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Google beats spring cleaning rush, nixes apps and services
Google has started off 2014 by introducing plenty new, including a Chromebox conferencing system and greatly expanded plans for Google Fiber. But as new things pile up on its plate, the company has made room by ditching others. Here’s a look at what Google has waved goodbye to so far in 2014:
Bump and Flock get… bumped
Google bought the iOS and Android mobile sharing app Bump, which enabled smartphone users to bump their devices to share photos, videos and more, just last September. It also got the group-sharing Flock photo app in the deal. But Google axed both apps at the end of January: users had 30 days to retrieve their data before it went poof.
Wave goodbye to Currents
Google informed users of its Currents news reader app for Android that it would be no more, though would be replaced by Google Play Newstand. The ripple of concern over Currents’ loss came nowhere near the backlash users exhibited last year when Google Reader was killed off.
Bufferbox gets the boot
Google bought parcel storage service Bufferbox in 2012, but has announced the offering will be no more as of this spring (“Our warehouses will stop accepting packages on March 31, 2014 and April 21, 2014 will be the last day to pick up your packages from BufferBox locations.”) Google says the “learnings and technology” from Bufferbox to future Google Shopping services. Drones anyone?
Google Schemer, perhaps the company’s best named offering, announced in January that this service for sharing and discovering things to do would be shutting down in February. Users have been directed to use the Explore feature of Google Maps now to find cool things to do.
Chrome Kill Switch
Google has given developers of extensions to its Chrome browser for Windows until May to register their work with its online store. After that, the company will start throwing a kill switch to keep extensions from flooding customers’ systems with adware and other such sneaky/sketchy stuff.
Doomed: Dual-OS tablets
Word is that Google and Microsoft are not psyched about reaching across the aisle and allowing vendors like Asustek to roll out tablets that run both Android and Windows. Asustek announced the Transformer Book Duet at CES, but Google and/or Microsoft are believed to have put the kibosh on the product before it even had a chance to ship.
Facial recognition in Google Glass
Google is killing off facial recognition in Google Glass even before it gets going – for now – given serious privacy concerns. “Strong privacy protections” will need to be in place before any such features are allowed, according to the company’s Project Glass team.
Could Nexus be next?
Google hasn’t announced any plans to kill off its pure Android Nexus line of smartphones and tablets, which have proven popular especially with developers. But speculation continues to swirl that the company might do so, now that so much other Android gear is on the market.
Google losing its Voice?
This is another offering — Google Voice — that hasn't formally been erased by Google, but many indicators point to the company basically redirecting its voice technology efforts into Google Hangouts for a combined video and voice experience. Google last year did add voice to Hangouts, declaring it "the future of Google Voice," so no surprise here if Voice disappears as a separate offering. Google Voice launched in 2009, and was originally from GrandCentral, a company Google bought in 2007.