Spring Cleaning: Google Shuts Down Patent Search Homepage, One Pass, Google Related & More

Ever since Larry Page took over as Google’s CEO, the company has shut down more and more of its products that were only being used by a limited number of users. Today, the company announced another round of “spring cleaning.” In the process, Google is shutting down a number of older APIs, as well as the homepage for its patent search tool, Google Flu Vaccine Finer, Google Related, Google Sync for BlackBerry, the mobile web app for Google Talk and One Pass, its payment platform for online news publishers. Also gone are Picasa for Linux, as well as the Picasa album uploader for Mac and the Picasa iPhoto plugin.

Most of these services were only used by a few users or, like the Flu Vaccine Finder, had outlived their usefulness. Tools like Google Related, for example, were interesting experiments (like many of the other products the company shut down previously), but never caught on with users. Other tools, like Patent Search, are being integrated into the main Google experience.

The most interesting and promising product that Google is shutting down completely now, though, is probably One Pass. With One Pass, Google once hoped to help publishers monetize their content. It never saw a lot of adoption in the publishing world, however. Instead of One Pass, Google is now recommending that publishers use its Consumer Surveys tool to monetize their content.

As part of this process, Google is also retiring a number of APIs, but most importantly, it is moving to a one-year API deprecation policy across its products (that’s down from three years for some of the company’s APIs).

Here is a full list of services that are getting the ax today:

  • We are making a number of API changes, adopting a one-year deprecation policy for certain APIs and removing the deprecation policy for others. Additionally, we are retiring some old APIs with limited usage. We have also updated the deprecation policy for all APIs to be much clearer and more concise. Please see the Developers Blog for more information.
  • Google Flu Vaccine Finder was a maps mash-up that showed nearby vaccination places across the United States, built by a small 20 percent team during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic when there was a dire need for fast and accurate data on flu vaccination locations. Google Flu Vaccine Finder is now retired, but we’re pleased to pass the baton to the experienced team at HealthMap as they launch HealthMap Flu Vaccine Finder.
  • Google Related is an experimental browsing assistant launched to help people find interesting and useful information while they browse the web. The product isn’t experiencing the kind of adoption we’d like, and while we still believe in the value provided to our users, we’ll be retiring the existing product over the next few weeks, so the Related team can focus on creating more magic moments across other Google products.
  • Beginning June 1, 2012, we’re ending our support for Google Sync for BlackBerry. If you already have the app installed, you’ll still be able to use it; however it will not be available for download after June 1. If you currently use Google Sync for BlackBerry, we encourage you to switch to BlackBerry Internet Service (BIS) or the Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server going forward. These alternatives offer a better overall experience, as you can sync your email messages, calendar and contacts through a single service.
  • We’re shutting down the mobile web app for Google Talk. For mobile users who want to continue using Google Talk, we recommend using the native Google Talk app on Android or any XMPP-compliant apps on other mobile platforms.
  • One Pass, our payment platform for online news publishers, has been shut down. We are working with existing partners to make the transition from One Pass to other platforms, including Google Consumer Surveys. While One Pass is going away, we will continue working with publishers to build new tools.
  • We’re redirecting the old Patent Search homepage to google.com to make sure everyone is getting the best possible experience for their patent searches. Over the past few months, we’ve been making updates and improvements to the Patent Search functionality on google.com—not only are you able to search the same set of U.S. patents with the same advanced search options, the new experience loads twice as fast as the old Patent Search homepage, contributes to a unified search experience across Google, and sports Google Doodles as well. The team looks forward to including patents from other countries soon, and will be rolling out additional features to Patent Search on google.com in the future.
  • We launched a WINE-based version of Picasa for Linux in 2006 as a Google Labs project. As we continue to enhance Picasa, it has become difficult to maintain parity on the Linux version. So today, we’re deprecating Picasa for Linux and will not be maintaining it moving forward. Users who have downloaded and installed older versions of Picasa for Linux can continue to use them, though we won’t be making any further updates.
  • Starting today, the Picasa Web Albums Uploader for Mac and Picasa Web Albums Plugin for iPhoto will no longer be available for download. People can continue to use the uploader and plugin if they are installed. However, we’ll no longer maintain these tools. We strongly encourage people to download Picasa 3.9 for Mac, which includes upload and iPhoto import features.