Google Moderator, a tool for crowdsourcing and ranking user-submitted questions for online and offline events, is shutting down on July 31.
The service, which launched in 2008, survived various “spring cleaning” rounds over the years. It was occasionally used by the White House and featured prominently during the 2012 presidential election. Now, however, Google has decided that it doesn’t have the usage it hoped for.
It looks like the development of Moderator stopped quite a while ago. The last copyright notice on the site is from 2011 and the service never got any of the design updates Google introduced over the last few years. For the most part, it still looks just like it did back in 2008.
In many ways, it’s surprising Moderator lasted this long. After Google cut a number of former Google Labs projects in 2011 — which is where Moderator got its start as a “20 percent project” — it looked like Moderator would also get the axe. Somehow, though, the project survived.
The Moderator project was originally led by Katie Jacobs Stanton, who went on to become Barack Obama’s Director of Citizen Participation and is now the VP of Global Media at Twitter.
Moderator users — and there shouldn’t be all that many given how dormant the project has been — will be able to download their data from Google Takeout starting on March 30. This data will be available for at least two years. The last day to create new content on the service is June 30, and Moderator will shut down completely on July 31.
It’ll be interesting to see if this is a one-off announcement or if it’ll kick off another round of “spring cleaning” at Google.