Google Dumps Six Services, Including Picnik and Google Sky Map

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 21, 2012
Updated • Jan 21, 2012

Google has just announced the third wave of product retirements after retiring Google Buzz and Knol, Wave, Friend Connect and Google Gears previously. The official Google blog lists six products that will be discontinued in 2012 of which the majority of Internet and Google users probably never heard of.

Picnic is probably the services that most users have heard about. It is a photo online editor that Google acquired in 2010. Some of the functionality has since then been integrated into Google+ or other services. Users who open the Picnic website as of today will notice an announcement on top that states that the service will shut down on April 19, 2012.

Picnic premium features have been enabled for all users in the meantime, and premium users who paid for the extras will get a refund. Google notes that users can export their data using Picnit Takeout, a server that lets them download the photos to the desktop or copy them over to Google's social networking service Google+.

Alternatives are Pixlr, Psykopaint and Aviary among others.

The five services that get dumped as well are:

  • Google Message Continuity (GMC): An email disaster recovery product for Enterprise customers that "use Google's cloud to back up emails originally sent or received in an on-premise, Microsoft Exchange system". Google notes that while the service has seen hundreds of sign ups since launch, the cloud based Google Apps service offering a similar functionality has seen millions in that time. GMC customers can use the service until their contract expires. Google asks customers to consider moving to Google Apps instead.
  • Google Sky Map: This product will be open-sourced which means that development will continue and availability is ensured.
  • Needlebase: A data management platform that will be retired on June 1, 2012. Google is currently evaluating options to integrate the technology into other data-related products.
  • Social Graphi API: The api, used to reveal public connections between people on the web, has been deprecated and will be fully retired on April 20, 2012.
  • Urchin: This product became the foundation of Google Analytics. The client hosted version, known as Urchin software, is retired after March 2012.

It is likely that those six services are not the last that Google will retire in this year. What is your take on this? A much needed retirement of unprofitable services or something that was not really necessary at all?


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  1. Justin Berry-Gowan said on February 25, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    for new google tomorrow on sunday 12:00 AM and threw 2012 new for 2012 and 2013 2014 then watching t.v. new commercails just watch old commercails tomorrow and then starting on t.v. google chome shows and numbers with your t.v shows and on the computers and everywere tomorrow with new google font tomorrow.

  2. fokka said on January 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    first i was like WTF, but then i remembered picasa and the recent features which were added in version 3.9, so i think picnik shouldn’t be missed that much, especially when version 4 is released.

    the retirement of sky map was a shocker, too, but seeing that it is beeing open sourced makes my inner geek even happier.

    i can’t say much about the other services, but to me it doesn’t seem half as bad as it first sounded.

  3. Varun said on January 22, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Can anybody explain to me the logic behind closing already established services? It must have taken them quite a bit of resources, time and money to set all these up, yet they retire these services.
    Even if the argument is that they are not heavily used, at least somebody might be using them. How does it affect them if these services are just lying around without any further development and new features being added? They might occasionally be used by people. Picnik could have been something that could prove useful for somebody, even if it’s once a year!

    1. JMGG said on January 22, 2012 at 8:29 am

      You’re right about expending resources, time, and money on these services, as well as there being people who use them, but you also need to keep in mind they’re taking what they learned from those services and using it to make other services more complete. That way energy is conserved and consumers simply move to the product they are more likely already using for what the other product was doing only.

  4. JMGG said on January 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I think it’s a smart move for them as they have often been criticized for being too spread out over a variety of services. Now that they are moving features around in some cases, like the photo editing into G+, and then removing redundant services, like the email backup system (I think that’s what it said, correct me if I’m wrong) they are making more efficient use of their resources and bringing the company more together in terms of integration. Glad to see Google is progressing nicely:)

  5. kalmly said on January 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    That’s cloud computing. It rains on you one day, floats away the next.

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