Plus is king now: Google shutters more products

I'm+ sorry+, what+ was+ that+? I+ can't+ hear+ you+

Larry Page's first nine months as the second-time-around Google CEO has been defined by his attempts to cut out the rot at Mountain View while pollinating the company's entire online estate with social goo.

That effort continued on two fronts late last week.

First, Google confirmed it was axing six more of its products. Separately, a blogger spotted that the world's largest ad broker had begun hooking all new Gmail signups directly into Google+ by default.

"As we head into 2012, we’ve been sticking to some old resolutions – the need to focus on building amazing products that millions of people love to use every day," said Google product management veep Dave Girouard in a blog post.

"That means taking a hard look at products that replicate other features, haven’t achieved the promise we had hoped for or can’t be properly integrated into the overall Google experience."

He then went on to list products on the Chocolate Factory's hit list.

It's taking out and shooting the little-used Google Message Continuity (GMC) service that was developed for Mountain View's enterprise customers who wanted to back up emails originally sent or received via an on-premise, Microsoft Exchange system.

Any punter currently using GMC can continue to do so for the duration of their contract, said Google, but support is ending for that product and users are encouraged to shift over to using Google Apps instead.

The company is also offloading its Sky Map app for its Android OS to Carnegie Mellon University, where it will morph into an open-source project.

Google's data management platform Needlebase, which it acquired with the buyout of ITA Software, will be "retired" in June with the fate of further development of that technology still undecided.

Picnik – an online photo editor bought by Google in 2010 – will be killed on 19 April this year. The firm said that users can download a zip file of their Picnik data or copy them over to Google+.

"As of now, the premium service is free to everyone. Premium members will receive a full refund in the coming weeks," Girouard added.

Google's Social Graph API is also being dumped in April because it failed to be widely adopted by developers who may have wanted to use the tool to sniff out public connections between individuals online.

Finally, in March this year the company will kill off its client-based version of Urchin, a web analytics product bought by Google in 2005.

"Resolutions can be hard, and changing products that people love is hard too. But we’re excited to focus on creating a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience across Google - an experience that will change the lives of millions of people," Girouard said.

Meanwhile, the search giant has now bedded down its social network – Google+ – into its free online email service Gmail, which has around 350 million users worldwide.

As spotted by blog Google Operating System late last week, the company gives all new signups their very own Google+ account by default. No interaction is required by newbies who might want access to the social network.

Of course, it's a move that also means Google can finally start to plump up those user metric figures over at Google+. ®

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