Because we needed more big tech news this week. Yes, it’s true that Google has just brought the hammer down on Slide, as Liz Gannes of AllThingsD first reported earlier this evening. Yes, it’s also true that Max Levchin is leaving. Now we also know the fate of all of the Slide products. And it’s not pretty.
All of them are being discontinued — except one, we’ve learned. This means both the Slide products before Google’s acquisition of the company a year ago, and the newer ones that the Slide team has been building within Google for the past year. Yes, it includes the newer products like Disco, Pool Party, Video Inbox, and the just-launched-last-week Photovine. They’re all dead.
The lone exception is Prizes.org (which we covered here), we’ve heard. The reason is that this was developed by the Slide team in China for Google, and they’ll keep pursuing it, apparently.
It was only last August that Google bought Slide for around $200 million after employee bonuses. The idea was to get more serious about social games, as well as to get proven entrepreneur Levchin on board. But a lot has changed in the past year — for one thing Eric Schmidt is no longer CEO. For another, Google now has Google+.
Slide had been running as a completely autonomous unit broken down into smaller teams within Google. For a while, that seemed like a good strategy that may keep Google nimble. Now it just looks kind of silly.
Slide was so autonomous that many were working on products that competed with features that were a part of Google+. And many of the apps created were iOS-first, and didn’t work at all on Google’s Android platform.
For their part, Google only has the following to say:
Max has decided to leave Slide and Google to pursue other opportunities, and we wish him the best. Most of the team from Slide will remain at Google to work on other opportunities.
It’s also true that the Slide teams did not learn about this bloodbath until this afternoon. You can’t help but feel bad for these teams — especially the Photovine team which really did just launch their slick photo-sharing app a week ago. Unlike other Slide projects, Google even gave them so PR resources to get the word out about the app. Eight days later, dead.
Larry Page is apparently not messing around in his efforts to streamline Google as much as possible and trim any fat. While Google says that most Slide team members will stay at Google, I would not be surprised to see an exodus pretty quickly.
Update: Slide has just put up the following blog post to let customers know about the product terminations:
We wanted to give you all advance notice that in the coming months, a number of Slide’s products and applications will be retired. This includes Slide’s products such as Slideshow and SuperPoke! Pets, as well as more recent products such as Photovine, Video Inbox and Pool Party. We created products with the goal of providing a fun way for people to connect, communicate and share. While we are incredibly grateful to our users and for all of the wonderful feedback over the years, many of these products are no longer as active or haven’t caught on as we originally hoped.
Most importantly, we wanted to take this opportunity to reassure you that we’re committed to helping our users preserve their data as easily as possible. We recognize that many of you have stored valuable content with us and want to assure you that, wherever possible, you will have ample time to download that information or transfer it to another service.
For example, on Slide.com, we will enable users to either download their photos or export them to a Picasa account. We are working to release this export feature over the coming weeks and, once added, users will have several months to take advantage of transferring their photos.