Google pulls the plug on more products – the Larry Page clean-up continues

September 2, 2011

It’s no secret that the new, Larry Page-led Google is pruning its sprawling collection of products.

Page said so himself on the company’s quarterly earnings conference call, and the recent closures of Slide (a social networking firm Google acquired for $179 million a year ago), Google Labs and Google Health, have made it clear that Page is a man of his word.

Ten more Google products were put on the chopping block on Friday — or as Google put it more delicately in a post on its official blog, the products were swept up in a “spring-clean.”

“Over the next few months we’ll be shutting down a number of products and merging others into existing products as features,” said Google Senior Vice President Alan Eustace in the blog post.

Among the latest casualties: Aardvark, a pioneering social question-and-answer service that had earned praise from tech pundits before Google acquired it in 2010; Fast Flip, a two-year-old tool that allows readers to quickly “flip” through pages of digital newspapers and magazines, and Sidewiki a tool that lets people leave comments about specific Web pages as they browse.

Eustace noted that all the Google employees working on these projects will be moved over to “higher-impact products.”

“We’ve never been afraid to try big, bold things, and that won’t change,” he said. “We’ll continue to take risks on interesting new technologies with a lot of potential. But by targeting our resources more effectively, we can focus on building world-changing products with a truly beautiful user experience.”

For Google investors, trimming the products is a welcome signal that the Web giant is serious about staying focused and keeping costs under control. But it’s not yet clear how all this tidying-up is going down with the engineers at the Googleplex whose own projects could be next.

The other products in Google’s Spring clean announced on Friday are Desktop, Google Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook and Subscriber Links.

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