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12 Notable Failed Google Products: A Brief Overview

It's no secret that Google holds an esteemed footing among tech giants like Apple and Microsoft. The search giant has come up with numerous successes over the years such as Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome browser and more. However, even the biggest companies make mistakes and some of their products fail before they could reach their full potential. So in this article, we'll take a brief look back at some of Google's greatest fails; from technologies that never quite took off to services that were simply ahead of their time - it's sure to be a revealing read!

Failed Google Products

1. Google+


Google+, the social media platform launched by Google, has largely been deemed a failure in the eyes of consumers. Despite its launch in 2011, it failed to compete with other major social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and ultimately fell short of Google's expectations for its growth and popularity. One major contributing factor to its failure may have been timing: Google+ was launched well after Facebook and Twitter had already gained notoriety and established themselves as dominant players in the social media game. While it may have had some unique features, Google+'s inability to attract a large user base ultimately led to its demise.


2. Google Wave


Google Wave was an innovative communication platform that was expected to revolutionize the way we interact online. However, despite the hype and anticipation surrounding it, the platform ultimately failed to gain traction and was shut down shortly after its launch. So, why did Google Wave fail? There are a number of factors that contribute to its demise, including its complex user interface, limited user adoption, and the fact that it was ahead of its time. Despite the failure of Google Wave, it serves as a reminder that innovation is a risky business that requires a careful balance of timing, execution, and user adoption.


3. Google Answers


Google Answers, one of the lesser-known services of the company, was launched in 2002 as a platform for users to ask and answer questions. Despite having an initial buzz surrounding its launch, the product ultimately failed. Several reasons have been attributed to its failure, including the rise of more up-to-date services like Quora and Yahoo Answers, as well as the cumbersome process that deterred users from asking questions.


4. Google Talk


Google Talk, nicknamed “Gtalk”, was one of Google’s earliest messaging platforms that were introduced back in 2005. It was an attempt by the tech giant to establish its presence in the instant messaging arena, which was dominated by MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, and the then-popular AOL Instant Messenger. However, despite being simple, fast and user-friendly, the platform failed to gain much traction and was eventually retired in 2017. So, what went wrong? There are many theories out there, ranging from Google’s seemingly constant product adjustments to the emergence of newer communication apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.


5. Inbox by Gmail


Inbox by Gmail was a highly anticipated product from Google. People were hoping that this new email service would revolutionize the way they managed their inboxes. However, despite all the praise it initially received, Inbox by Gmail ultimately failed. The question on everyone's mind is why. Some people speculate that it was because Gmail already had a large user base, while others believe that the design and user interface were too convoluted for everyday use. Whatever the reason may be, it's clear that Google's Inbox by Gmail failed to live up to expectations.


6. Google Desktop


Google Desktop, is a product designed to provide quick and easy access to information on users' computers. Despite its initial popularity, the tool has ultimately failed to maintain a strong user base and has been discontinued. Many speculate that the rise of cloud-based storage and the integration of search functions into operating systems have made desktop search tools obsolete. In addition, privacy concerns may have been a contributing factor in its failure as users became increasingly wary of the amount of personal information being tracked and stored.


7. Google Glass


Back in 2013, Google introduced an innovative product that took the tech industry by storm - Google Glass. This cutting-edge wearable technology promised to change the way we interacted with the world around us. However, despite its initial hype and excitement, Google Glass ultimately failed to take off. There were a variety of reasons for this, ranging from privacy concerns to the fact that the device was simply too expensive for most consumers. However, irrespective of the exact reasons, it is clear that Google Glass was a less-than-successful product for the tech giant.


8. Google URL Shortener


Initially launched in 2009, the service was designed to provide short, manageable links that could be easily shared. However, it eventually lost out to other similar services and ultimately became defunct in 2018. So, why did the Google URL Shortener fail? There were several factors, including market saturation and Google's own lack of investment in promoting and developing the product.


9. Google Buzz


Google Buzz was a social networking and messaging tool that was launched back in 2010 to compete with popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter. However, it failed to gain traction, with many users finding it confusing and invasive. The main reason behind Buzz's failure was its privacy issues. Google faced backlash for automatically opting in all Gmail users and displaying their contacts to the public. Despite its promising start, Google Buzz became a forgotten relic in the tech world, reminding us that even big companies can stumble.


10. Google Video


Google initially launched Google Video in 2005 as a search engine to help users find video content online. However, Google Video could not keep up with YouTube's growing popularity, which Google later acquired in 2006. In an attempt to compete with other video-sharing platforms, Google introduced features like uploading and sharing videos. Still, it failed to gain traction among users and eventually shut down its standalone service and transferred all content to YouTube.


11. Knol


Despite being launched by the tech giant Google in 2008, Knol, an online encyclopedia, failed to gain the same popularity as its competitors like Wikipedia. The platform allowed authors to write articles on specific topics but lacked the collaborative element that made Wikipedia so successful. Furthermore, Knol's interface was confusing and difficult to navigate for users. Without the necessary community and user-friendly design, Knol became a neglected product and eventually shut down in 2012.


12. Google Health


Google Health, one of the company's notable missteps, aimed to create a central hub for health records and data, connecting doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies in the process. Despite being well-intentioned, Google Health ultimately failed to gain traction due to a number of factors. While the exact reasons for its failure are up for debate, it's clear that Google Health struggled to overcome a lack of trust and privacy concerns among consumers, as well as stiff competition from already-established healthcare companies. In any case, Google's foray into the healthcare industry serves as a reminder that even the most successful technology companies can struggle when trying to expand beyond their core competencies.


Most Asked Questions


1. What led to the failure of Google Plus?


Google Plus was a project introduced by the tech giant in 2011 as a social networking site. At the time, Google aimed to level the playing field by offering a unique platform that could take on the biggest social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. However, the site failed to resonate with consumers. So, what led to the failure of Google Plus? Some critics attribute the platform's inability to attract users to its complex user interface, while others suggest a lack of marketing and promotion. Many complaints about the site's functionality and privacy settings, like providing too much data, ultimately contributed to its downfall. The lack of user engagement and a clear value proposition also made it challenging for the site to compete with dominant platforms. As a result, Google Plus shut down in 2019, ending a failed experiment in the social media world.


2. How does Google decide which projects to keep and which to drop?


Well, it all comes down to a number of factors. Google looks at things such as user engagement, revenue potential, competition, and strategic fit when considering the fate of a project. If a product is not performing well in any of these areas, it may be discontinued. Google understands the importance of streamlining its offerings in order to stay competitive and meet users' needs. Ultimately, the decision to drop a product is not an easy one, but it is a necessary part of a successful business strategy.


3. What lessons can be learned from Google's failed products?


The tech industry is notorious for being competitive and fast-paced, with companies like Google constantly striving for innovation. However, even for tech giants like Google, new products can sometimes fail to take off. When this happens, it's important to take a step back and reflect on what lessons can be learned. For Google, there have been several products that have fallen short of expectations, such as Google+, Google Glass, and Google Wave. While these may have been disappointments, they offer valuable insights for other companies in the industry. Some of the lessons that can be learned from Google's failed products include the importance of listening to customer feedback, making sure there's a clear need for a product before bringing it to market, and being willing to pivot or even abandon a project if it's not performing well. Ultimately, these lessons can help companies avoid the pitfalls that Google has experienced, and create products that truly resonate with consumers.


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