Google's 19th birthday: List of 19 failed projects to ponder

Google is celebrating its 19th birthday, and here is a list of 19 failures the company should ponder and learn its lessons to do better in future, as Artificial Intelligence is set to take over human jobs and minds.

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Google, which started its journey back in 1998, is celebrating its 19th birthday on Wednesday, September 27. Every year, the tech giant gives its followers and fans a chance to appreciate its impeccable journey to new heights but the occasion, nonetheless, calls for a re-look at what the search giant failed to accomplish and why.

Started as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google has emerged as the only search engine in everybody's day to day life, relegating other rivals to non-existence. It provides many tech products, Internet-related services, and technologies among others. With $89.5 billion revenue in 2016, Google hosts 172 million unique visitors every month to its homepage.

This year, Google has brought out a new "Surprise Spinner", a Google doodle, which compiles all the Google games from the past and randomly selects one of them for you to play.

The 19th birthday of Google also reminds one that such a successful journey cannot be accomplished without failures and pains associated with them. Here are some major Google projects which will remind us of stark failures to be cautious about:


It is a method which includes some distorted code or word and asks people to write it on a box. Basically, the main motive behind such project was to differentiate humans from robots.

The company has created another invisible version called, reCAPTCHA in 2009. It is now working as a supporting programme for the CAPTCHA, as it has some accuracy issues. In 2014, Google launched No CAPTCHA. It had an "I'm not a robot" checkbox. But the smarter version, reCAPTCHA has removed the box and by monitoring the browsing history it determines whether the person is a robot or a human.


Google took over Picasa in 2004. The main motive was to allow users to organize their pictures online. But when the company launched a new photo sharing service called Google Photos in 2015, they stopped Picasa to focus on the new service.

Google Helpouts

This unique service was launched in 2013. The Google Helpouts was a project which allowed users to share their skills via live streaming to help others. But because of its popularity issues, it was discontinued in April 2015.

Google Glass

Before launching the Google glass, there was an extreme hype about this future technology. But it had so many issues after its launch. The design of the glass was quite unappealing and it had some safety-health issues also. The functions were not clear enough, and the marketing strategy failed to lift the product to that extent.

Although the company claimed that there will be a better version of it, Google has effectively stopped the Google Glass program in January 2015.

Bump and Flock

In 2015, Google had started its new journey after buying Bump Technologies. It had two apps: Bump and Flock. Bump was a mobile sharing app for iOS and Android for multimedia sharing while the Flock worked as a group sharing application.

However, Google decided to stop both the apps and removed them from Google Play and the App Store citing functional issues.

Google Video Player

Google launched its Video Player in January 2005 but the company bought YouTube after the launch. YouTube has now become so popular that people have stopped looking for Google Video. So the company had to discontinue the Video player altogether.

Google Lively

It was a non-game virtual environment, which included chat and share. It failed because it did not get much attention and the Lively team wanted to focus on core search, ads and apps business mainly. So they announced that they had to shut down the project by December 2008.

Google Answers

It is a portal which allowed users to post their questions with a payable cost between $2 to $200. In December 2006, Google said that they were going to shut the programme with a statement that 'other product considerations made it more effective for us to focus our efforts on other ways to help our users find information.'

Google Print Ads and Google Radio Ads

The company used to sell print ads and radio ads. Although Google was selling it at a very low price, in 2009 the company said that they will not continue such a project as they were not happy with the growth as it failed to reach their expectations.


In 2005, Google started its Dodgeball program along with the co-founder Dennis Crowley. It was a location-specific social networking service. Although Google did not disclose the reason behind the cancellation of the programme, in January 2009, Google announced that it would not be available anymore.


It was a shot posting site, which Google acquired in October 2007. Since Jaiku could not stand in front of Twitter, as they both had the same concept and Twitter had built its reputation already, Google had to shut down its programme. By 2012, they announced that they will not continue their microblogging project.

Google Notebook

It was a browser-based tool, which allowed users to clip, organize and browse information from websites and it also gave the freedom to its users to share data with others for collaboration. When it launched its new method of sharing information named Google Docs, the company shifted all the Notebook data to the newly launched service. By July 2012, Google discontinued Notebook service.

Google Buzz

When Google launched the social competitor of Facebook named Google Buzz, it had features like microblogging, messaging, sharing photos-videos, uploading status etc. It was also a part of Gmail.

However, previously it had security issues and then users started to complain against the social networking program of the Buzz. When Google launched Google+ and it became successful in October 2011 the company said that "in few weeks we'll shut down Google Buzz."

Google Wave

It was a programme which allowed people to communicate as well as work together with a formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and so on. But by 2012 service became unavailable, as the executive Urs Holzle announced, 'Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don't plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.'

Google Moderator

It was a feedback monitoring service and worked like Reddit. However, it failed to attract users and was shut down in June 2015.


The America based company bought Bufferbox in 2012, which was a parcel storage service. But the engagement ended in the year of 2014.


It was a service for the users, who were looking for a place to make a list of things to do or discover. They were also allowed to share it and they could mark one activity after they accomplish it. However, Google discontinued the programme in February 2014.


It worked as a personalized homepage, which gave the opportunity to the users to customize their own homepage with Google Chat, daily literary quote, games, newsfeed and so on. The company shut the project by 2013 and stated that "With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for something like iGoogle has eroded over time,"


in 2010 Google owned a photo editing service called Picnik. When the owners launched Creative Kit, they discontinued Picnik in 2012.