Google gives and Google takes. Today sees a rarer event of the latter as Google does it's annual fall "spring cleaning." Many of the features that are being discontinued today are ones that I hadn't even heard of, so likely you haven't heard of them either. In the rare chance that you have, we'll give you the information you need.
The majority of today's discontinuations will likely only affect a small portion of the population at large. One of the main "spring cleaning" changes that will affect the most people is the change to storage. Google is combining Picasa and Drive storage into one single pool AND the free 5GB of storage will count towards your paid storage limit.
The rest of the changes are detailed in Google's blog post, which we have replicated here for your convenience:
Technology offers so many opportunities to help improve users' lives. This means it is really important to focus or we end up doing too much with too little impact. So today we're winding down a bunch more features-bringing the total to nearly 60 since we started our "spring" clean last fall.
- AdSense for Feeds was designed to help publishers earn revenue from their content by placing ads on their RSS feeds. Starting October 2, we'll begin to retire this feature-and on December 3 we'll close it. Publishers can continue to use FeedBurner URLs powered by Google, so they won't need to redirect subscribers to different URLs. For more information visit the AdSense Help Center.
- Classic Plus is a Google Search feature that lets people upload or select images to use as a background on Google.com. Users won't be able to upload new pictures starting from October 16, and we'll turn the service off in November 2012. You'll continue to have access to any images you've uploaded.
- Google storage in Picasa and Drive will be consolidated over the next few months, so users will have five GB of free storage across both services. If you're paying for storage, your free storage will now be counted towards your total. So if you buy a 100GB plan, it will give you 100GB of total storage instead of adding to what you already had. We believe this approach will make it much easier for users. For both free and paid storage, people at or near their current storage limits will have the same amount of storage after this change.
- Spreadsheet Gadgets were designed to allow people to add customized features to Google Spreadsheets. But most popular gadgets have now been added directly into charts in spreadsheets. So we will slowly start turning off Gadgets in Spreadsheets next year.
- Starting on October 15, we'll stop issuing and displaying Google News Badges, as well as showing Recommended Sections. People can still tailor their Google News experience by adding custom sections or adjusting the frequency with which news sources appear.
- We've merged Insights for Search into a revamped Google Trends. You can now see search trends and compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties in a single place: google.com/trends. We will no longer support Trends for Websites, which allowed people to compare traffic to and audiences of different websites.
- Places Directory was an Android app that helped people find nearby places of interest. We've removed the app from Google Play and are taking down the Places Directory site because users can find everything in Google Maps for Mobile, which offers a much better user experience.
- We introduced +1 Reports in Webmaster Tools to help publishers measure +1 activity on their pages. Given that webmasters now use Social Reports in Google Analytics to get a wider view of social activity (including +1's), we'll be discontinuing the stand-alone +1 Reports on November 14. Measuring social media remains a priority for Google Analytics, so stay tuned for future improvements.
We want people to have a beautifully simple experience when using Google. These changes will enable us to focus better so that we can do more to help improve the products that millions of people use multiple times a day.