Every product has a life cycle. Some products last a lifetime. Others die in their infancy. And some reach for the clouds only to end up digging their own graves.
Before 2018 came to a close, we bid adieu to many tech products. Let’s take a look at some of the products that were considered promising and even amazing by many, only to see their plugs pulled in 2018.
Social Media Fizzlers
After the success of Facebook and Twitter, many new social media apps tried to compete with the goliaths, but were trampled unceremoniously. The ones that suffered an early axing were Go90, Klout, and Path.
Go90 was launched by Verizon as a social media platform with a special focus on millennials. While the name does have a weird ring to it, it was actually derived from turning the smartphone vertically instead of horizontally. The app offered a mix of original short form videos.
We bet the creepy name and lack of any good content led to the failure of the social media service.
Klout was another app that took one for the team in 2018. The app was developed specifically for social media geeks and mavens. The app calculated the social media following of various individuals, and ranked them on the basis of their score.
It was later found that the scoring algorithm was flawed and the company couldn’t do anything to improve it. Another “not-so-great” idea down the drain.
Path was a trendy social media app founded on a brilliant idea. Unlike Facebook, Path only allowed you to have up to 50 friends at a time, which meant that you could only have your closest friends in this circle. The app also featured amazing stickers and chat content.
Despite adding over 1 million users every week and being worth half-a-billion dollars at one point, the app ended up copying most of Facebook’s features but could not replicate its success.
Of everything mourn-worthy in 2018, the one that produced the greatest nostalgia was Yahoo Messenger. One of the most popular messenger apps of the early internet era, Yahoo Messenger faced some of the most difficult of times but lived to see another day.
It kept surviving despite seeing its popular competitors, the likes of AOL and MSN, going down. Finally, Verizon decided to end its suffering and replace it with Go90, which interestingly also saw its end the same year.
Google’s Annual Cleanup
The biggest brands follow the strategy of focusing only on products that matter and cleaning the rest of the stuff out the house. And Google loves nothing better than cleaning its dormant apps and replacing them with more interesting technologies.
Goggles was an interesting app launched by Google that allowed you to search for pictures online. While the idea behind it was brilliant, the app had its flaws. Google replaced it with the much better Google Lens app in 2018.
Talking about the Lens app, it is a much improved version of the Goggles app. Its powerful AI detects pictures, faces, plants, animals, text, and even barcodes. Despite its brilliance, the app is only available to users in certain countries. Fortunately, you can avoid this problem and download the app easily with PureVPN.
Another Google app that was axed was Allo, a smart messaging app with several interesting features. Turns out, the app was just an experiment and was released to test the performance of Google’s messaging AI. The AI was later integrated into Google Smart Assistant and the Messaging app.
Goodbyes from elsewhere…
In the world of typing errors and a crappy auto-correct, Swype keyboard came like a breath of fresh air for many smartphone users. The app allowed you to swipe over the keys to type messages. Not only is this method more convenient, but it’s also much faster.
While the idea was brilliant, it was soon borrowed by the likes of Google and Swiftkey. Soon the service was snapped up by Nuance and the app was pulled from both the Android and iOS platforms.
Over a decade ago, a 5 MB memory stick was enough to save the progress of our favorite games. These days, if you’re found using a smartphone with only 8 GBs of storage, you’ll immediately be considered a bozo from the older generation.
As time moved forwards, cloud storage started replacing physical storage for our everyday use. While it is more convenient to store your data on the cloud, considering that you can then access it from anywhere, however, good cloud storage can be heavy on the wallet.
While multiple cloud storage services offered a few GBs of space free of cost, multiple services started cutting up on this free service. Microsoft OneDrive cut free storage into half of what it initially offered. Apple followed the same strategy too, but Amazon went a few steps ahead and killed its music storage service altogether.
While Amazon may be the most valuable company on earth, the service looks in no mood to offer storage services for your media, even if you’re willing to pay for it.
Imagine launching a VPN service, and then openly admitting that it would be used to collect your private browsing data. If you’re weak at guessing, then you should read the journey of Opera VPN service.
In 2015, Opera acquired SurfEasy VPN. A year later, they launched a free VPN extension for their browser, and apps for Android and iOS platforms. While the service offered many important features, it openly admitted to collecting private data of the connected users for “market insights.”
It took them two years to realize that the ‘P’ in ‘VPN’ stands for Private. Hence, they had no choice but to feed this idea to the worms.
Newton Email Service
Newton offered plenty of amazing features for the email audience. It allowed you to schedule emails or setup email reminders at your preferred times. The user-interface was pretty amazing too. But the $50/year price tag? Not so much.
In short, Newton had to bite the poisonous apple in September, 2018.
Pebble Smartwatch Online Services
Pebble smartwatch received an early boost thanks to its successful Kickstarter campaign. But the company discontinued in 2016 after it was acquired by Fitbit. Its online services continued to operate, including its app store, forum, voice recognition, SMS and email replies.
But after two years of being on its last legs, the company finally decided to say goodbye in 2018.
In a nutshell…
New services are launched through new ideas. But sometimes, these ideas can be crappy, and hence the service suffers in its infancy.
In many other cases, services which were once very popular die because of a lack of innovation. The story of Yahoo messenger and Path can serve as important use-cases of how a product dies if it stops improving or listening to what its users want.
At PureVPN, we give utmost importance to user feedback and add timely improvements to our products based on their suggestions. Feel free to scale through PureVPN’s journey in 2018 and how it transformed user feedback into a roadmap to success.
Katie Tachuck is a reporter for News Lair. After graduating from UCLA, Katie got an internship at a local radio station and worked as a investigative journalist and producer. Katie has also worked as a columnist for the The Santa Fe New Mexican. Katie covers economy and community events for News Lair.