Google announced they were shutting down five of its services, while rumors were flying that the Internet giant wanted to buy Pinterest.
In the mostly un-moderated space of the Internet, rumors abound. The latest and perhaps most interesting of all? Google wants to buy Pinterest. Supposedly. Google never made an official offer, but multiple sources claimed that Google was considering paying hundreds of millions to buy the service.
However, the co-founders of Pinterest (Ben Silberman, Evan Sharps and Paul Sciarra) have no desire to ever sell the company because they know just how valuable it is and will continue to be. Silberman himself used to work for Google and has said in the past that he wants to have an IPO for Pinterest (although he declined commenting for the TechCrunch article reporting the story).
If Google can’t get the service it wants, chances are high it will simply make its own. This has happened time and again, evidenced with products like Google Places and Google Offers. The rumor mill reports again claim that Google is indeed working on a Pinterest-like service. More than likely, Google will probably just create a Pinterest functionality that integrates with G+ already. Bottom line: it looks unlikely that Pinterest would sell after it just received $27 million in funding last October.
The Pinterest rumor started right before Google announced it was axing even more of its own services. The biggest news was that the photo-editing site Picnik will be shut down on April 19th. Picnik’s functionality however, will be integrated into G+ in the future, says the company. One reason for the bump might be because Flickr just reorganized its UI and disintegrated Picnik compatability. Other sites that allowed users to mesh with Picnik were Facebook and Picasa.
To help out the few users who were still actively using the site, Google implemented a “Picnik Takeout” feature that will help users download all their files to their desktop while they search for their next photo-editing-in-the-cloud website. Google also suggests users use the even easier feature of simply porting all of their old Picnik photos to their G+ accounts. Finally, premium members will be getting a refund before the April 19th close, and all members will get to use the premium features free.
The other five Google sites getting shutdown are: Needlebase, Social Graph API, Urchin, Google Message Continuity, and Google Sky Map. As we did for the last farewell of Google products, here’s a rundown of what Google is getting rid of:
I had never even heard of Needlebase, maybe because it was still relatively new to the Google product family. Acquired last June, the data management platform is being integrated into some of Google’s other data-related products.
Social Graph API was developed by Google to let developers use the public connections people make online. Unfortunately, numbers don’t lie and very few people were using it, so Google deprecated the API and will shut it down entirely on April 20, 2012.
Urchin was a web analytics company that formed the basis of Google Analytics. Acquired in 2005, Urchin helped companies track their online marketing. Instead of continuing to split their customer base between Urchin and Google Analytics, Google is closing the curtain on Urchin in March 2012.
Google Message Continuity (GMC) was an enterprise backup storage solution via the cloud, specifically for companies using Microsoft Exchange that didn’t have an email disaster recovery solution in place. The service was launched in 2010. Google found that even though they were drawing hundreds of customers to the service, even more companies were simply moving to Google Apps and the cloud entirely (which Google has tied into a different disaster recovery solution). So, to encourage more of that kind of shift to all Google products, GMC is moving out, and Google hopes that customers that were using the service move to Google Apps.
Inspired by the Android phone, Pittsburgh-based Google employees created Sky Map in their spare time to show off Android phone sensor abilities. Users can go into the app, hold it up to the night sky, and the phone camera picks out the stars and labels constellations for users. With over 20 million users, Google realized they would have a lot of unhappy customers if they simply shut down the project. Instead, they made it open source. Carnegie Mellon University is undertaking the project informally and is hoping to further the app with the help of student projects in the future.
No doubt about it, Google, Inc. is moving and shaking (like always). From Pinterest to Sky Map, the company finds valuable projects to pursue, but also knows how to reconcile that interest with their investor’s money and jump ship when a project isn’t profitable. If you want to read more about why Pinterest is so valuable, take a closer look at Pinterest’s history and its systems in our latest case study (fresh off the presses just last week). If you want a closer look at Google’s history, and its systems, stay tuned for our next case study, to be released in a few short weeks.