Google Desktop retired as of yesterday, and I don’t think the 7 year-old application will be getting the proverbial gold watch.
The application was designed to let people search for files and data stored in their computers’ hard drives. I remember my brother-in-law, who works for Intel, praising the Desktop, but I never used it.
It was of the first products that some speculated Google aimed against Microsoft. It was intended to improve upon the native search functionality found in Windows operating systems. Thus, desktop search became an area of competition. Microsoft responded to the challenge as well as others. Even Yahoo joined the fray with their own products.
With cloud computing growing in popularity and more web applications being used with the system to store data and files online, Google made a wise decision to give its Desktop application the golden handshake.
Google is even claiming that the operating systems have also improved their local search functionality. For that reason, Google has shut down downloads for Desktop, and will stop developing updates and big fixes for existing installations of the product. I wonder how that will influence the tens of millions of people who have used it over the course of its existence. Google has also ended support for Desktop APIs (application programming interfaces), services, plugins and gadgets.
Some of you may recall back in April, when Larry Page took over as CEO, he mentioned there would be a string of product closures. Reportedly, he said that the company needs to put “more wood behind fewer arrows.”
Other products that have been discontinued since Page took over are Google PowerMeter and Google Health. The company is also setting up to close its Google Labs website, and has been over the past month deciding which of those early stage product prototypes should be cancelled and which ones should continue on with the company.