October 1, 2012
Google Cutting More Features, Including News Badges
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
Services that allowed publishers to place ads on RSS feeds, award badges to those who read multiple news articles about their favorite topics, and allowed search engine users to upload alternate background images, are being phased out as part of what Google refers to as their "spring cleaning."
AdSense for Feeds will be retired starting on October 2 and completely shut down by December 3. Classic Plus users will not be able to upload new pictures after October 16, and the service will end in November, while Google News Badges will no longer be issued or displayed after October 15, Senior Engineering Director Yossi Matias said.
In addition, AFP reports that the company is planning to consolidate Picasa and Google Drive storage, allowing users of the two services to have a combined five gigabytes of free memory.
They have also merged Google Insights for Search into an enhanced version of Google Trends, which will allow users to compare search patterns in different locations, topics and time periods, and pulled the Places Directory Android app because the information it provided can now be found in the most recent version of Google Maps for smartphones and other mobile devices, the news agency said.
"Google has been giving up on a lot of its dreams over the past few years," HotHardware's Ray Willington said of the company's "spring cleaning" in a Sunday article. "While the company once prided itself on doing a zillion different things at once, it's aiming to prioritize, focus and kill off projects that just aren't up to snuff."
"While that's probably great for employees, it's oftentimes upsetting for consumers who miss the wild and wonderful Google of yesteryear," he continued, calling the changes to the company´s storage set-up "disturbing." Willington explained, "For those with legacy storage option (paid), the purchased storage + free storage setup will fade, and instead you'll be downsized to jut the amount of storage you paid for. In other words, those with 25GB total will soon see 20GB total. Ouch."
Google also announced that they would begin turning off Spreadsheet Gadgets, which allowed people to add custom features to Google Spreadsheets, next year, and that +1 Reports in Webmaster Tools would be turned off on November 14 because webmasters can now access that information in the Google Analytics' Social Reports section.