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Google Products

Google FAILs more often than you might think

A few weeks ago we brought you new of Google’s decision to shelve Google Wave. For a highly successful company Google actually fails quite frequently. It’s a testament to their sheer pace of development – they’ve launched 264 new products in the last year alone – that they can shut down so many and still continue to grow.

To remind us all that even the mighty Google makes mistakes, here’s a list of Google’s recent failures.

Google SearchWiki (closed March 2010)


The SearchWiki let you reorder the search results manually, pushing some sites higher and even deleting certain ones.

Google Audio Ads (Closed February 2009)


Google planned to allow AdWords advertisers to bid for placements on radio. In reality, they couldn’t give advertisers any measurability of the results, nor could they boost the revenues of radio stations.

Google Video (closed January 2009)


Google Video was what Google came up with before they bought YouTube. To start with, it just re-broadcast TV shows and made them searchable. Google then started to allow users to upload. And then the TV-show bit was dropped. They then bought YouTube and turned Google Video into an online video rental service, which they shut a few months later.

Dodgeball (closed January 2009)


This was Google’s early location check-in service, similar to what Foursquare is today. It was perhaps ahead of its time – there were far fewer smartphone users out there.

Jaiku (closed January 2009)


Jaiku is a microblogging service that Google bought in 2007 and for some reason has done nothing with since. It still exists, but is unsupported.

Google Notebook (Closed January 2009)


This was a tool that allowed you to cut and paste images, text and search results and paste them into an online notebook that you could share with others.

Google Catalogs (Closed January 2009)


This was supposed to be a smart way that you could search through consumer catalogues.

Google Print Ads (Closed January 2009)


As with Google Audio, Google print ads failed because it couldn’t give advertisers the measurability that search and online ads were good at.

Google Page Creator (Closed August 2008)


This was Google’s very own WYSIWYG website builder. It was always a bit clunky, and shut up shop two years ago…

Google Answers (Closed November 2006)


Never quite up to the other Q&A offerings out there – particularly Yahoo Answers – this service closed down in 2006. And that might have been due to cost – Google paid people to answer questions, rather than relying on crowd-sourced input like other services.

That’s it for now

Google launches so many new products that some of them are bound to fail. We’ve all tried out website ideas, only to lose enthusiasm as the project continues. But Google is a good role model – it doesn’t cry over spilt milk, but tries to learn something and use that information in the next idea.

Have you tried and failed, and learned something new? Leave us a comment below.

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