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spring cleaning

Google’s “Spring” Cleaning In Fall: AdSense For Feeds, Classic Plus, and Spreadsheet Gadgets Get The Axe

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It’s that time again when Google does its “Spring” Cleaning. Basically, that means the company axes the stuff that really isn’t working and takes up too much time or resources. But let’s call it what it is, these things failed or fizzled.

You can see last Fall’s cleanup list here.

Google explains that this style of yanking and merging allows its teams to move onto “high impact products” like Search, Maps and Google+. Have no fear, nobody loses a gig over these cuts, they get to work on other things that interest them. It also means that the company may hit us with a surge of new features over the next few months.

On its blog, the company outlined what’s happening and when (bold is ours):

- AdSense for Feeds was designed to help publishers earn revenue from their content by placing ads on their RSS feeds. Starting October 2, we’ll begin to retire this feature—and on December 3 we’ll close it. Publishers can continue to use FeedBurner URLs powered by Google, so they won’t need to redirect subscribers to different URLs. For more information visit the AdSense Help Center.

- Classic Plus is a Google Search feature that lets people upload or select images to use as a background on Google.com. Users won’t be able to upload new pictures starting from October 16, and we’ll turn the service off in November 2012. You’ll continue to have access to any images you’ve uploaded.

- Google storage in Picasa and Drive will be consolidated over the next few months, so users will have five GB of free storage across both services. If you’re paying for storage, your free storage will now be counted towards your total. So if you buy a 100GB plan, it will give you 100GB of total storage instead of adding adding to what you already had. We believe this approach will make it much easier for users. For both free and paid storage, people at or near their current storage limits will have the same amount of storage after this change.

- Spreadsheet Gadgets were designed to allow people to add customized features to Google Spreadsheets. But most popular gadgets have now been added directly into charts in spreadsheets. So we will slowly start turning off Gadgets in Spreadsheets next year.

- Starting on October 15, we’ll stop issuing and displaying Google News Badges, as well as showing Recommended Sections. People can still tailor their Google News experience by adding custom sections or adjusting the frequency with which news sources appear.

- We’ve merged Insights for Search into a revamped Google Trends. You can now see search trends and compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties in a single place: google.com/trends. We will no longer support Trends for Websites, which allowed people to compare traffic to and audiences of different websites.

- Places Directory was an Android app that helped people find nearby places of interest. We’ve removed the app from Google Play and are taking down the Places Directory site because users can find everything in Google Maps for Mobile, which offers a much better user experience.

- We introduced +1 Reports in Webmaster Tools to help publishers measure +1 activity on their pages. Given that webmasters now use Social Reports in Google Analytics to get a wider view of social activity (including +1’s), we’ll be discontinuing the stand-alone +1 Reports on November 14. Measuring social media remains a priority for Google Analytics, so stay tuned for future improvements.

Some of these aren’t a big surprise, and others you can see why they’ve been shut down and/or moved into other products. For example, +1 reports are now in Google Analytics, so everything is being cleaned up. I like how Google is transparant about these things.

One of these things is a tad bit interesting, the AdSense for Feeds. That could mean the true end of Feedburner.

If you use these services, enjoy them while you can, because they’re well….toast.