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Google's Spring Cleaning, April 2012: Web Giant Kills Off More Products

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 04/20/2012 5:13 pm Updated: 04/20/2012 5:14 pm

Google Spring Cleaning

Spring is in the air. Flowers are in bloom, birds are chirping and Google's taken the axe to a few more products, projects and features.

On April 20, a post on the Official Google Blog announced the web giant's plans to kill off Google Sync for BlackBerry, Google Related, the mobile web app for Google Talk and Google Flu Vaccine Finder, among other changes.

Here's what will happen to these services, according to Cloud Services Director Matthias Schwab.

The company will drop support for the BlackBerry platform's version of Google Sync on 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," wrote Schwab. "These alternatives offer a better overall experience, as you can sync your email messages, calendar and contacts through a single service."

Google Related, which Schwab says is "an experimental browsing assistant launched to help people find interesting and useful information while they browse the web," will be shuttered. Apparently users weren't really interested in the service.

The company will also shut down the mobile web app for Google Talk and suggests users switch to the official Google Talk app for their respective mobile platforms.

The Google Flu Vaccine Finder map tool, created to help U.S. users find vaccination locations during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, is also done. Schwab writes that Google has "passed the baton" to HealthMap's new HealthMap Flu Vaccine Finder.

Google-owned photo-sharing site Picasa will also see a few changes, too. Google said it is phasing out the WINE-based version of Picasa for Linux. In addition, the Picasa Web Albums Uploader for Mac and Picasa Web Albums Plugin for iPhoto are no longer available for download, and Google advises that users download Picasa 3.9 for Mac.

Visit the Google Blog to read about Google's latest round of "Spring Cleaning."

Last July, Google said it would gradually close its experimental Google Labs projects. The first round of Spring Cleaning came in September, with the announcement that Desktop, Notebook, Fast Flip, Aardvark and others would be shut down. In October came word that Google Buzz would meet a similar fate. November saw the planned shuttering of Google Wave, Google Gears and Google Friend Connect, as well as several more products.

The launch of Google+ last year marked a shift in the company's focus. Google CEO Larry Page said in his 2012 Founder's Letter that the process of targeting Google's efforts on "core products" began in April 2011. "Google has so many opportunities that, unless we make some hard choices, we end up spreading ourselves too thin and don’t have the impact we want," Page wrote. "So we have closed or combined over 30 products, including projects like Knol and Sidewiki."

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