Google Apps for Teams, Google Listen Are Now History

Google is again trimming back on certain products, including Google Apps for Teams and Google Listen, which is being replaced by Google Play. The cuts in lesser-used services began in June 2011.

Google's well-publicized efforts to consolidate and streamline its online services continues as the search company announced several new service cuts, including the end of Google Apps for Teams and the transitioning of Google Listen over to Google Play.

The changes, which have been ongoing since June 2011 when CEO Larry Page announced a "house-cleaning" program to consolidate many of the company's duplicated and underused online services, were unveiled in an Aug. 3 Google blog post by Max Ibel, the company's director of engineering.

"Technology has the power to change people€™s lives," Ibel wrote. "But to make a difference, we need to carefully consider what to focus on, and make hard decisions about what we won€™t pursue. This enables us to devote more time and resources giving you products you love, and making them better for you."

So far, since the service consolidation efforts began in earnest, Google has changed to about 50 products, features and services, according to Ibel, "so we can focus on the high-impact products that millions of people use, multiple times a day."

In the latest round of service updating, Google is:

  • Shutting down Google Apps for Teams, which was created in 2008 to allow people with verified business or school email addresses to collaborate using non-email applications such as Google Docs, Google Calendar and Google Talk. "Over time, we realized that Google Apps for Teams was not as useful for people as we originally anticipated," so it is being phased out starting Sept. 4, when existing user accounts will be converted into personal Google Accounts. The change will not affect other Google Apps offerings.
  • Discontinuing Google Listen, which was created by Google Labs in August 2009 to give people a way to discover and listen to podcasts. Google Listen service has been eclipsed by Google Play, which will now be Google's default player for podcasts. Existing Listen users can access their existing podcast subscriptions in Google Reader in the €œListen Subscriptions€ folder and download them from the Import/Export tab, according to Ibel.
  • Shutting down Google Video for Business and migrating all hosted videos on the service over to Google Drive, which has similar storage and sharing capabilities, Ibel wrote. Google Video for Business was a video-hosting and -sharing product that allowed Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers to use video for internal communication. The migration to Google Drive will begin in the fall, Ibel wrote. A notable feature of the transition is that all migrated videos will be stored for free and will not count against a user€™s Google Drive storage quota.
  • Closing an unspecified number of infrequently used or updated Google blogs from the company's more than 150 Google-sponsored blog offerings that describe its products, services, research and internal activities. "This doesn't mean that we'll be sharing any less information€”we'll just be posting our updates on our more popular channels," wrote Ibel.

The service cuts come just a month after Google axed several other offerings, including the Google Mini enterprise search appliance line, the iGoogle personalized home page, Google Talk Chatback and Google Video.

Last September, Google dropped its Aardvark, Desktop, Fast Flip and Image Labeler services as the company moved to focus on core products, such as search through, mobile through Android, Chrome on the desktop and YouTube for video.

Page started the house-cleaning in June 2011 when he shuttered Google Health and PowerMeter and moved on to gradually close Google Labs products last July. The cleansing continued last August when Google closed social software unit Slide, an acquisition from last summer that worked independently of the Google+ team.