google Clips was a niche product that never found its niche. The device is being discontinued and is no longer sold in Google's online store. But if you are a Clips fan, take heart. Google says it will support the device until December 2021.

Google Clips didn't die in vain. Clips technology will live on, incorporated into the Photobooth feature of Pixel 3 smartphones.

02
of 23

Google PowerMeter, 2009-2011

Screenshot of Google Powermeter

Google PowerMeter was a green technology effort that came from Google's philanthropic side, Google.org. The software product, launched in October of 2009, was designed to help consumers track their energy usage and even anonymously compete with neighbors for energy savings. The ultimate goal was to aid in a quicker rollout of smart grids.

The idea was great, but it may have arrived before its time. Google PowerMeter didn't scale as hoped and didn't help smart grid efforts, so Google ultimately decided to focus on other projects. Google PowerMeter was laid to rest on September 16, 2011.

Google didn't abandon green tech ideas. The company later acquired Nest, a company that makes a smart power meter.

03
of 23

iGoogle, 2005-2013

Screenshot of iGoogle, which has gone to the Google Graveyard

This product, introduced in 2005, was originally called Google's Personal Homepage. The name was changed to iGoogle in 2007. iGoogle was a personalized, customizable launch portal that supported interactive "gadgets," mini-applications with custom news, calendars, games, quotes, and more.

Unfortunately, iGoogle was another offering that was ahead of its time. As mobile apps and other technology burst onto the scene, users had personalized, real-time information instantly available. The need for iGoogle eroded, and Google threw in the towel in 2013.

04
of 23

Google Video, 2005-2012

Screenshot of a Google Videos search before the service was sent to the Google Graveyard

Google Video was a free video hosting service that competed with YouTube. Users could upload videos and offer them for free or charge other users to view them. To view a video you purchased, you had to download the Google Video Player.

The service was not a big hit. Google ended up buying YouTube, and the Google Video service eventually shut off the ability to charge for videos. In 2011, Google further dismantled Google Video, removing all videos from the service. In 2012, Google Video was gone; in its place is Google Videos, which is simply a search engine for video files rather than a place to distribute them.

Google offered a refund to anyone who had ever purchased a video from the original service.

05
of 23

Helpouts by Google, 2013-2015

Screenshot of Google Helpouts, which went to the Google Gaveyard

Google Helpouts was a framework Google created for paid (and unpaid) Google Hangout consultations. This online collaboration service featured users sharing their expertise via live video. Sellers would list their offerings (yoga, carpentry), and buyers could search for general topics or specific questions.

The service simply wasn't popular enough to justify its existence, and Google pulled the plug on it in early 2015. 

06
of 23

SearchMash, 2006-2008

SearchMash

SearchMash was a sandbox for Google search experiments. Starting in 2006, Google used it to test experimental interfaces and search experiences. It wasn't evident why Google discontinued the service, but it quietly ended in 2008.

The only message users received when trying to visit the old website was that SearchMash has "gone the way of the dinosaurs."

07
of 23

Google Reader, 2005-2013

Screenshot of Google Reader, which went to the Google Graveyard

This one hurt. Google Reader was a feed reader that aggregated RSS and Atom feeds. You could manage feeds, label them, and search through them. It worked better than competing products in many ways, but the web evolved away from feeds and more toward social sharing. Google pulled the plug on the product in 2013. 

08
of 23

Dodgeball, 2003-2009

Screenshot Dodgeball, which went to the Google Graveyard

In 2005, Google purchased the social networking phone application Dodgeball. The location-based service allowed users to find friends of friends, locate friends within a 10-block radius, get alerts when "crushes" were nearby, and locate restaurants.

While Dodgeball was innovative for the time, Google didn't seem to dedicate a lot of resources toward expanding coverage areas or features. It was available only in select cities. Meanwhile, its competitor Twitter grew in popularity and was available everywhere.

The original Dodgeball founders left the company in 2007, and in 2009 Google announced the service would be shut down.

After leaving Google, Dodgeball founder Dennis Crowley went on to create Foursquare.

