Google is in a vicious build-retire cycle

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 16, 2016
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Google

Google created or bought several long-standing successful products since the company started out as a startup to revolutionize search.

The most successful products are probably Google Search, Gmail, Chrome, Maps, Adsense/Adwords, Android and YouTube.

Lately however, the company has been in a vicious cycle of creating or buying new products or services, and retiring them later on.

One prime example of this is Google+. Once hailed as Google's answer to social media giant Facebook, it is pushed out of products it once was forcefully integrated in, and slowly withering away.

Google+ coincidentally replaced the company's Google Buzz and Google Friend Connect products, and maybe also Orkut.

One side product of Google+ was Hangouts, and a part of that was Google+ Hangouts on Air. Google announced quietly that it will retire Hangouts on Air on September 12. The company wants broadcasters and users to switch over to YouTube Live instead.

Some of the apps that Hangouts on Air broadcasters could make use of, Q&A, Showcase and Applause, are not available on YouTube Live.

Things get crowded on the messaging front as well. Google announced back in May that it would launch two new mobile-only messaging applications.

Duo is a video chat app tied to the device's phone number, and the core feature of it is that it is dead easy to use, and that you see a preview of the caller on the screen.

Allo on the other hand is a messaging app with an assistant. It ties to the phone number too, and the one thing that sets it apart from myriads of other messaging apps is the assistant.

Google wants the assistant to learn from your chats, and base suggestions on that. The assistant supports the usual "digital assistant" things like answering your questions or booking a restaurant table for you.

Allo and Duo are two messaging services that are launched besides Google's Hangouts and Messenger services.

Google Spaces is another product in the messaging vertical. It is "designed to make group sharing easier".

Google does not mind pushing out new products, and retiring products that don't fit the company's strategy anymore.

If you check out Wikipedia's list of discontinued products, you find several listed there that any other company would be glad to continue. One does not have to go back to the discontinuation of Google Reader for that. The company retired Google Code and Picasa in 2016 for instance.

The future

It seems likely that Google will continue to create and buy products, and cancel some of them months or years later.

Even popular services such as Gmail don't appear to be safe, as Google launched Inbox some time ago that provides similar functionality, and might as well replace Gmail with it at one point in time.

I stopped jumping on the Google hype-wagon a long time ago because of the company's tendency to retire products.

I'm not saying that Google is not creating or acquiring great products. It is clear however that Google has a tendency of trying things, and discontinuing them.

Now You: What's your opinion on this?

Google is in a vicious build-retire cycle
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Google is in a vicious build-retire cycle
Google created or bought several long-standing successful since the company started out as a startup to revolutionize search.
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  1. The Dark Lady said on July 9, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Martin, I would appreciate that you do not censor this post, as it’s informative writing.

    Onur, there is a misleading statement “[…] GIFs are animated images …”. No, obviously you don’t seem to have take much notice of what you were told back in March regarding; Graphics Interchange Format (GIF).

    For example, (if you had read my replies within that thread, you might have learnt something useful). I even mentioned, “GIF intrinsically supports animated images (GIF89a)”.

    You linked to said article, [Related: …] within this article, but have somehow failed to take onboard what support you were given by several more knowledgeable people.

    If you used AI to help write this article, it has failed miserably.

  2. KeZa said on August 17, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    AI is stupid, and it will not get any better if we really know how this all works. Prove me wrong..

  3. Database failure said on August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

    Martin, [#comment-4569908] is only meant to be in: []. Whereas it appears duplicated in several recent random low-quality non relevant articles.

    Obviously it [#comment-4569908] was posted: 9 July 2023. Long before this thread even existed… your database is falling over. Those comments are supposed to have unique ID values. It shouldn’t be possible to duplicate the post ID, if the database had referential integrity.

  4. Howard Pearce said on August 25, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t tell me!

    Ghacks wants the state to step in for STATE-MANDATED associations to save jobs!!!

    Bring in the dictatorship!!!

    And screw Rreedom of Association – too radical for Ghacks maybe

  5. Howard Allan Pearce said on September 7, 2023 at 9:13 am

    GateKeeper ?

    That’s called “appointing” businesses to do the state’s dirty work!!!!!

    But the article says itself that those appointed were not happy – implying they had not choice!!!!!!

  6. owl said on September 7, 2023 at 9:50 am

    @The Dark Lady,
    @Database failure,
    @Howard Pearce,
    @Howard Allan Pearce,

    Note: I replaced the quoted URI scheme: https:// with “>>” and posted.

    The current is owned by “Softonic International S.A.” (sold by Martin in October 2019), and due to the fate of M&A, has changed in quality.
    Many Authors of bloggers and advertisers certified by Softonic have joined the site, and the site is full of articles aimed at advertising and clickbait.
    As it stands, except for articles by Martin Brinkmann, Mike Turcotte, and Ashwin, they are low quality, unhelpful, and even vicious. It is better not to read those articles.
    How to display only articles by a specific author:
    Added line to My filters in uBlock Origin:,.home-posts,.home-category-post:not(:has-text(/Martin Brinkmann|Mike Turcotte|Ashwin/))

    By the way, if you use an RSS reader, you can track exactly where your comments are (I’m an iPad user, so I use “Feedly Classic”, but for Windows I prefer the desktop app “RSS Guard”).
    RSS Guard: Feed reader which supports RSS/ATOM/JSON and many web-based feed services.

  7. Anonymous said on September 14, 2023 at 6:41 pm

    We all live in digital surveillance glass houses under scrutiny of evil people because of people like Musk. It’s only fair that he takes his turn.

  8. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:31 pm

    “Operating systems will be required to let the user choose the browser, virtual assistant and search engine of their choice. Microsoft cannot force users to use Bing or Edge. Apple will have to open up its iOS operating system to allow third-party app stores, aka allow sideloading of apps. Google, on the other hand, will need to provide users with the ability to uninstall preloaded apps (bloatware) from Android devices. Online services will need to allow users to unsubscribe from their platform easily. Gatekeepers need to provide interoperability with third-parties that offer similar services.”

    Wonderful ! Let’s hope they’ll comply with that law more than they are doing with the GDPR.

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