Which Google projects will bite the dust?

Thanks to the recession, Google has begun killing projects that haven't made it financially, with CEO Eric Schmidt warning the company will eliminate "dark matter" projects that "haven't really caught on" and "aren't really that exciting." Two are already on the chopping block, with more to follow.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Google has begun serious belt-tightening. Even though Google has released a slew of products over the last several years, only a small minority has actually caught on. Remember Google Checkout? How about Google TV Ads, which sells TV ad time?

At the moment, both of those services are still live, although not at all contributing to the bottom line. Like most Google services, they bring in little revenue. The Wall Street Journal reports that online ads still account for 97% of all Google revenue.

As Google has continued to release countless products that don't pay off, its stock price has plummeted at a greater pace than the overall market. Back in November 2007, it was selling for $741.79 a share. Today it's at $279.43.

Schmidt sees the handwriting on the wall, so he's been meeting with top Google execs and deciding where to slash. It's already begun. The Wall Street Journal says that Google has killed SearchMash, which Google uses to "experiment with new ways to organize search results." Soon to be killed is Lively, a virtual world "where online users can create characters and rooms for them to hang out in."

What else will go? Google says that it's planning to "prioritize our resources and focus more on our core search, ads and apps business." So you can certainly assume that all the big business-related services such as Google Apps, Google Docs, Gmail, Google Finance and others will remain.

How about Picasa? It's certainly popular, and it is an application, so my guess is that it's here to stay. I wouldn't bet on Google Mars seeing future development, though. As for Google Notebook, it's a nice little app, but I haven't met a single peson who actually uses it. I wouldn't bet on it for the long haul. Then there's something few people have heard of --- Google Audio Indexing. It wouldn't surprise me to see that on the chopping block.

How about you --- which Google services do you expect to be killed, or think should be?

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon