Google Spring Cleaning Includes Aardvark, Sidewiki, Fast Flip

Google Sept. 2 said it was winding down several more software products, including its Aardvark purchase, Sidewiki, Fast Flip, Google Pack, Google Desktop and more.

Goodbye, Aardvark, Sidewiki and Fast Flip, we hardly used ye.

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) continued its summer product discontinuation binge Sept. 2 with a fresh purging of the aforementioned products and other little-used Web services.

"Over the next few months we'll be shutting down a number of products and merging others into existing products as features,"wrote Alan Eustace, Google senior vice president.

"This will make things much simpler for our users, improving the overall Google experience. It will also mean we can devote more resources to high-impact products-the ones that improve the lives of billions of people. All the Googlers working on these projects will be moved over to higher-impact products."

The move is part of Google CEO Larry Page's "more wood behind fewer arrows" bid to put the company's focus on core products, such as search through, mobile through Android, Chrome on the desktop and YouYube for video.

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

Without further ado here is Google's complete list of new Web service closings:

  • Aardvark, the social Q&A service Google bought in February 2010 and tucked into Google Labs. As with Slide, Aardvark worked separately from the Google+ team. Users may grab their Aardvark data through Sept. 30, the Aardvark team at Google said.
  • Sidewiki, a sidebar annotation service that let users leave comments and annotations about Web pages and articles they felt strongly about. Few people used it with enough regularity to make it worth sustaining. Authors will be able to download their content before the service closes.
  • Fast Flip, the funky, magazine-style page flipping user interface let users flip through Web pages rapidly to read them. It was used in Google News; Google said this style will live on in other display and delivery tools.
  • Google Notebook: Google ceased development work on this product, which let users add URLs from the Web with typed notes into published documents, two years ago. Users will be able to automatically export all notebook data to Google Docs.
  • Google Desktop: This downloadable desktop software enables text searches of emails, computer files, music, photos, chats, Web pages viewed, etc. It should have died years ago given Google's mission for hosting data and files in the cloud, accessible via Web browsers. Desktop is done Sept. 14.
  • Google Pack: A package of free downloadable apps. Again, due to the decreasing demand for downloadable software in favor of Web apps, Google Pack is now finished. Users may access Google's and its Pack partners software through direct links on the Google Pack Website.
  • Google Maps API for Flash: Launched to provide ActionScript developers a way to integrate Google Maps into their applications, Google is now focusing on the JavaScript Maps API version 3. Google said it will keep supporting existing Google Maps API Premier customers using the Google Maps API for Flash.
  • Google Web Security: Part of the Postini assets Google grabbed in 2007, much of Google Web Security has been added to other Google products, such as safe browsing in Chrome. Google will support existing Web Security customers.
  • Image Labeler: A game to help people explore and label images on the Web.
  • Subscribed Links: Subscribed Links, which enabled developers to create specialized search results that were added to the normal Google search results on relevant queries for subscribed users, will be available for download until Sept. 15.

Google said it will be sure to notify users when services will go dark and allow them to take their data with them.