09
of 23

Google Deskbar, 2003-2006

Screenshot of Google Deskbar, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Deskbar was a Windows application that let you launch a Google search directly from your desktop taskbar. Google likely discontinued the software because another product, Google Desktop, did that and more. Alas, Google Desktop also went to the Google Graveyard in 2001.

These days most users probably have their browsers open anyway, and Google is just a click away.

10
of 23

Google Answers, 2003-2006

Screenshot of Google Answers, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Answers was an intriguing service that introduced an online knowledge market. The idea was to pay someone else to find the answer to your question. You named the price you were willing to pay, and "researchers" found the answer for the specified amount. Then, both the question and answer were posted on Google Answers.

The Google Answers paid approach never took off. Google ended the ability to ask questions in 2006 but kept the answers online. You can still browse through them today.

11
of 23

Google Browser Sync, 2006-2008

Screenshot of Google Browser Sync, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Browser Sync was a Firefox extension that let you sync all your bookmarks, passwords, and settings between multiple browsers on different computers. It would even save the same open tabs, so using a new computer would be just like using your last computer.

Google never updated Browser Sync for Firefox 3, and support for Firefox 2 officially ended in 2008. Google decided to focus on other extensions, such as Google Gears and Google Toolbar. Support for Google Toolbar eventually ended as Google switched its focus to Chrome.

12
of 23

Google X, 2005-2005

Screenshot of Google X, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google X was an extremely short-lived Google Labs project. It appeared in Google Labs and was taken down almost immediately, with no comments from Google.

Google X made the Google search engine resemble the Mac OS X dock interface. When you moused over the different Google tools, the picture grew. The bottom text even said, "Roses are red. Violets are blue. OS X rocks. Homage to you." Judging from the quick and silent removal of the service, Apple may not have been flattered by this imitation. 

Google X was also the name of a skunkworks product lab under Google's parent company, Alphabet, that develops innovated products such as a self-driving car. It's now called X Development.

13
of 23

Picasa Hello, 2002-2008

Screenshot of Picasa Hello, which went to the Google Graveyard

Hello was an instant-messaging service from the team behind Picasa. It let you send pictures, which was not a typical IM function. Although the idea was smart, there wasn't much of a demand for instant messaging solely for sharing photos.

Google officially pulled the plug on Hello in May of 2008.

14
of 23

Google Lively, 2008-2008

Screenshot of Google Lively, which went to the Google Graveyard

From the beginning, Lively seemed like an odd fit for Google. This service provided 3D chat rooms with cartoon avatars and user-generated content. It was never a big hit, nor was it clear how Google would ever make money from it. Add the cost of maintaining servers and engineering support, and it was clear that Google Lively had to go.

15
of 23

Google Page Creator, 2006-2008

Screenshot of Google Page Creator, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Page Creator was a web-based tool for creating and hosting personal websites. It was easy to use and people seemed to like it. But after Google purchased the wiki tool JotSpot, it was faced with two similar applications and a growing need to focus on profitability and internet security.

JotSpot turned into the Google Sites website-building platform, and Page Creator got the axe in 2008; existing accounts migrated to Google Sites.

16
of 23

Google Catalogs, 2011-2015

Screenshot of Google Catalogs, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Catalogs started out in 2001 as a catalog-search tool fittingly called Catalog Search. (The technology behind Catalog Search eventually led to Google Book Search.)

Catalog Search ended in 2009, and in 2011 Google Catalogs debuted, bringing the virtual catalogs of major retailers to users.

Alas, Google Catalogs grew redundant as retailers created their own online stores, and Google shut down the service in 2015.

17
of 23

Google Shared Stuff, 2007-2009

Screenshot of Google Shared Stuff, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Shared Stuff was an experimental social-sharing tool introduced in September 2007. It let you bookmark pages you liked and share those bookmarks with other users. It saved a bookmark along with an automatically generated page summary and a graphic from the page as a visual cue.

You could also email links or submit your pick to other social bookmarking and social news sites at the same time, including Digg, del.icio.us, and Facebook.

The service wasn't a bad idea, but there were already quite a few similar services already established in the marketplace when it launched. It was also puzzling why Shared Stuff didn't tie in with Google Bookmarks, an existing feature in Google Toolbar.

