Google on Wednesday announced it is deprecating almost all download options for Project Hosting on Google Code. The company is blaming “increasing misuse” for the move.

For those who don’t know, Google Code is the company’s developer site featuring APIs and technical resources. The Project Hosting section gives users version control for open source code.

This is not a complete deprecation (yet), and Google has a timeline that is worth laying out:

  • As of May 22, 2013 (today), existing projects that do not have any downloads and all new projects have lost the ability to create downloads.
  • On January 15, 2014, existing projects with downloads will lose the ability to create new downloads.
  • All existing downloads in existing projects will continue to be accessible for the foreseeable future.

You might be wondering what misuse exactly forced Google to make this move. The company wouldn’t say anything beyond that downloads “have become a source of abuse with a significant increase in incidents recently” and that it has a “desire to keep our community safe and secure.”

It’s not clear if this download feature was being used to spread pornography, pirated content, malware, or some other type of content Google deems abusive. Either way, the company apparently decided it would rather kill the feature than continue to fight the abusers.

This is rather unfortunate as many projects use public downloads to host and distribute files, whether for open source purposes or for personal distribution. So what happens to those that need to periodically create new downloads? Google unsurprisingly recommends switching to Google Drive.

In fact, Google has set up a FAQ for just this purpose. Here are the instructions:

  1. Create a new Google Drive account for your project’s downloads.
  2. Create a folder for your project’s downloads. Choose a descriptive name for this folder such as “Downloads for project-name.”
  3. Share this folder publicly on the Web by entering their email addresses in the “Add people” text box and selecting the “Can edit” option.
  4. Upload the files in your project’s downloads to this folder on Google Drive.
  5. Inform your users that downloads have been moved to Google Drive and give them the link to the folder you created in step two above.
  6. Consider adding a link to the folder (created in step two above) under the External links section in the left navigation area on your Project Home -> Summary page. You can create the link through the Links section on the Administer->Project Summary page.

This is hardly a good solution, especially for those who want to offer their open source projects for download by the public. This is move is once again another example of Google killing off a feature that it deems to be overlapping with another of its products.

See also – Google will officially retire its Checkout service on November 20, urges US merchants to consider Google Wallet and Google to shut down Calendar features, Google Sync, Google Calendar Sync, Issue Tracker Data API, and Punchd

Top Image Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino / Getty Images