Google has made an unprecedented number of service cuts today as the company continues to reduce development and running costs in the difficult economic environment.
The cuts include the closure of microblogging platform Jaiku, mobile location service Dodgeball, Google Catalog search, and Google Notebook. Notebook though will be kept online, but with all development stopped and the browser extension no longer supported.
Google Video will also be downgraded, with users no longer able to upload video to the service, being forced to use YouTube instead.
The cut to Jaiku puts what was once a promising platform out of its misery. Since acquiring Jaiku, Google has all but ignored the service, culminating in a weekend long and seemingly unnoticed downtime in August. See our previous coverage here.
Dodgeball was a service that led the field in geolocation based social networking in a time before GPS made it easier to use, and more appealing. Notably at the time they acquired it, a Google spokesman said that “and (we) don’t have any announced plans for it.” Dodgeball’s founders left Goolge in April 2008, citing a lack of development support.
Google Notebook was an early entrant into web based notebooks that like the broader space didn’t really take off. It was a useful product, but not as easy to use as say a notebook on the computer you were on at the time, and likewise if you needed to take longer notes, Google Docs is a better choice, which is exactly one alternative Google has suggested in its post about Notebook ceasing development. Users will retain full access to Notebook online for the foreseeable future, but support for the browser extension is being dropped.
Google Catalog Search was a strange service that offered something like Google Book Search but for catalogs; I’m yet to meet anyone who has used it.
Last, Google Video, Google’s original foray into online video before it acquired YouTube is switching off uploads; videos currently uploaded to the service will remain. No word yet as to whether YouTube will now accept video longer than 10 minutes, one of Google Video’s still strong selling points today.
UPDATE: suggestions are that Jaiku won’t be completely shut, but open sourced and supported by volunteers. Post to follow.