Google puts Desktop app out to pasture

The popularity of Web apps, online storage and improvements in operating systems' local search prompted the decision

Google is retiring Desktop, an application it launched in 2004 that is designed to let people search for files and data stored in their computers' hard drives.

It was one of the first products Google aimed against Microsoft and was intended to improve upon the native search functionality found in Windows operating systems.

Desktop search became an area of competition, as Microsoft responded to the challenge and others such as Yahoo launched their own products.

However, Google has decided that, with the popularity of cloud computing and users' increasing comfort with Web applications and with the concept of storing data and files online, the time has come to decommission Desktop.

Operating systems have also improved their local search functionality, the company said in a blog post on Friday.

As of Sept. 14, Google will shut down downloads for Desktop, and will stop developing updates and big fixes for existing installations of the product, which was used by tens of millions of people over the years,

Google will also end support for Desktop APIs (application programming interfaces), services, plug-ins and gadgets.

Desktop is one in a string of product closures carried out since co-founder Larry Page took over as CEO in April. Page has said that the company needs to put "more wood behind fewer arrows."

Among the products discontinued since Page took over are Google Health and Google PowerMeter. The company is also going to close its Google Labs website, and has been over the past month deciding which of those early stage product prototypes should be canceled and which ones will live on.

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