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The Google failures that drove innovation

Google was founded over 20 years ago, with its beginnings starting as part of a PhD research project at Stanford University in 1995. In 1998 Google launched officially. Over the last two decades, this tech company has climbed its way to the top of the industry to become one of the world’s most innovative, successful and well-known businesses of the 21st century – however, it’s had it’s failures as well as it’s successes, proving that to succeed in tech, you need to keep innovating.

Rapid growth

Since its birth back in the mid-90s, Google has grown at an astonishing rate. From a start-up search engine titled Backrub until 1997, this US tech business has become one of the most recognisable brands across the world and also a key leader of the new technological era, sitting alongside other tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

Over a short space of time, Google has not only become the leading search engine, but has also ventured into other services and products through the creation of apps and acquiring businesses, including one of its most famous companies, YouTube. Google is a company unafraid to test the boundaries and push forward technology, which is one of the many reasons it has become one of the largest brands in the world. Acquiring an average of one company per week since 2010, Google is grasping opportunities on a regular basis to drive its innovation.

Some of Google’s most successful services include Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, Gmail, Calendar and Google Drive, which are key tools used across the world for businesses, universities and personal usage.

But whilst this leading business sits as the most visited website in the world to date, with a search engine dominating 70% of the search market, Google’s journey to success has been far from perfect. Whilst it has seen many great wins, it also has faced many failures and losses. Over the years, Google has had to close down many of its apps and services due to their failings in popularity and pick up. From an app used to control home appliances, to a 3D building app used for Google Earth, these are just a few examples of the failures Google has encountered.

RS Components has created a graphic revealing Google’s failed ventures during their journey to success. With Google Hangouts due to be the next platform set to be sent under, what are the other apps that haven’t picked up for this tech leader?

Google Talk was Google’s longest-standing app before closure

Google Talk launched nearly 15 years ago in 2005 as an instant messaging service built for both voice and text communication. More commonly known as Gchat this app was immensely popular in its time and was a popular platform used by enterprises as a way to communicate with one another internally in a more informal style, Google Talk was also used by people as a platform of communication to keep in touch with friends and family, similar to how people use apps Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger today.

Ten years on and the app began to decline, with Google stating in 2015 that the service would stop working for Windows and would be replaced by a new app they had created, Google Hangouts. In June 2017, Google Talk was discontinued entirely.

The transition from Google Talks to Google Hangouts is a key example of this tech leader pushing the boundaries, seeking ways to improve their services and move forward whilst providing the latest technology in the industry. Google Hangouts emerged as an integrated product of Google Talk and Google+ Messenger, deeming the other two services out of use. Hangouts also differed slightly in its target audience, which was specifically aimed at enterprise communication.


Bye bye Hangouts

Again in 2019, we are seeing Google push for change and innovation, with their announcement earlier this year to close Hangouts.

Other apps Google have closed over the last decade span across a variety of services and industries, from Pixate, a platform used to create sophisticated animations and interactions to Area, a food delivery and home-service app that allowed users to order meals from restaurants and schedule appointments for electricians. With Google’s failed apps sharing similarities to the likes of huge emerging tech companies, such as Deliveroo, it is clear that Google are pushing to lead the way in innovative technology for their customers to use.


What revolutionary apps will we see Google produce in the next 20 years?