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Google Shuts Down Dozens of Pointless Products

Before I had serious Google problems to complain about--like Android--I use to complain that the online giant suffered from "throw it at the wall and see what sticks" disease, where it would appear to just release, willy-nilly, any web service or application that some random employee came up with over a weekend.

Apparently this is changing under new CEO Larry Page, and the company announced this week via the Official Google Blog that it is cleaning house and eliminating a bunch of truly silly products.

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

Among the fallen are such things as Google Desktop and Google Pack, both of which were aimed at Windows users, and both of which I've written about in the past. (I wrote about Google Pack twice--here and here, and about Google Desktop in my Windows Secrets books.)

Much is being made in the tech blogosphere about this change--John C. Dvorak notes that many of these things are "unknown to most people" and argues that Google, like Yahoo before it is "totally clueless about marketing and publicity"--but I think the bigger point here is that Google is finally growing up. I have no idea why it bothered with this cruft in the first place. But getting rid of it all is absolutely the correct decision.

Indeed, this is the type of hard-nosed decision making Microsoft should be making when it comes to removing similarly pointless applications and services from Windows 8. I'm talking about things like Media Center, which even Microsoft admits no one uses, or the reprehensible XPS document platform, which never should have been hatched in the first place.

Just a thought.

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