File Under: Web Services

Google to Shut Down iGoogle

Image: THOR/Flickr

Google is cleaning house again. This time the company is shutting down five services.

Google has a long history of unceremoniously killing off its less-used services, having previously axed once-high-profile efforts like Wave, Buzz, Knol and Gears, among others.

The most notable Google service on the chopping block this time is iGoogle, the company’s customizable homepage. Similar to Netvibes, MyYahoo or the now defunct PageFlakes, iGoogle was a dashboard for the web, allowing users to embed gadgets like weather, email and news.

When iGoogle first launched in 2005 it was something of a me-too effort, duplicating features found in other services, but adding numerous Google-centric gadgets. Eventually iGoogle’s gadget selection grew to encompass everything from feed readers to web-based games.

Citing the growth of mobile and web apps that “put personalized, real-time information at your fingertips,” Google says “the need for iGoogle has eroded over time.”

Fans of iGoogle don’t need to panic just yet, Google doesn’t plan to completely shut the service down until November 1, 2013. Presumably Google sees Google+ as a replacement. Other alternatives include Netvibes and PageFlakes, which both offer similar widget-based dashboard home pages. [Update: PageFlakes ceased operation in January 2012. Other possible replacements for iGoogle include UStart and ProtoPage.]

The other four services on Google’s spring cleaning shortlist include a Symbian search app, Google Talk Chatback (an embeddable Google Talk widget), Google Video, which long ago stopped taking new uploads, and Google Mini, part of Google’s enterprise search service.