This year, in addition to the usual launches of next-generation smartphones, laptops, operating systems and smart home devices, we saw a real explosion in everything related to artificial intelligence, from text and image generators to dedicated content recommendation engines on social networks.
The social platforms have also changed significantly as they shifted the emphasis from the viewers and readers to the content creators.
But alongside the headline-grabbing innovation, just as many products and services have been shut down for good, and for every successful product we've seen hundreds of others fail and be shelved.
Failures, it turns out, do not miss even the largest and most successful corporations in the world, which continue to try new things and learn through experimentation.
Towards 2023, we decided to dwell on some of the services and products that fell from their greatness, to try to understand why it didn't work and draw lessons for the future.
May they rest in peace: the technologies that are no longer with us. (Photo: Pixabay.com)
Merger and reduction of Google services
- After months of rumors and denials, Google finally announced in September that it plans to shut down its gaming service Stadia, which launched in November 2019 and "failed to resonate with consumers," it said.
Stadia offered a high-quality gaming experience on phone and PC, but lagged behind on TV.
Stadia players will have access to their library and game data until January 18, 2023, and Google is issuing refunds for purchases of hardware, games and add-ons.
For Google, which invested a huge fortune in the development of the platform, this is a serious failure, but as we know it, it does not intend to throw all this effort in the trash.
Google plans to use the cloud gaming technology behind Stadia for other business projects.
"We see clear opportunities to apply this technology to other parts of Google like YouTube, Google Play and our augmented reality (AR) efforts – as well as making it available to our industry partners, which aligns with where we see the future of gaming," says Harrison.
The YouTube Go application
, which was intended for areas and devices with weak reception, made it possible to download videos and watch them offline.
According to the company, after the improvements it made to its main app, Go became redundant: "YouTube invested in improvements to the main YouTube app that make it perform better in these environments, while providing a better user experience that includes our entire community. Specifically, we improved performance for devices legacy or those watching YouTube on slower networks. We're also building additional user controls that help reduce mobile data usage for viewers with limited data."
In this way, Moshe YouTube saves itself the maintenance, operation and updates and at the same time provides a better service to its users.
- Google has been preparing for the demise of Google Hangouts since 2018, but it wasn't until this year that it finally made the move to Google Chat.
Those who don't use Google's chat apps may not have noticed, as the company automatically moved old Hangouts conversations to the Chat app, which is now the default chat experience within Gmail.
The Google Street View app
that displays satellite photos of streets will be shut down in early 2023 as the exact same functionality is also available in the Google Maps app.
In addition, the company announced in November that Google Assistant's "driving mode" will also be closed.
"Driving Mode" will remain available to Google Maps users.
, the corporate version of Google+, will close in 2023 and be replaced by Spaces, a dedicated place for organizing people, topics and projects that Google launched last year, with an emphasis on tight integration with Google Workspace products, including Gmail, Calendar, Drive and Meet, for seamless collaboration even from a distance.
The content and communities that remain in Currents will be moved to Spaces.
A timeline for joining the data transfer and other milestones, as well as instructions to assist with the transition, will be published in the coming months.
: Google-owned Wiz's ride-sharing service could have been a real pain point for traffic and air pollution, but the user experience for hitchhikers and drivers was so bad that it never really worked.
The company's announcement reads: "Recently, we have detected a trend of change in driving patterns on the roads. While Wise was primarily a travel application before the Corona epidemic, today the amount of trips for trips and errands has exceeded daily trips. We are proud of what we have achieved through Wise Carpool, and thank the carpool community for the joint work to reduce the number of cars on the road."
The service was dropped from the app in September.
Closing projects due to lack of public interest in meta
- Facebook has been courting publishers for a long time, with mixed results.
In 2015, when more people were reading news on their phones, it launched Instant Articles, which presented articles inside the Facebook mobile app for a reading experience 10 times faster than going to an external site (Google followed suit a few months later with AMP).
But as Meta told Axius in October, "Less than 3% of what people around the world see on Facebook's feed are posts with links to news articles, so it doesn't make sense to overinvest in areas that don't match user preferences."
Those who built a following through Instant Articles will be forced to switch to LinkedIn or start a standalone website before they disappear for good in April 2023.
Instagram ditches Boomerang and Hyperlapse
, its standalone apps, on March 1, shortly after ending support for the IGTV app, "to better focus our efforts on the main app," according to Instagram.
She is of course talking about Reels, the new video engine for creating short TikTok-like videos, which now appear more prominently on Instagram.
Facebook Live Shopping:
The feature allowed business owners to showcase and sell products in live videos, answer questions and get real-time feedback, but with the rise of TikTok, Meta has eliminated shopping broadcasts and encouraged merchants to experiment with Reels ads on Facebook and Instagram.
