23 October 2023

14 Google Products That Didn’t Quite Make It – And What Your Business Can Learn

By Ronald Smith

Today, I want to talk about a super interesting topic – Google’s unsuccessful products. You know, even big companies like Google sometimes have products that don’t quite hit the mark. But hey, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to learn from these missteps. In fact, there’s plenty we can take away from these failures that can help our own businesses!

So, let’s dive right in and explore 14 Google products that didn’t quite make the cut. We’ll uncover the reasons behind their failures and see what lessons we can draw from them. Are you ready? Let’s go!

1. Google Buzz (2010): Google Buzz was an attempt to combine social networking with email. But it had some privacy issues and couldn’t compete with other popular social media platforms. Lesson learned: It’s crucial to prioritize user privacy and offer a unique value proposition.

2. Google Wave (2009-2010): Google Wave aimed to revolutionize online communication and collaboration. However, its complex interface and lack of clear use cases made it difficult to understand and adopt. Lesson learned: Simplicity and clear use cases are essential for user-friendly products.

3. Google Reader (2005-2013): Google Reader was once a popular tool for reading and subscribing to RSS feeds. However, as social media platforms gained popularity, Google Reader struggled to keep up. Lesson learned: Stay aware of evolving user preferences and adapt accordingly.

4. Google Glass (2013-2015): Google Glass was a smart eyewear product that promised a hands-free digital experience. Despite its innovative concept, it faced privacy concerns, limited functionality, and a hefty price tag, resulting in poor adoption. Lesson learned: Understand your target audience’s needs and address potential concerns upfront.

5. Google Allo (2016-2018): Google Allo was a messaging app that aimed to compete with the likes of WhatsApp and iMessage. Despite its unique features, the market was already saturated, and Allo couldn’t gain traction. Lesson learned: Entering an oversaturated market requires a compelling differentiator.

6. Google+ (2011-2019): Google’s attempt at a social media platform, Google+, struggled to compete with Facebook and Twitter. It lacked a distinct identity and failed to attract a significant user base. Lesson learned: Differentiate your product and offer genuine value to stand out in a crowded market.

7. Google Answers (2002-2006): Google Answers was an online platform where users could pay for answers to their questions. However, it couldn’t match the popularity and accessibility of free alternatives like Yahoo! Answers. Lesson learned: Understand the value proposition of your competitors and provide something unique.

8. Google Video (2005-2012): Google Video was Google’s original video sharing platform. It got overshadowed by the rise of YouTube, which offered a more user-friendly experience. Lesson learned: Monitor the competition closely and be prepared to pivot if necessary.

9. Google Lively (2008): Google Lively aimed to create a virtual world for users to socialize and interact. However, it failed to attract a substantial user base and was ultimately shut down. Lesson learned: Understand your target audience’s interests and preferences before diving into a new venture.

10. Google Notebook (2006-2012): Google Notebook was a note-taking tool that couldn’t compete with more robust alternatives like Evernote. Users wanted additional features and integration options. Lesson learned: Stay informed about competitors and continuously improve your product to meet user expectations.

11. Google Health (2008-2011): Google Health aimed to centralize individuals’ health records for easier access and management. However, it faced concerns over privacy and failed to gain widespread adoption. Lesson learned: Address privacy and security concerns upfront, especially when dealing with sensitive data.

12. Orkut (2004-2014): Orkut, Google’s first social networking site, was widely popular in Brazil and India but couldn’t expand its user base globally. It eventually lost momentum and was shut down. Lesson learned: Understand local market dynamics and adapt your product to suit different regions.

13. Google Catalogs (2001-2015): Google Catalogs digitized print catalogs, allowing users to browse and shop online. However, as e-commerce platforms improved, the demand for digital catalogs declined. Lesson learned: Stay ahead of industry trends and adapt your offerings to match changing customer behavior.

