5 Things We Can Learn From Google's Decision to End Non-Performing Projects

TechPinas Founder Notes # 10 : Moving On...

Google has just axed five products that are - according to the company - 'not core to its business'.

"Closing products always involves tough choices, but we do think very hard about each decision and its implications for our users. Streamlining our services enables us to focus on creating beautiful technology that will improve people's lives," shared Google in its official blog.


The five products that will be officially 'wrapped up' include iGoogle (shown above), Google Video, Google Mini, Symbian Search App and Google Talk Chatback.

First time to hear about them? It's alright. iGoogle is a personalized news-widgets-powered search engine launched in 2005. Google Video was the company's video sharing service prior to its landmark Youtube acquisition in 2006. Google Mini, on the other hand, brings search to websites of small businesses while Chatback allows publishers to add free chat support to their pages. Finally, Symbian Search app - as its very name suggests - is Google search app (or more like a Google.com bookmark) for Symbian devices.

Product 'sunsets' are tough but the good thing is that they always teach us important lessons that we can revisit and use in the future. Here are five things we can learn from Google's latest 'spring-cleaning' --

1. Don't do it hastily. Google itself said that before axing services, they think very hard about each decision and its implications. Not sure if any of these products actually did well in the course of their run but it's not like Google didn't give them any chance to take off and prove their worth to the company. I mean, iGoogle for instance has been around for 8 years now and such run should have provided Google with enough data to study the performance of the service and to make a well-guided decision on whether its worth continuing or not.

2. Consider Stakeholders and Focus on People. Although Google decided to end iGoogle, it nonetheless gave users of the site until Nov 1, 2013 or around 16 months to adjust and export their data. Also, Google Video, which stopped taking uploads since May of 2009, promptly advised users that their content will be moved to YouTube and they'd have to delete or download their content before August 20th this year. Google understands that every product has stakeholders and those people will be affected by their decisions. They make sure that these people are well-informed and are guided accordingly on how they can adapt to the changes. At the end of the day, it should always be about serving people. In fact, even Google's decision to axe these products was motivated by its desire to "streamline services that will enable them to focus on creating beautiful technology that will improve people's lives".

3. Don't be afraid to try things out... and fail! It's all part of success! Google is inarguably the biggest and most powerful company in today's information technology industry. Yet its history, like what this recent event has showed us, is not just about 'constant' successes; It's also peppered with 'failed' projects and ventures. Is that so bad? Well, considering that Google remains unchallenged in its key services and continues to expand to other industries, clearly, the lessons that it learned from its failures only contributed to its on-going success.

4. Always move forward. Some of us tend to become too sentimental when it comes to our 'life projects' -- so much so that sometimes, even if they don't work, we stick to them to the detriment of our growth. In my opinion, what we can learn from Google here is that - after we carefully think about our decisions - we need to be able to say, "Ok. This ends here. I'm moving on." For me, that in itself opens a lot doors that would have stayed locked had we decided to stick to seemingly 'dead-end' ventures.

5. Sometimes they indicate success. We don't always have to feel bad when we're axing projects; It doesn't always mean we fail. Sometimes we simply have to end them because we have already come up with a bigger, better, more well-received project that renders the old one redundant. Google Video, for example, has already been superseded by Youtube, which is another Google product.

There you go! I hope you find this post helpful. If you do, kindly share it with your friends.

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