Cloud Computing: Google Health, PowerMeter Join Other Failed Web Service Initiatives
Google June 24 quietly announced it will close Google Health and Google PowerMeter, two Web services that failed to catch on among consumers. Health was an ambitious initiative that invited consumers to store their personal health records on Google's cloud system, a prospect that concerned some people who thought the company might leverage their health care status for targeted ads. PowerMeter was a much more environmentally friendly and seemingly innocuous application. It was a Google.org effort to help consumers gauge their daily power consumption in the home from an iGoogle gadget on their computers. Health and PowerMeter are the first two significant products to be killed off under the aegis of new CEO Larry Page, who took over for Eric Schmidt in April. The products are also just the latest of several once-prominent Web service initiatives and applications that Google had to sunset because of lack of interest. No interest means no money-making opportunities for Google, which relies on large-scale platforms to serve people ads. The biggest of these failures was arguably Google Wave, the real-time collaboration platform the search engine giant abandoned last August following a super-hyped launch in May 2009. Wave, which let users upload documents, photos, videos and other content and share them with colleagues on the fly, simply never caught on beyond its 1 million-plus users. This made it a niche product that Google's management no longer saw fit to dedicate dozens of engineers to. Disillusioned after his baby was terminated early, Wave creator Lars Rasmussen took himself and his considerable real-time programming talents to Facebook. This eWEEK slide show reviews the major cloud services Google has shelved.