14. Google Station (2015-2020): Google Station aimed to provide free public Wi-Fi at railway stations in developing countries. However, it faced sustainability challenges and couldn’t continue its operation. Lesson learned: Consider the long-term viability of your initiatives, both financially and logistically.

Wow! We’ve covered a lot, haven’t we? These Google products may not have been successful, but they provide valuable lessons for any business. Remember, it’s all about understanding your users, addressing their needs, and staying ahead of the curve. So, go out there and create something amazing!

14 Google Products That Didn't Quite Make It – And What Your Business Can Learn

You know what? This company I’m talking about is no fluke; they’ve been releasing one hit product after another, making waves all over the world.

But hey, not every launch is a rocket, right?

Even Google, the big player in the game, has had a few flops. It happens, even when we’re all convinced their products will soar.

Let me remind you, as an entrepreneur, that not everything goes exactly as planned. Here’s a list of Google products that didn’t quite hit the mark:


Google+ was supposed to be the answer to everything, or so they thought.

And maybe that’s why it failed.

They packed it with features like video conferencing, address books, commenting plugins, authentication – you name it, Google+ probably had it.

But you know what? The social media market was already crowded with other platforms. There just didn’t seem to be enough room for Google+ to shine.

I have something to tell you about a product called Google+. It turns out that hardly anyone was using it, and that’s just one reason why it failed. But there’s more to the story.

There was a huge problem with security. Developers could access over 500,000 profiles, whether they were public or private. This was a major issue, and Google had no choice but to shut down Google+ for good.

Now let’s talk about Google Reader.

Unlike Google+, Google Reader had a decent number of users. However, it still didn’t have enough people using it to make it worthwhile. But that wasn’t the only problem.

Another challenge was how people consume news these days. Gone are the days of sitting down to read the news. Nowadays, we see it everywhere – print news struggling and digital news sites facing difficulties too.

These days, we’re all getting our news from social media, and it’s tough to keep up.

But just like other news websites and publications, Reader was another Google product that didn’t quite make it.

Google Desktop

Google Desktop was created to bring the incredible search power of Google right to your computer.

That means you wouldn’t have to open a browser and go to Google to do a search. It was right there on your desktop.

But Google Desktop got discontinued because it just wasn’t necessary anymore. These days, we have more and more cloud-based storage, computing, and data.

Plus, the product had some security and privacy issues. There were vulnerabilities that could let hackers get into your private data or even take over your whole system.

So, you know how when something isn’t new anymore and people start to worry about their privacy, it’s basically bound to fail? Well, that’s exactly what happened with Google Desktop. It was actually a pretty cool idea, but it ended up being another one of Google’s failed products.

The Saga of Google Buzz

Now let me tell you about Google Buzz. They were trying to compete with Twitter, so they decided to integrate it right into Gmail. You could post updates with all kinds of stuff like text, links, photos, and videos. Sounds pretty neat, right? Wrong. It turned out to be a complete donkey.

The reason Buzz didn’t fly was simple: it didn’t offer anything special that Twitter didn’t already have. There was no reason for people to switch over from Twitter to Google Buzz. And because of that, Buzz became another Google product that bit the dust.

A Chat About Google Talk

Now, let’s talk about Google Talk. It was Google’s chat interface where you could send instant messages using text or even your voice. Kinda like Google Reader, it had a small group of loyal users who were pretty bummed when Google decided to pull the plug on it.

I’m here to tell you about a Google product that didn’t quite make it. But don’t worry, it’s not because it was a complete failure. Google had another product they were really focusing on – Google Hangouts.

Let’s Talk About Orkut

Google Orkut was like Google’s version of Facebook. It was a social media platform where you could add friends, share your thoughts and photos, and connect with others.

But then something big happened – Facebook came along and took over the social media world. It had all these cool features that Orkut didn’t have, like a like button to show your appreciation for posts, notifications to keep you updated, and a super easy-to-use interface.

