google kills iGoogle (slowly)

the iGoogle service let people put together rich dashboard-style home pages, with widgets sucking data from various places into one handy location. Great stuff. I know lots of people use it as their home page, and use it daily.

But, Google has decided it’s (almost) time to kill it, turning it off in November 2013.

I shifted off of a hosted homepage long ago, because I didn’t like the idea of feeding the tracking databases every time I opened a browser. So I set up a vintage 1997-style static homepage, but with some live data widgets powered by Feed2JS.

Google’s dead-service-walking iGoogle:

My always-on, never-tracking, even-more-useful self-hosted homepage dashboard:

So, the iGoogle shutdown won’t impact me. But, I’m wondering why anyone would come to rely on any Google service. They have a history of killing services that have fallen out of grace with Google Corporate, even if there are still diehard users who have come to depend on them because they are free and Do No Evil. Sketchup comes to mind. Lots of teachers were building stuff with their students in it. Until Google decided it didn’t like it anymore. iGoogle.

From the Techcrunch article, here’s a list of abandoned/killed Google projects:

Google Video, Google Mini, Google Bookmarks Lists, Google Friend Connect, Google Gears, Google Search Timeline, Google Wave, Knol, Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE-C), Aardvark, Desktop, Fast Flip, Google Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook, Sidewiki, Subscribed Links,Google Flu Vaccine Finder, Google Related, Google Sync for BlackBerry, mobile web app for Google Talk, One Pass, Patent Search, Picasa for Linux, Picasa Web Albums Uploader for Mac and Picasa Web Albums Plugin for iPhoto, and all Slide products.

How long until Google Reader is put down (who uses RSS anymore, anyway)? GMail? Google Docs? Search?

5 thoughts on “google kills iGoogle (slowly)

  1. This article reminds me that Google also discontinues products as soon as they acquire companies. Some that come to mind that I used: Dodgeball, Jaiku, and now Meebo. Google throws away the customers with the bathwater.

    1. totally. great point. Writely. Etherpad. the only way to rely on a tool is to own it yourself.

      but, even owning your own tools may not be full insurance. technologies change, or get abandoned. will my blog still function in 10 years? 20? 50? will php or mysql even be things then? how to future-proof my own tools, in addition to future-proofing my use of others’ tools…

  2. D’Arcy,

    I know that there are great apps that you can use instead of say iGoogle or Reader that can be self-hosted, but you assume that everyone either has the knowledge or at least access to have those applications installed. I would think that most K-12 educators actually don’t fall into that group.

    And I read this post via Reader. Otherwise I wouldn’t have seen it.

    1. the “who uses RSS anyway?” was meant tongue-in-cheek. I still live in RSS. but, I think it’s inevitable that Google will eventually kill Reader. Or not. But there’s no way to know. In the meantime, people get more deeply tied to it (and other google services) and the pain will be much worse when it eventually happens (or doesn’t). RSS is important, so we need to treat our access to it as important as well, rather than relying on the good will of a company with a long history of killing things.

      my 1997-era homepage isn’t an app – it’s just a static HTML file. No magic there. The dynamic bits use Feed2JS, but those aren’t essential. I think we have a generation of people who never developed the skills to put together a static html page, because they’ve been lulled into the shiny baubles provided by Google/FB/etc… I’m seriously thinking of teaching Evan raw HTML. I think he could get the basics of it pretty easily.

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