If Google were a TV show, it’d undoubtedly be Game of Thrones. Like Game of Thrones, it’ll introduce a prominent new character (app) that has the potential to change everything, only to see it killed off in the next season. The most recent victims: Inbox and Google+, two apps that were once seen as game-changers for their respective fields.
Granted, we’ve known the end was coming for some time, but I’m still sad to see them go.
Inbox launched in 2014 as a revolutionary take on email. It introduced several features that eventually made their way onto Gmail proper, including the ability to snooze messages, set reminders, and use AI to speed up replies. Still, these features are not as prominent as they were in Inbox, which makes me think most people likely end up using Gmail way they always have.
It’s not all a loss though. Popular email app Spark, in many ways similar in spirit to Inbox, makes its way from iOS to Android today. You’ll find plenty of other apps looking to reinvent email throughout the Google Play Store and App Store as well.
Then there’s Google+. For a brief few months, it was the biggest threat in Facebook’s history – and remains so to date. But while it never caught on in quite the same way, it developed something of a cult following within various communities, including developers, photographers, researchers, and more.
For a while, Google was happy to just let its social network chill around in its limbo of forgotten apps. Then it discovered a security flaw that may have affected as many as 500,000 users, and said it would shutter the service in August 2019. Then it found another security flaw, and moved up its timeline by four months – to now – because it couldn’t be bothered to fix it.
It’s not just Inbox and Google+ either. The company also killed off goo.gl over the weekend, a handy URL shortener tool in the vein of bit.ly. A few weeks ago, it permanently shut down Allo, what was supposed to be its replacement for Hangouts and its competitor to iMessage.
We all know Google likes to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks, but let’s hope the company can be a little more selective about the products it launches and maintains in the future. Seriously, there’s a whole website dedicated to apps, services, and hardware Google has slain. I can’t have my heart broken anymore.