Facebook simply did it better, and that’s why Orkut couldn’t compete. It tried to be a social media platform, but it just didn’t make the cut.

No Answers for You

Here’s another example of Google not quite hitting the mark.

Google Answers didn’t really take off because users had to pay for answers. And let’s be honest, not many people want to pay for something when they can get it for free elsewhere.

When I look at free answer services like Yahoo Answers, where you can connect directly with a person, it’s no surprise that a paid service like Google Answers didn’t work out.


Let’s talk about Dodgeball, a website that Google acquired. It was all about connecting with people in your area.

But here’s the thing: the technology just couldn’t keep up with the idea or the demand.

Soon enough, other platforms like Facebook introduced features like check-in that took away the crowd who wanted to share those parts of their lives.


Now, let me tell you about Google Allo, a really cool messaging service. One of its standout features was end-to-end encryption, which meant your messages were super secure.

If you wanted even more privacy, you could use Incognito mode. This way, your messages would automatically be deleted after a short time.

Unfortunately, another Google product has failed.

The reason Google Allo failed is because its core features were not optimized.

Instead of allowing access to a Google Allo account on multiple devices, accounts were only tied to phone numbers, not Google accounts.

But the main reason Allo failed is because Google created a separate SMS client instead of adding SMS support to the app.

This meant that Allo users could only connect with other Allo users, which ultimately defeated the purpose for many people.


Google Wave, like other Google products, didn’t receive enough user activity to be supported.

The main reason for its failure was its invite-only feature.

It was like a secret club where you needed an invite to join, which meant not many people could become users. Unfortunately, Google didn’t do a great job of promoting the product.

Because of this, mainly tech-savvy people ended up using it, and since not many people adopted the product, Google couldn’t continue supporting it.

Inbox by Gmail

This one is pretty obvious. Inbox by Gmail failed because having a separate email client wasn’t necessary.

All the features that Inbox by Gmail had could have been added to the Gmail app, so there wasn’t a rush to use this service.

Chrome Apps

Google’s Chrome apps were popular for a short while, but then they just faded away.

I noticed that people have stopped using Google Chrome apps, and it seems like Google is no longer very interested in supporting these features.

Looking at other failed products from Google, it’s clear that they prioritize things that bring in money.

That’s an important lesson to remember.


Nexus was supposed to be Google’s answer to the Android smartphone.
There was a lot of excitement around it, but unfortunately, it didn’t live up to the hype.

There were a few reasons why Nexus failed.

First, it could only be bought from the Google online store, even though it was meant to work with a carrier.

However, the carrier they chose was T-Mobile, which isn’t very popular compared to other carriers.

Android is available on many different smartphones, and there are still big arguments between Android and iPhone users.

So, here’s the deal. The Google Nexus just didn’t have that special something that made people want to buy it. And because of this, it ended up being another failed Google product.

Shortening URLs

And oh boy, let me tell ya, the URL Shortener is another example of Google not being able to keep up with all the other URL shortening services out there. There are just too many of ’em!

Times are changin’, my friend. The way we search and browse the internet is no exception. People are movin’ from desktop to mobile, and products and services gotta keep up. It’s just the way things are.

Why would Google keep spendin’ money on a URL Shortener that nobody really wants anymore? There are so many other popular ones out there now, it just doesn’t make sense.

Learning from Google’s Failures

So, I just read this list of failures from one of the biggest companies in the whole wide world and it might make you feel a bit down. But hey, don’t let it get you down!

Even the almighty Google has had its fair share of failures. Yes, you heard that right. Even Google, with all its power and money, has created some products that were total flops.

But here’s the thing – just because Google failed doesn’t mean that every idea you have as an entrepreneur is gonna go down the drain too. Nope, not at all!

If there’s one thing we can learn from Google, it’s this: in order to make it big in business, we gotta keep on innovating. We gotta keep coming up with those amazing ideas that can become our own unicorns.

Republished by permission. Original here.