Google is cleaning house and shuttering Sidewiki and certain other services.
In a blog post last week, Google says the need for Sidewiki, which launched in 2009 and enabled users to post comments in a separate window about any Web page, had been overtaken by the social Web.
For example, a Sidewiki user could have posted comments about the homepage of a hotel website even though the hotel may not have opened that page for comments.
It was always going to be a challenge to see if Sidewiki might be embraced by more than a few tech geeks.
Why would there be a need to hide comments about a Web page behind a window viewable to other Sidewiki users only when today there are so many social media avenues available to comment about a website's content?
Sidewiki obviously didn't evolve to replace or even supplement travel review sites, for instance.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen extraordinary innovation in terms of making the web collaborative. So we’ve decided to discontinue Sidewiki and focus instead on our broader social initiatives. Sidewiki authors will be given more details about this closure in the weeks ahead, and they’ll have a number of months to download their content.
As it re-prioritizes its work, Google also opted to discontinue Aardvark, Desktop, Fast Flip, Google Maps API for Flash, Google Pack, Google Web Security, Image Labeler, Notebook and Subscribed Links.
Some of these services came to Google through acquisition and others were developed in-house. Google says:
We’ve never been afraid to try big, bold things, and that won’t change. We’ll continue to take risks on interesting new technologies with a lot of potential. But by targeting our resources more effectively, we can focus on building world-changing products with a truly beautiful user experience.
Now Google will have fewer distractions as it focuses on on services such as search, Android, Google+, Google Hotel Finder and flight search with ITA Software.