Google shutting down unpopular services and apps starting January 2013

December 15, 2012
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Image credit: Robert Scoble / Flickr

Image credit: Robert Scoble / Flickr

Do you use SMS to schedule appointments via Google Calendar? Do you still sync your Symbian-based Nokia smartphone with Google Calendar? Do you use Smart Rescheduler from Google Labs? If you do, you might want to start looking elsewhere to fulfill your calendaring and syncing needs. Google is shutting down several services this wintertime, in an effort to ensure they can focus on services that matter more to users.

Google wants to focus on “creating beautiful, useful products that improve millions of people’s lives every day.” In line with this, the company is moving away from working on products that not that many people use, or that are considered archaic. Take for instance calendar synchronization for Symbian Series 60 devices. Does anyone still use a Nokia S60 device? Probably so. But consider the sheer number of Android and iOS users who use mobile apps to access their Google Calendar data, which outnumber Symbian users today.

Google wants to focus on improving their service to the increasing number of users on the bigger platforms like Android and iOS. (Never mind Windows Phone for now, unless the platform gains traction in the future, somehow.)

Here are some of the apps and services that will be given the kill switch treatment come January or so.

  • No more creation of reservable times on appointment slots in Calendar.
  • Calendar Labs applications Smart Rescheduler and Add Gadget by URL will be discontinued.
  • Create Calendar via SMS and Create Event via SMS will be discontinued, as Google says most users prefer to use mobile Calendar apps.
  • Google Sync will cease support for new accounts by January 30, 2013, given the increasing popularity of CardDAV, CalDAV and IMAP on mobile devices. Google Apps for Business users will still enjoy support for the protocol, and existing accounts will continue working.
  • For Symbian devices, Google Calendar Sync has been discontinued as of December 14, while Google Sync for Nokia S60 and SyncML will cease functioning by January 30, 2013.
  • For developers, the Issue Tracker API on Google Code will be shut down by January 14.
  • Punchd, a loyalty app, will be shut down by June 7, 2013, as Google is perhaps focusing on its Wallet service for loyalty and points.

Google VP for Engineering Venkat Panchapakesan says these are all meant to ensure a “seamless, amazing Google experience,” which means the company is likely to be focusing on the platforms and applications that matter today. And we know what this means: Android and iOS.

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