Google Axes iGoogle, Google Mini, Others as House Cleaning Continues

In seeking to reduce and consolidate the services it offers, Google is again cutting some of its online applications and services used by its customers. The cutbacks are part of a service streamlining and "spring cleaning" the company began last year.

The Google Mini enterprise search appliance, the iGoogle personalized home page and several other Web-based services will be phased out by the company in the coming months as part of a Google services overhaul that began last September.

The company is continuing to trim some products that are "not having the impact we strive for,€ Matt Eichner, general manager of Global Enterprise Search at Google, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

On July 31, Google will end production of the Google Mini enterprise search appliance and replace it with similar existing services provided by the Google Search Appliance, Google Site Search and Google Commerce Search, Eichner wrote. The company will "continue to provide technical support to Mini customers for the duration of their contracts and will reach out to them shortly with more details."

The Google Mini appliances were released to help companies to create a beneficial new search feature for internal use or to help a Web-based company offer a zippier or more cutting-edge query corner for its audience, according to an earlier report. The Minis could index 200,000 and 300,000 documents, costing $6,000 and $9,000, respectively. The original Mini, introduced in 2005, cost $3,000 and could handle up to 100,000 documents.

Also being shelved is iGoogle, the Google home page service that could be personalized by users to give them a unique experience. It will be retired Nov. 1, because it failed to build sufficient momentum with Web users. "We originally launched iGoogle in 2005 before anyone could fully imagine the ways that today's Web and mobile apps would put personalized, real-time information at your fingertips," Eichner wrote. "With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for iGoogle has eroded over time, so we€™ll be winding it down." Google will give existing users 16 months to adjust or export their data so they can keep it when the service shuts down.

Another service, Google Talk Chatback, is also being cut because it is "outdated," Eichner wrote in his post. The service, which "allowed Websites to embed a Google Talk widget so that they could engage with their visitors," is now being replaced with similar services from the Meebo bar, which was recently acquired by Google. Meebo allows users to create a customized stream of online content and information that matches their interests. Google will now try to encourage Websites to replace their Google Talk Chatback widgets with Meebo.