JACK OF ALL TRADES Google has announced its intention to shut down 10 products worth tens of millions of dollars as part of a cleanup of underperforming aspects of its business.
The cleanup is being orchestrated by Google's CEO Larry Page, who promised to chop inefficiencies as soon as he took over the top job in April.
"Technology improves, people's needs change, some bets pay off and others don't. So, as Larry previewed on our last earnings call, today we're having a fall spring clean at Google," said Alan Eustace, SVP at Google in a blog posting. "Over the next few months we'll be shutting down a number of products and merging others into existing products as features."
The products getting the axe include Aardvark, Desktop, Fast Flip, Google Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook, Sidewiki, and Subscribed Links.
Some of these products were recent purchases, such as search company Aardvark that Google bought last year for $50m, while others have been with the company longer, like Google Web Security, which Google acquired when it bought Postini in 2007.
These are not the first of Google's many products to be shut down. A few weeks ago Google closed its social apps company Slide, which was also a recent acquisition for an even pricier $200m.
Speaking about the reasons for this decision, Eustace said, "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."
What these high impact products are is anyone's guess, but it's clear to most people that the recently launched Google+ social network, which many think is the strongest rival to Facebook's domination of the market, is one of them.
Staff who previously worked on any of the 10 soon to be axed products will be moved to work on other more important Google products, so it looks like jobs are safe amidst the closures.
Google said it will "continue to take risks", suggesting that its acquisition spending spree won't grind to a halt, but it seems that it is now focusing on key areas of its expanding business instead of trying to have a presence in every online technology niche.
Many of these 10 products will be discontinued within the next two weeks. µ
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