Live Shopping on Instagram will continue, allowing users to tag up to 30 products in Reels.
Businesses with stores that support the checkout can collaborate with other creators and schedule broadcasts up to three months in advance.
Facebook gaming app
: Meta's effort to compete with Twitch on YouTube ended in August, with much of the features being rolled into its main app.
Meta invested a significant amount of money and signed major content creators from Twitch and YouTube to long-term exclusive deals.
Despite this, Meta chose to focus its gaming efforts on the VR and Metaverse worlds.
: The cryptocurrency project initiated by Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Meta, was closed this year due to regulatory considerations.
The goal of the project was to create a new blockchain-based currency that people could easily use from any mobile device, without paying additional fees for currency transfers.
However, lawmakers and regulators in the US and Europe worried that the cryptocurrency project would give Zuckerberg's companies too much power over the global financial system. Struggles to gain regulatory approval eventually caused Zuckerberg's partners in the project — including PayPal, eBay, Stripe, Mastercard and Visa — to pull out of the project. in less than a year from the date of its establishment.
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Regulatory and image problems at Amazon
The "Sold by Amazon" program
allowed retailers on the platform to coordinate prices with third-party sellers, rather than competing with them.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he was violating antitrust laws.
"Amazon unreasonably restrained competition in order to maximize its profits from third-party sales, which constituted illegal price fixing," he announced in January.
The company was fined $2.25 million and then shut down the "Sold by Amazon" program.
Amazon offered the program from 2018 to 2020 on an order-only basis.
It invited several hundred third-party sellers with whom it previously competed for online sales on Amazon and other e-commerce platforms.
"Consumers lose out when giants like Amazon set prices to increase their profits," Ferguson said.
of the Amazon ambassador program
, the company hired full-time workers to tweet positive messages about working at the company's logistics centers, but amid reports of poor working conditions, as well as union-busting tactics, the company quietly ended the ambassador program in January.
, formerly Amazon Cloud Drive, was launched in 2011 to provide cloud storage, file backup, file sharing, and photo printing.
However, the focus now shifts to Amazon Photos.
Competition was likely the main cause of Amazon Drive's demise, after all, countless providers offer cheap cloud storage these days, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and OneDrive.
Amazon Drive's pricing wasn't even particularly competitive at $119 per year for 2 TB, the same rate as competitors Dropbox and Google Drive.
According to Statista, Amazon Drive was the most popular cloud storage service as of September 2021, ahead of iCloud and OneDrive.
Since Amazon Photos essentially offers the same service, the disappearance of the drive means that only files not supported by Amazon Photos will have to find a new home in another cloud storage service.
The Amazon Drive apps have been removed from the iOS and Android app stores, and support for uploading files to the Amazon Drive website will end on January 31st, before shutting down completely at the end of 2023.
Amazon physical stores:
In 2015, after helping to eradicate bookstores in the US, Amazon entered the field itself and opened the chain of stores Amazon Books - a physical representation of its online store. Later it raised pop-up stores and entered convenience stores and authors such as Go and Whole Foods. But the company's innovations haven't been enough to counter a rush to online shopping that Amazon itself has fueled. The coronavirus hasn't helped either, and brick-and-mortar stores, which accounted for just 3% of Amazon's sales, have often failed to keep pace with growth in the company's other businesses. Amazon announced in March Because it will close all 68 retail stores and pop-up stores in the US and the UK.
So what can be learned from this?
Let's start with the encouraging fact: if you have a startup at the beginning and you don't understand why it doesn't take off, you can always PIVOT and move the focus somewhere else.
Even if you have invested your soul and life and believe in your idea wholeheartedly, if it has no demand and profitability, you will have to say goodbye to it, but if there is anything to learn from the technology giants, it is that they never give up.
Despite hundreds and maybe thousands of failures over the years, they continue to try new things and learn through experimentation.
They know that statistically, not every product will work, but what does succeed eventually covers the development costs of all other projects.
And if one application of technology does not succeed because it does not have a market, you can always find another application for it.
It is also encouraging to know that there are those who are protecting the public interest, whether it is in the case of Amazon who set prices illegally, or the case of Meta, who planned to amass unreasonable financial power through digital currencies.
While technology is constantly evolving, the watchdogs of democracy continue to stand guard and are largely successful in curbing the power that corporations have accumulated until they are forced to make strategic changes to their products.
Finally, there is always the matter of supply and demand.
Even though they have all the data in the world, it turns out that even the technology giants don't always manage to be accurate in their predictions, and what seemed like a good investment just a year ago turned out to be uneconomical or irrelevant.
While the general trend at Google is to group different capabilities into a limited number of apps, the lack of profitability in Meta and Amazon's nested products indicates that we will probably never see them again.
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