More Than Just a Search Engine: Google’s Best, Failed, Unknown Products


When you’re #1 in the online market, way ahead of everything else, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of work behind you – many failed projects, trial and errors, and not-so-famous products that represent the foundation of the success everyone else sees.

Google’s story is no different. We all know about the search engine, about YouTube, Gmail or Google Maps, but Google, too, has a lot of abandoned or unheard-of projects.

Google Answers is probably familiar to many of you. It was a platform similar to Yahoo! Answers, where users could pay for well-documented research. It was launched in 2002 and closed in 2007 because people preferred getting their answers for free.

Another niche where apparently Google still has things to learn is social media. They launched Dodgeball in 2005, which was replaced by Google Latitude in 2009. It was a location-specific social site that didn’t have much success. One year later, they released Jaiku, which was a microblogging social network, similar to Twitter (this similarity brought the end of Jaiku in 2011).

In 2008, they released Google Lively, a 3D-animated chat program that only lasted 6 months. Probably the fact that only Windows OS supported it had something to do with this short life span.

In 2009, Google Wave was born. It was a platform that combined social networking with media sharing, but one year later the developers ceased their work due to lack of interest. In 2010, there was Google Buzz, which combined the social networking and news feed with messaging, file sharing, and microblogging. In 2012, Google Buzz was discontinued on behalf of certain privacy settings and legal issues.

The most recent social media platform from Google is Google+, released in 2012. Although it wasn’t officially abandoned, it is clear that it failed as a social networking point – even in there are over 1 billion accounts, no one uses this aspect of it.

If this isn’t the definition of perseverance, then which one is?

Besides these trials and errors, Google has some awesome programs, such as Waze, Google Arts and Culture or AdMob, that are not very popular yet.

Waze is the best app to use if you’re having a trip. It sends you real-time info on the traffic, it estimates the arrival time very accurately, and it informs you on any obstacle (Police included) ahead. All you need to do is choose one of the routes it suggests, and keep your phone charged (it takes up a lot of your battery)!

Google Arts and Culture is an app available only for Android devices for the moment. As you might intuit, it allows you to visit cultural spaces from more than 1200 museums and sites, all thanks to Google Street View 360° technology!

Last, but not least, AdMob is the best platform where you can promote and monetize mobile apps. There are 1 million users that respond to 200b ad requests monthly, and it is available on Android, iOS, C++, and Unity. In 2012, it received Mobile Premier Award, and it’s constantly growing since then!

See the below infographic:

More Than Just a Search Engine: Google’s Best, Failed, Unknown Products 1

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