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Google does a mean spring clean

Kills the questioning Aardvark

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Google has taken the broom to ten of its experimental services as part a self described “fail fall spring-clean".

“Technology improves, people’s needs change, some bets pay off and others don’t. Over the next few months we’ll be shutting down a number of products and merging others into existing products as features,” the company said on its blog.

The shut down is a flow on effect from Google CEO Larry Page’s decision to close Google Labs a few months ago, but out with the bathwater are a few expensive babies.

Social question-and-answer service Aardvark is on the list and slated to be silenced at the end of September.

The Quora-styled service was acquired by Google for a hefty US$50 million just over 18 months ago. Aardvark was founded by a team of ex-Googlers and allowed you to submit questions to people in your social network. A day after it was acquired it was moved into Google Labs.

“Aardvark began as a small experiment in a new kind of social search and over a few years blossomed into a service that made millions of connections between people to answer each other’s questions,” Max and Damon from Aardvark wrote in a post on Friday.

The Aardvarkers intimated that they have put the learnings behind Aardvak into much of the functionality of Google+. “It has been gratifying to see how well this project is doing — even in these early stages, Google+ has already become a great place to share knowledge online, eclipsing the original vark.com!” they said.

Aardvark users who want to retrieve past data from the service can do so until September 30. The team is even offering to send a bulk data dump of requested info on request.

Meanwhile, Google claims the shut down of the other nine services will improve the overall Google experience. All the Googlers working on the defunct projects will be moved over to “higher-impact products”, the company said. Resources will be allocated to divisions such as, Google+, as well as web applications such as Gmail and Google Docs.

Other service to be halted include Google Desktop, which will cease to exist on September 14; Fast Flip will be morphed into other news services; Google Maps will no longer support Flash APIs; Google Web Security will be phased out from sale, but will continue to support its existing customers; Google Pack will be discontinued; Image Labeler will be completely shut down; Google Notebook data will move to Google Docs; Subscribed Links will no longer appear in search results after September 15 and Sidewiki will be discontinued. ®

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