Google will be closing underperforming services as announced on Tuesday. Search Timeline, Knol and Friend Connect along with other services which will retire soon. According to the blog posted by Google’s Senior Vice President of Operations Urs Holzle, the company is in the process of closing its products that have not met the company’s expectations. Some of the products or services will be integrated as features to other broader services while others will completely be shut down.
Google informed that its Friend Connect service will be “retiring” for all non-Blogger sites by the 1st of March. Among the services to be closed, the most high-profile may be Friend Connect. This product allows websites to incorporate social features into their sites. Through this, visitors can view other users, add comments to their posts, sign in and vote in polls. Friend Connect was launched in 2008 and competed with Friend Connect, a similar service offered by Facebook. Not long after the release of Friend Connect, rival Facebook blocked the service from access to Facebook’s user data. Facebook argued that the Friend Connect’s redistribution of user data did not obtain proper authorization from Facebook users.
For those who will be affected by Friend Connect’s closing, Google advises websites to create a Google+ page or have a Google+ badge that will add some features similar to Friend Connect.
Another service that will be retiring soon is Search Timeline. This service displays results for search questions into a historical graph. However, search results can still be seen in a specified time period. Tools found on the search page’s left-hand side provide this feature.
A service similar to Wikipedia that will be shut down soon is Knol. It allows user collaboration in writing articles. Operation of this service will be until April 30 and users can download content from Knol only until October 1. Google invites users to use Annotum, a similar platform, instead.
Another service that Google will be getting rid of is the Bookmarks Lists. This service that allows people to share their bookmarks will be closed on December 9. Google pointed out though, that the Bookmarks service, which allows users to organize and store bookmarks will still be available.