As part of its effort to minimize resources while also focusing on products that they feel could improve users’ lives, Google announced that it was continuing its spring cleaning program and shared that it’s going to end a bunch of more features that just haven’t necessarily gained any traction–bringing the total number of features deadpooled at nearly 60 since they started last fall.
You might remember that last year around this time, Google told its users that as technology improves, people change and that as a result, some services were going to be shuttered. Their goal was to help make the user experience much simpler and improve what they called the “overall Google experience”. Past features that have ceased to exist include Aardvark, Desktop, Fast Flip, Google Pack, and many others–many, if not all, were probably not well-known to the masses. A year later, the search engine giant is back at it again, this time taking out services like removing +1 reporting within Webmaster Tools, getting rid of the Google News Badge and Recommended Services, eliminating the option for users to choose backgrounds for Google with Classic Plus, consolidating storage and reducing capacity on Google storage, and eliminating AdSense for Feeds.
While most of the recently deceased services are relatively unknown, a couple probably affect more users than the rest. For one, the discontinuation of AdSense for Feeds will be a bit of a shock to those publishers who had previously made revenue off of their RSS feed. AdSense for Feeds was essentially the monetization feature for FeedBurner and several years ago had replaced Feedburner’s Ad Network soon after it was acquired by Google in 2008–and now that too is being shuttered. This is the latest step in the slow demise of Feedburner–its API feed was taken offline, it no longer has a Twitter account, and it’s Google+ profile no longer exists. If you have your RSS feed distributed through Feedburner, don’t worry about looking for a new service as it doesn’t seem to be going away (yet), but you will not be able to make any money off of your RSS feed–doesn’t matter how popular your feed is. AdSense for Feeds will officially be closed on December 3.
A few months ago, Google rolled out their Drive feature and that it was going to compete against Dropbox. It had some fanfare with it debuting with 5 GB of data, rivaling Dropbox’s free 2 GB of data. This storage was in addition to all the other free storage offered through Google services like Picasa and GMail. Now, with this latest round of spring cleaning, Google Drive’s storage is being combined with Picasa so that you will have a total of 5 GB of storage to be used across both services. However, if you are paying for your service and have a 100 GB storage capacity, then your free storage will be counted towards your total. So while you’re paying for 100 GB, you’re not going to get the free 5 GB added to your total.
None of the soon-to-be sunset features have a standard retirement date, but expect it to happen sometime before the end of the year, if not the next few weeks.
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