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Google Cloud Space Technology

Google Kills More Services, Open Sources Sky Map 121

Posted by Soulskill
from the endings-and-beginnings dept.
alphadogg writes "Google is continuing to weed out its services and on Friday announced it will shut down Picnik, Google Message Continuity and Needlebase and make changes to some other services. Google acquired Seattle-based Picnik in 2010, saying it would integrate the photo editing service with its own Picasa. 'We're retiring the service on April 19, 2012, so the Picnik team can continue creating photo-editing magic across Google products,' Dave Girouard, vice president of product management for Google, wrote in a blog post Friday." A positive change to come out of this is that Google is open-sourcing Sky Map, and will be collaborating with Carnegie Mellon University to continue development.
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Google Kills More Services, Open Sources Sky Map

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  • by FreeCoder (2558096) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:43PM (#38775000)
    This is why it's ridiculous to rely on cloud services. That is what ultimately all of Google's services are. On top of that most of them are closed source too, so you're just out of luck when Google decides to kill them off. And judging by the amount of services they're quickly killed it probably isn't going to change. This is why desktop software is still much more reliable than online services, and I'm not going to change something like Microsoft Office to Google Docs.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:48PM (#38775046)

    If they can this easily kill off Google Message Continuity, something marketed only to Enterprise customers running Exchange, then why would any enterprise consider using any of their services? Their migration path is just to move everyone to Gmail. If that's what the company wanted in the first place, they would've just done that.

  • That's progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:49PM (#38775060)

    The Google announcement doesn't leave many people stranded, it's just taking acquired products and sending the users to more popular web-based products. Examples include Urchiin users told to move to Google Analyitics, and Exchange backup users to move to GMail for Google Apps. In total, nothing of value is being lost, and developer resources move from maintaining the old to innovating the new.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:52PM (#38775074)

    Cloud services aren't the problem. Free cloud services where you are hoping that someone else picks up the tab for paying for development, maintenance and infrastructure are the problem. Granted, desktop apps are a better long-term investment than cloud services if you're wondering about the viability of the company that you are investing in. But if there's an actual business model in place (i.e., one that involves payment and not just "eyeballs"), cloud services offer quite a few advantages over desktop apps. It's up to you to decide whether you'll trade not having to maintain the software and being able to access it from anywhere with the knowledge that the software will stick around for as long as you have the installation file (DRM throwing another wrinkle in here as well).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @12:58PM (#38775148)

    Most times you can continue using existing software, even without support, for an indefinite period until something breaks. There is software written over a decade ago that still works fine without any updates since. If a cloud service goes offline, though, you have no real choice most of the time.

  • by FreeCoder (2558096) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:01PM (#38775170)
    That is moot point, especially if you try to rely on them for business purposes. Yes, it's good that you can take out your data, but what do you do when they discontinue their service? At least desktop apps continue working. It's kind of funny that Slashdotters in general dislike DRM, and online services are basically the worst kind of DRM.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:02PM (#38775174)

    Because you still have the software as oppossed to a 404 page....
    Many bussiness operate well on old software, not because they cannnot afford to change, because the 15 year old ERP system does what they need it to do and there is no reason to. Google expects bussiness to become their beta testers and everyone is a market test case.

  • by Njovich (553857) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:14PM (#38775258)

    Amen, I love Google, but for any search that is slightly complicated I turn to Yahoo these days. Google doesn't seem to take you serious when you enter search terms, often ignoring terms to give a more popular result. Having to add quotes is also a hell of a lot more annoying than the + sign was. That is four keypresses for quoting a single expression. Quote a couple of expressions on a mobile phone and it just gets annoying. Also it forces localization on you, which gets a pain when you speak English and another language roughly equally well and just want the best result. I wish there was just a version that treated all languages equally. The problem is that the 'local' languages gets precedence, regardless of quality of result. Yes there are settings for them, they work like crap, try them for a while.

  • by GerryGilmore (663905) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:23PM (#38775320)
    Let me expand that to say that anytime you are building something that ultimately relies on a 3rd party for integral, non-easily-replicatable components, you're asking for trouble. As an example, I worked at Dialogic where they acquired a product called Visual Voice, used by many companies to develop their core voice-processing apps. One day, senior PHBs decide they donl;t want to be in the app-development business and kill Visual Voice. Bam! Dead! Oh - you developed apps based on VV and now your company is tanking because you can't get bug fixes, new features or support for newer hardware? TFB, mofo! Welcome to dependency-land.
  • by madmark1 (1946846) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @01:23PM (#38775322)

    Or, as seems far more likely the case, these services are being removed *precisely because no one relied on them*. They are services that are not getting widespread use, so they are being shut down. Are you still whining over the loss of Microsoft Bob, consigned to the dustbin of history because no one used it?

    Yes, cloud services can be shut down. Google generally goes out of their way to make sure you can get your data out, and gives fairly generous time frames in which to do so. They seem to be better about it than most other companies, including those that produce only desktop apps.

    Despite grouching to the contrary, there isn't much difference any more between a cloud app going away, and a desktop app being retired. If Microsoft suddenly decided to kill Windows tomorrow, how long could you continue to use it? I'm going to guess "Until the next time you swap out a video card, forcing you to reactivate your copy". What happens when the activation servers aren't there? You have to rely on the company to act properly, and give you a time frame to move to something else during which the activation servers will still be live, or they provide some permanent activation.

    Yes, I think DRM sucks, I think activation schemes suck, but they already exist, and until they are gone (which seems fairly unlikely to me) there isn't a major difference between desktop software and cloud services, once the plug is pulled. It is no more 'ridiculous' to rely on cloud services than it is to rely on desktop apps, or the x86 architecture, or the public power grid. Any of those could be changed at any time, though some are far less likely than others to change. Is it more likely gmail goes away, or Outlook/Exchange? Both companies make a crazy amount of money from their offering. One is 'cloud based', one not. Which is more 'ridiculous' to rely on?

  • by afabbro (33948) on Saturday January 21, 2012 @02:51PM (#38775797) Homepage

    Let me expand that to say that anytime you are building something that ultimately relies on a 3rd party for integral, non-easily-replicatable components, you're asking for trouble

    I think you're stretching that a bit. The vast majority of the world's IT does exactly this. IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Hitachi, EMC, Cisco, etc. all provide "integral, non-easily-reproducable" components.

    The difference is that if you buy physical hardware and own the software (often with a source code escrow agreement), you can control the pace of getting off something, whereas in the cloud, you cannot.

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