Google has rolled out plenty of new things in 2016, from its Android-powered Pixel smartphones to its Daydream virtual reality platform to its Duo Facetime competitor. But as always, Google has had to make room for its new stuff by ditching some old offerings. Here’s a roundup of products, services and more that Google rid itself of in 2016. (Look back at Google’s 2015 Graveyard too.)
Google Hangouts on Air
Google Nexus line
While Google has said it isn’t completely shutting the door on Nexus, the arrival of Chrome OS- and Android-powered smartphones and tablets has essentially signaled the end for the Nexus line, which first surfaced in 2010 and have been built by OEM partners like HTC and Samsung. As with the Nexus line, Google now needs to navigate carefully as it expands the Pixel brand without ticking off too many members of the Android ecosystem.
The 2015 spinout of cloud-based Google Photos (from Google+) for sharing and storing photos and videos marked the beginning of the end for desktop- and web-based Picasa, a photo sharing and storage service that Google bought in 2004 from Lifescape. And yes, the name Picasa is a play off of artist Pablo Picasso’s name.
This intriguing modular smartphone project, dubbed Ara, would have let you piece together a phone from common open hardware components such as processors, displays and cameras, and slot replacement parts in so as to make upgrades much easier than they are with typical wireless phones today. While Google hasn’t gone into any particulars about the demise of the project, which bubbled up in 2013 via its Motorola Mobility acquisition, it has confirmed Ara’s end.
Chrome apps on Mac, Windows, Linux
These will die a slow death. Google introduced special apps that run inside the Chrome browser back in 2013, but the company says it will nix them from Windows, Mac and Linux devices by early 2018. The heads up from Google will let developers figure out how to transition their apps away from the Chrome browser. Google says the move will simplify the Chrome browser. Another piece of that clean-up process: Wiping Adobe Flash from Chrome browsers, and defaulting to HTML5 for video.
Google kicked off 2016 by announcing that its My Tracks activity tracking app wouldn’t be having any activity as of April 30. Not a big surprise when you consider that the company now has an offering called Google Fit. Google My Tracks launched in 2009 as a GPS tracking app, when there were quite a few less activity trackers on the market.
Effective March 23, 2016, Google killed off Compare, its comparison shopping site for credit card rates, mortgages and insurance. The service launched in the United States in 2015 but said it wasn’t successful as the company had hoped, so it’s putting more resources into its Google AdWords efforts instead.
Panoramio, a location-based photo sharing tool that Google bought in 2007, is being retired as of Nov. 4, with Google saying its focus is on “improving photo-sharing experiences directly inside Google Maps in response to your feedback.”