Whatever the reason for its demise, Google Shared Stuff died on March 30, 2009, and Google Toolbar eventually followed.

18
of 23

Google Wave, 2009-2012

Screenshot of Google Wave, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Wave was an innovative new platform that Google introduced at its I/O developer conference in 2009. The online communication and collaborative editing tool even got a standing ovation from the attendees.

While Google had hoped to revolutionize email and group collaboration with the tool, most users didn't understand it and few users did more than create an account. It didn't help that Google introduced the tool with a brand-new vocabulary, such as "blips" and "wavelets."

Rather than continue development on Google Wave, Google decided to use some of its functionality in existing tools and leave other portions available for possible development by the open-source community.

19
of 23

Google Nexus One, 2010-2010

Google's Nexus One phone debuted but went to the Google Graveyard

Pool / Getty Images

The Nexus One phone was the original Google Phone, debuting in January of 2010 amid much fanfare. Google intended to change the phone industry. It used Google's Android OS and the latest HTC hardware, including a beautiful touchscreen and a five-megapixel camera with flash.

What went wrong? It may have been the sales model. Google sold the phone exclusively from its website in the United States. The company encouraged customers to buy the phone at full price and purchase a separate data plan. However, U.S. consumers preferred to get a carrier-subsidized phone with a two-year contract. There were also problems with customer support, as Google initially wanted to handle it through email and forums instead of providing a customer-support phone line.

The Nexus One was not a huge sales success. By the time Google could have transitioned to traditional retail sales, there were better Android phones on the market. Google said it accomplished its goals with the Nexus One and therefore didn't need to introduce a Nexus Two.

Google ended web sales of the phone in July of 2010.

20
of 23

Google Health, 2008-2012

Screenshot of Google Health, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Health was launched in 2008 when Google joined with the Cleveland Clinic to allow patients to transfer their data into Google's electronic health information storage service. It wasn't without controversy, as critics were quick to point out that Google was not subject to HIPPA regulations. Google insisted that its existing privacy regulations were sufficient, but the average American couldn't think of why they'd need such a thing. It didn't help that there were only limited providers who would automatically transfer health info into the service.

Google added the ability to track and graph just about anything, such as weight, blood pressure, and sleep, but it wasn't enough. The service didn't catch on, and Google decided to nix it in 2011. The service ended formally in 2012.

Now, Google Health has been revived in a new form that aims to unify its diverse health initiatives, bringing together teams from across Google and Alphabet that are using AI, product expertise, and hardware to take on big healthcare challenges. 

21
of 23

GOOG-411, 2007-2010

Screenshot of Goog 411, which went to the Google Graveyard

GOOG-411 was an innovative phone directory service launched in 2007. You could call 1-800-GOOG-411 from U.S. and Canadian phones to get automated business directory service. You could also ask the service to send you a map or text message or connect you to a business by phone.

Ah, but there was a catch. The service was provided for free with no ads or any other revenue source because Google only wanted callers for their phonemes. The service was a way to anonymously collect vocal samples from a large population of North American callers and train Google's speech-recognition tools.

By 2010, Google had developed sophisticated speech-recognition tools that could transcribe YouTube videos and Google Voice calls and recognize voice commands on phones. The money-losing directory service was no longer necessary.

In October 2010, Google announced that GOOG-411 would end in November of the same year.

22
of 23

Google Gears, 2007-2011

Screenshot of Google Gears, which went to the Google Graveyard

Google Gears was a web browser extension that allowed offline access to some online applications by downloading data to your hard drive. Google Gears didn't just make online tools work offline, it also allowed for enhanced online functionality. 

But with expanded HTML5 capabilities in Chrome, Google decided to say goodbye to Gears in 2011. Its mission was to enable more powerful web applications, and the company felt the project was ultimately a success.

23
of 23

Postini, 1999-2012

Screenshot of Postini, which went to the Google Graveyard

Postini was a standalone cloud-based product that provided email security, spam filtering, instant-messaging security, and email-archiving services. In 2007, Google acquired Postini for $625 million in cash, and in May of 2015, Google ended the service as a separately branded product. All existing customers were directed to Google for Work, which is now known as G Suite.