[video_popup width="805" height="454" video_link="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LQn7hgloI4" video_image_link="https://www.tnooz.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/schemer.jpg"]
Just two years after Googlequietly launched quasi-social travel inspiration/things-to-do-in-life service Schemer, Google has quietly shut it down again.
The system worked by giving out local destination tips and other ideas from those in a user's Google+ circles, celebrities and professionals, such as travel writers.
It also included content from the Zagat service which Google had purchased just a few months before in September 2011.
There was no commercialisation of the products suggested in the system, essentially it was just an ideas engine, but was enough of a move by Google to put many of the tours and activities providers (booking services, person-to-person marketplaces) on alert given that it was the Big G's first foray into the sector.
As Tnooz Node Alex Bainbridge noted at the time, it could be Google placing another piece of the travel jigsaw alongside Flight Search, Hotel Finder, Places, Maps and Local.
But typically for any number of the products which have launched over the years to test the water in all manner of verticals, Google has decided to curtail its interest.
In a short and sweet post on its Google Plus page, Google Schemer's team says the service will be closed down on February 7, "after which all data will be permanently deleted".
Two years is a long time not only at Google but also in the world of destination inspiration and tours and activities (at least from a travel industry perspective).
Since then Google has unveiled a string of other services for info-hungry travellers which arguably fit into its current strategy of social-local-mobile in a better way than perhaps the low-key Schemer does (or did).
- City Experts – Google recruits "Local Insiders" for its City Expert program. The individuals "have access to fun, exclusive events. Free custom swag. Special online recognition".
- Field Trip – A location aware app that tells you interesting things as you walk around a city. Also acts as a geo-coded travel blog aggregator with many travel blogs integrated). Give it a go. Hundreds of travel data providers are involved.
- Helpouts – A take on the Google Hangout system to get "real help from real people in real time". That’s the tips-from-a-local thing we constantly hear about from many a other travel inspiration startup.
Whilst City Experts and Helpouts are somewhat interesting services and it is quite possible that they will suffer the same fate as Schemer, Field Trip is the product that gets many in the industry excited/nervous (take your pick).
It is also the service referenced by the Schemer team in its "power down" message to existing users, encouraging members to "uncover hidden or unique things in your city" via the Field Trip app.
The (wannabe) King is Dead, Long Live the (potential) King.
NB: This was TNW's overview of the process behind Schemer at the time:
NB2: The original Schemer promo is in the pop-out video box at the top of the story.