August 6, 2012
Google Pulls The Plug On ‘Listen’ Service, Other Apps
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Google Listen, the podcast service launched back in 2009, is among the latest batch of Web and mobile products cut by the Mountain View, California-based technology giant as part of an ongoing effort to streamline their offerings.
Max Ibel, Google's Director of Engineering, officially announced the company's decision to eliminate the podcast app, as well as Google Apps for Teams and Google Video for Business, in an August 3 blog entry.
"We launched Google Listen through Google Labs in August 2009, to give people a way to discover and listen to podcasts. However, with Google Play, people now have access to a wider variety of podcast apps, so we´ve discontinued Listen," he said. "People who have already installed the app can still use it, but after November 1, podcast search won´t function. You can access your podcast subscriptions in Google Reader in the 'Listen Subscriptions' folder and download them from the Import/Export tab."
Anyone who had previously downloaded the app will most likely be able to install it to any device by using the Play Store listing page, according to Android Police's Eric Ravenscraft. He also advised anyone who wanted to make sure they continued to have access to the app to "make a backup of the apk ASAP," as there is no guarantee that the Play Store page will be around for any particular length of time.
"Hopefully we'll see Google integrate Listen more closely with the Google Play. Built-in podcast functionality as part of Play Music, as well as perhaps listing pages for podcasts in the Play Store would be really, really nice (and if it happens, you can bet we'll be there)," Ravenscraft added. "In the meantime, though, it's the waiting game for us until we hear from Google. Considering that the last time that Listen was updated was back in January of this year, though, it might be a while before Google decides to address it."
Google Apps for Teams, launched by the company in 2008 as a "cloud-based collaboration and communication suite" that did not require schools, companies or other organizations to create Gmail accounts to use other Google services like Calendar or Docs, will be shut down starting on September 4, Juan Carlos Perez of IDG News noted. The company opted to shut it down because it was not as popular amongst or useful to the potential audience as predicted, and announced that all accounts would be switched over to individual Google accounts.
Likewise, all videos currently hosted by Google Video for Business, a video hosting service used by Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers to share video for internal communication, would be sent to a user's personal Google Drive account, PC Mag writer David Murphy said. Ibel also announced that those videos would be stored for free and would not count towards the cloud service's storage quota.
These moves come approximately one month after the company announced plans to retire the iGoogle personalized Web portal service next year, as well as do away with Google Video later this month, according to Murphy and Ricardo Bilton of VentureBeat. Furthermore, within the past year, Google has announced the shutdown of Aardvark, Flip, Google Buzz, Google Labs, Boutiques.com, Gears, Wave, and Knol, among others, Murphy added.
"Technology has the power to change people´s lives. But to make a difference, we need to carefully consider what to focus on, and make hard decisions about what we won´t pursue," Ibel said. "This enables us to devote more time and resources giving you products you love, and making them better for you."