Google Trims Its Services Portfolio

"Spring has now arrived and we’re ready to close or combine another round of products," Matthias Schwab, director, Cloud Services for Google, wrote in Google's official blog Friday. "Focus is crucial if we are to improve our execution. We have so many opportunities in front of us that without hard choices we risk doing too much and not having the impact we strive for."

Among the features to be discontinued will be Google Sync for Blackberry, no longer available for download after June 1; Google Flu Vaccine Finder, ending immediately; One Pass, a payment feature for online publishers, now closed; and Picasa for Linux, which will no longer be maintained.

Users of Google Sync for Blackberry can switch to Blackberry Internet Service or Google Apps Connector for Blackberry Enterprise Server, which the company said offers "better overall service."

Google is also setting a one-year timeline in which to end support for several APIs. They are Google App Engine, Google Cloud Storage, Google Maps/Earth APIs, and YouTube API. The company said this is a common industry practice and does not mean it is ending support for the APIs themselves.

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Last September when it conducted housecleaning, Google cut 10 products from its portfolio, including Desktop and Google Web Security.

Such trimming keeps the company focused on developing the most popular products, said Crisantos Hajibrahim, head of business development for Los Angeles-based Google reseller ViWo, which received Google's Premier Partner status for the SMB business.

Their managers are like generals, he said. "They look at the battlefield and say, 'Let's refocus where we will do well,'" he added.

However, Hajibrahim said he regrets the demise of Google Health, the company's health records platform that was discontinued in June 2011. ViWo had developed an application to support Google Health. "I think they pulled the plug too early on that," he said.

Patrick Monahan, president and owner of Iron Cove Solutions, of Los Angeles, which offers Google Message Security, agreed that Google for the most part is making normal economic decisions in determining which services to drop. "If it (the service) is not making money, they won't support it."

In the case of Google Sync for Blackberry, he said, "it must have been a bear to keep synchronized."

"They probably see RIM Blackberry as a dying device," he added.