Google announced on Friday that it is shutting down a number of properties in the coming months, the most notable of which is likely its failed social network, Google Buzz. Best known as that annoying thing under “Inbox” in Gmail, Google Buzz was a Twitter-like service that never gained traction. Buzz encouraged users to share status updates, photos and more that could then be viewed by friends in real time, however it offered no compelling features compared to already established services such as Facebook and Twitter. Google will also shutter several additional services in the near future, including Jaiku, a social network the company acquired in 2007, and Code search, a tool that helped programmers search for open source code. Google Buzz will shut down in the coming weeks while Jaiku and Code Search will both go offline on January 15th, 2012 along with a few other seldom-used Google services. More →
Contrary to popular belief, the mighty force that is the Google empire is not exactly recession proof. The company announced yesterday that it was laying off roughly 100 employees and making some pretty significant “alterations” to its product offerings. None of the major Google services (Gmail, Google Docs, etc) were affected, but a number of minor Google products have been relegated to a virtual death row sentence. Jaiku is being shifted to the Google App Engine, which essentially means that the company will cease any and all official support, though Jaiku accounts will continue to function for the foreseeable future. Google Notebooks, Google Catalogs, Dodgeball, Google Video, and Google Mashup Editor, however, will all meet a similar fate, though Google Notebooks will simply be closed to any new user signups and Google video will still allows users to view existing content, though new content uploads will be disabled very shortly. All told, while it’s not a huge blow to the company’s bread-and-butter, it’s yet another example of just how bad the economic situation has become, and leads us to question whether a seemingly impenetrable company like Google will be able to keep up with future innovation and new service offerings.
By “Jaiku is the new Twitter”, we’re hardly suggesting it is a popular new microblogging site that may overtake the reigning king. No, that ship has sailed. We mean it never works anymore. Twitter seems to have been spending cash found during its recent funding round very well. It made a few key hires, sought a bit of outside help and now downtime is a thing of the past (for now at least). On the other hand you have Jaiku, the young scrapper with a promising future cut short by a Google acquisition. Let’s take a look at what we’ve seen from Jaiku since it was snatched up by the big G:
- Registration closed, invite only
- A huge spike in traffic, followed by a huge drop-off
- Server issues
- Moved to Google Apps engine
- Server issues
It becomes quite apparent that Google isn’t all too interested in the present community aspects of Jaiku. Instead, it has been hypothesized that Google was likely more interested in Jaiku’s mobile presence applications; a live phone book of sorts where users can view the status of each of their contacts and even post messages and replies from right within the app. Sounds like something that might be a pretty interesting addition to Android, no? Whether or not this is the case, it seems to be a fair assumption that Google doesn’t have much interest in the current Jaiku users. The service has been up and down all week and now users have been informed via the screen capture above, that Jaiku will be taking a vacation all weekend. As the message on Jaiku’s homepage suggests, now is probably a good time for Jaiku users to find other ways to communicate.