11 embarrassingly failed products of Google

We are all familiar with successful Google products. Most people use one of the company’s services on a daily basis, be it Google Maps, a search engine, Android Auto, or Chrome OS.

But the giant also has a long list of apps, social media platforms or hardware that, for some reason, can’t reach the heights of others.

Here’s a trip back through some of Google’s most notable failures.

1. Nexus Q

Nexus Q is a home entertainment device, with the ability to connect to Android devices as well as connect to the internet to play music and videos right on your home TV.

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Why is this device failing? For a lot of reasons. Instead of being controllable separately, the Q can only be controlled from an Android tablet or smartphone. Worse yet, the Nexus Q can only stream from Google-owned services (Google Music, Google Play, and YouTube), which means it lacks support for some of the most popular streaming apps, including Netflix and Spotify. . The $300 price tag makes it even less attractive.

2. Google Glass

This $1,500 smart glasses was once thought to change the way people use technology. The demise of Google Glass was caused by a series of problems. Among them, the strongest blow was the controversy surrounding the built-in camera, causing people to fear their privacy was violated. Google Glass has been banned from theatres, bars and restaurants, and at least one tech reporter has been assaulted for wearing glasses outside a bar.

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Aside from privacy issues, Google Glass is too expensive to attract customers and doesn’t offer enough functionality. One day, however, we might look back on Glass as a pioneer for something that could eventually replace smartphones.

3. Pixel Slate

The Pixel Slate is a keyboard-removable tablet similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pro, but it’s a Chromebook running Google’s Chrome OS. The Pixel Slate came out at a time when Android tablets were completely defeated by the iPad.

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Despite the high expectations, the Pixel Slate only brought disappointment when it went on sale in 2018. It failed to make a mark in the market and Google said it discontinued production within just a few months. Ironically, after the death of the Pixel Slate, the Android tablet was suddenly revived thanks to Samsung’s Galaxy Tab line. This brings us all the way to 2022, when Google introduces an upcoming Pixel tablet, running on Android instead of Chrome OS.

4. Google Tango

An example of being ahead of its time, Tango was Google’s original attempt at bringing augmented reality (AR) to phones. The problem is the approach.

Project Tango

While modern mobile AR platforms can use hardware already in your smartphone, Tango requires phone manufacturers to implement expensive camera hardware to apply AR. While Tango itself was largely praised, some of the phones that supported it were criticized for being cumbersome, expensive, and slow. Tango also has similar problems with the current AR platform, which is not having enough attractive applications and not delivering on what was promised.

Tango was eventually terminated, but its soul lives on in ARCore, Google’s suite of software development kits that don’t need additional hardware to build AR apps.

5. Daydream

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Daydream is a follow-up to Google’s low-cost Cardboard glasses, allowing you to experience emerging VR technology through a $15 box and your smartphone. Daydream is a new version of Cardboard with a much more comfortable and premium design. It doesn’t offer anything new in terms of functionality: the Daydream is still just a phone holder, so you can hold it a few centimeters from your face while watching VR apps. However, $79 is too high a price for such a thing.

6. Buzz

The Google Buzz social networking service was announced on February 9, 2010 and then shut down on December 15, 2011. During its short existence, it suffered a class-action lawsuit from who argued that the launch of Buzz was a violation of the privacy of Gmail users.

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Google quickly made changes to address a number of user concerns, but all failed. Buzz did not receive the sympathy of users from the first days and was eventually replaced by Google+.

7. Google+

Google+ is the most ambitious attempt to take on Facebook. Its emergence in part led to the closure of Orkut (another unsuccessful social app), Buzz, and Google Friend Contact. Google has poured all of its resources into Google+ in the hope of drawing Android, YouTube, and Chrome users into a single platform.


Google+ wants to be the next Facebook, an app for people to communicate with friends, post photos, and find news. There are also options for group video chat and group text messaging. Unfortunately, Google+ was never able to scale like its competitors and was involved in two significant data leaks before shutting down.

Though ultimately unsuccessful, the platform outlived Google’s previous social networks, Google+ disappearing in 2019, after seven years of existence. The only remaining part of Google+ is Google Currents, an app for the company’s communications, but which is also expected to be shut down in 2023.

8. Google Video

If you can’t beat your opponent, buy them. Google Video was an internal attempt to take on YouTube, the leading free video sharing platform at the time (and still #1 to this day). Launched in 2005, Google Video allows videos to be uploaded to Google’s servers and embedded in other websites.

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Along with videos from amateur users, the platform is used to host commercial professional media, such as TV shows and movies. Despite allowing free uploads in many formats, Google Video couldn’t keep up with YouTube and amassed only 2.8 million uploads in its seven years of existence.

When Google acquired YouTube in 2006, the death of Google Video was heralded. However, it was a slow, painful death for the platform. Within a few months, Google started merging Video with YouTube, but it wasn’t until 2009 that Google stopped letting users upload videos to its old platform. Google Video lasted for two more years before shutting down.

9. Knol

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Search for any topic on Google and one of the first results will be from Wikipedia. Like Wikipedia, Knol compiles user-written content on a wide range of topics and promises to pay contributors a share of the revenue. If you write content that is worth reading, you can make some money from it. However, Google didn’t put much effort into the site, Knol gradually sank into oblivion as Wikipedia continued to grow its database empire.

10. Answers

Google is a way for us to search for answers to our questions without spending a dime. However, with Google Answers, you will have to pay to get an answer.

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This is a service that allows people to submit questions to experts for a fee. You can submit a question and state how much you are willing to pay for an answer (from 2 USD to 200 USD). Then, one of 500 researchers will be selected by Google to work on your question.

The service existed for a few years, but Answers never became as popular as Yahoo. People like to find free answers from an open community, not well-researched answers from people who are well versed in a topic.

11. Project Ara

Project Ara was never officially released. However, its disappearance is also disappointing and unfortunate. Project Ara wants to bring a modular smartphone, you can upgrade each component separately without having to buy a new phone.

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It’s basically a smartphone designed as easily interchangeable Lego pieces. For example, you may have removed a camera module to upgrade to a more advanced module. The benefits of Ara are very attractive, but despite promising to send test samples in the fall of 2016, Google has decided to stop developing the project.

If you want, you can visit the “Google Graveyard” with many other discontinued products here.

Reference: Gizmodo

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