Google boasts an impressive portfolio of apps released over the years. However, some of them fall by the wayside. Either these apps don’t generate enough revenue or are substituted by better ones. And, every year, based on user validation, Google decides to pull the plug on many apps and services, burying them in the Google Graveyard.
Here is the list of seven apps and services that Google has decided to discontinue in 2021.
Google has said its G Suite’s low-code platform for building apps — App Maker will be shut down by January 2021. Google attributed low usage as the major reason for discontinuing the app. Interestingly, the announcement came close on the heels of its recent acquisition of no-code app development platform AppSheet. AppSheet, that allows customers to build applications using features like Android, Google Sheets, Analytics etc, can be a better replacement for App Maker. Launched in 2016, the App Maker became instantly popular due to its drag and drop capabilities to design an app. Post the scheduled date, the app will stop working. However, the data stored in Cloud SQL will stay unchanged and continue to follow GCP account’s policies.
Though initially slated for shut down in 2020, Google’s once-popular application — Hangouts has rescheduled the shutdown date to June 2021. A communication platform with messages, video chat, and VOIP features, Google Hangouts was a convenient service for a fair amount of time. However, it was overshadowed by applications such as WhatsApp, Messenger etc. Google’s ‘Chat’ service designed for Google Workspace will replace Hangouts. The Chat service doesn’t have voice or video chat functions.
A web application for Google Chrome web browser — Chrome App will also be discontinued for Windows, Mac and Linux by June 2021. While the news was out in 2016, the total phasing out will happen this year. That said, the Chrome Enterprise and Chrome Education Upgrade users will have access to the app till June 2022. According to reports, the operating system Chrome OS will not be affected, and the web apps will still be supported and maintained for the foreseeable future. Google attributed this decision to the lack of popularity of Chrome App and the advance of modern browsers.
A virtual reality app launched in 2015 for Google cardboard VR users — the Expeditions App offered virtual educational tours. However, in a recent blog post, Google said most of its VR tours will now be migrated to another app called Arts & Culture and has decided to discontinue the Expeditions app, post June 2021. The Arts & Culture app by Google offers plenty of sophisticated AR and VR experiences, including museum collections, which will make these expedition tours more accessible to the users amid the pandemic.
Google is also ending its support for another travel-related VR application called Tour Builder, by July 2021. Launched as a beta project in 2013, the app aimed to make it easier for users to upload photos and videos of a location on Google Earth and build their own tours on Expeditions app. Eventually, the company built creation tools in Google Earth for the web, making it easier for the users to leverage storytelling and create 3D maps with additional Google Drive storage denting Tour Builder’s popularity.
Another VR project that will meet its end by June 2021 is Poly, a web-based creation tool that lets users and developers browse and download 3D projects for their apps. In contrast to the complex resource-intensive models available for applications, Poly was a lightweight way to build and view 3D assets for games, apps and other services. According to experts, this might push the users to rely on its competitor services like Sketchfab. Along with Google Cardboard, Daydream, closing down Poly signals Google’s retreat from the VR market.