Despite a history of innovative gadgets and platforms, Google, like any other top-tier multinational corporation, has dropped the ball on more than one occasion. So, behold: a list of some monumental high-tech stinkers.
10. Google Street View (2007 – present)
Some call it “the greatest invention of the twenty-first century.” Others, a flagrant breach of public safety. From an entertainment standpoint, Google Street View vans have photographed some pretty eerie stuff, even an alleged double homicide on a dock somewhere. Not sure if that’s a pro or a con.
(Photo by Majento via Flickr)
9. iGoogle (2005 – 2013)
Originally conceived as a personalized homepage, the multi-gadget platform was discontinued after the novelty had worn off, and once everybody realized that you could check the weather by sticking your hand out of a window.
(Photo by Caroline et Louis VOLANT via Flickr)
8. Google Dodgeball (2005 – 2009)
Purchased by Google in 2005, this location-specific social networking site for mobile users seemed destined for great things – until co-founder Dennis Crowley left Google two years later and created Foursquare. The rest is history.
(Photo by Chris Messina via Flickr)
7. Jaiku (2007 – 2011)
Google acquired this digital brainchild of Finnish developers, aptly named due to the program’s unique aspect that made messages look like haiku. It was cute, but Twitter had already been around for a year, and by 2009, you just knew which of the two “I have opinions” sites was going to win.
(Photo by J G via Flickr)
6. Google Latitude (2009 – 2013)
Similar to Dodgeball, Latitude served as a feature of Google Maps for users who (for whatever reason) wished to advertise their current location to people in their contacts list. It was discontinued in 2013, but users still interested in wasting their time can do so with the location-reporting tool on the current Google+.
(Photo by Abraham Williams via Flickr)
5. Google Video (2005 – Present)
Undoubtedly sprung from the same “Why do people need this?” seminar that birthed Dodgeball, Google Video attempted to crush the hugely successful YouTube by offering users the chance to upload and share videos. Though not entirely defunct today, Google Video has received numerous facelifts, most recently debuting in smaller markets as a video rental service…despite the existence of Netflix. (Just die).
(Photo by 張香腸 via Flickr)
4. Google Buzz (2010 – 2011)
(Photo by Abraham Williams via Flickr)
3. Orkut (2004 – 2014)
Google’s first social networking service, Orkut was set up in 2004 for contact-starved users looking for an alternative to the youth-centric juggernaut MySpace. Despite a successful ride, Facebook ultimately won out and, by 2014, Orkut was only still mildly popular in India and Brazil. BTW, Mark Zuckerberg could still buy Europe if he wanted to.
(Photo by Bianca Bueno via Flickr)
2. Google Glass (2013 – 2015)
A micro-sized display screen fitted into a pair of eyeglasses, Google Glass was recently touted as the tech invention of the year. With the help of a companion Android and iOS app, users could check mail, take phone calls, even read the New York Times. Exorbitant cost was one of many reasons why Glass failed to take off, having been shelved earlier this year. No word yet on why anybody with a cellular phone, or dignity, would want this laughable monstrosity.
(Photo by Michael Praetorius via Flickr)
1. Google Wave (2010 – 2012)
Wave was perhaps the most blatant form of hubris to emerge from Google Labs in 2009. All bells and whistles, no real function or value. Instead, it provided highfalutin group mail and chat options that already existed, and nobody wanted (chat within a chat within a chat?). As if the frustrating feature wasn’t an obnoxious enough creation, at the time, it was packaged as an invite-only service. Invitation declined.
(Photo by Dominik W. Neuffer via Flickr)