The Google Graveyard

Cemetery

Google is a much beloved tech company. Many people are familiar with their products such as Chrome, the Google search engine, and the Android operating system. However, behind these well-known products lies a graveyard of failures and tossed out products. Among the biggest of those failures was Google+ – the short-lived attempt by Google to enter into the social media sphere. However, countless other products have enter’s Google’s Graveyard. Google Hangouts, a once-popular chat application is slated to be shut down in November of this year, and Google Chrome Apps was killed off earlier this year. For a full list, you can visit the Killed by Google website.

Clearly, businesses must determine what products are profitable and which ones are not. Those found to be unprofitable will be cut to free resources for more profitable products. However, this becomes more difficult when Google has such a huge influence in the technology sphere. For example, Google is responsible for Angular, Go, Dart, and Firebase. Each of these tools is used by developers around the world. Should they become obsolete by Google, they may find their way into the Google Graveyard as well.

Even worse, Google has a history of making significant changes to their development tools – changes which often break everything. For example, the change from AngularJS to Angular made the former absolute. Likewise, changes to the Firebase API which migrated from Promises to Subscriptions ruined any previous code.

My concern, as a developer, is that Google’s track record for tossing out old ideas may one day leave programmers without the tools they need. One day, Google may decide to toss out Angular for a new, fancier framework. Or, maybe they discontinue their Firebase service and leave scores of applications without a home. As such, I am now slower to adopt Google technologies, because I’m tired of watching useful tools make it into the Google Graveyard.