Google this week revealed that it kills the Inbox of Gmail in March 2019 and kills Fabric in mid 2019. Both announcements were made on Apple's iPhone Day, largely burying the news.
Coincidence? I do not think!
(In all seriousness, I'm sure Google will get the message that these services go away. It's still a weird time resolution.)
Google is often criticized for offering too many duplicative apps as well as closing down loved ones . There is an ongoing joke in the technology industry: Do not be tied to any Google service you love.
And while there is no way to predict what Google will boost next, there's a way to minimize potential impact on you by the inevitable fallout: removes all duplicate Google services.
I've never committed to Inbox by Gmail because I knew Google was going to kill it. Well, that's not entirely true: There was a time when the plan was to have Inbox replace Gmail, but somehow I knew that both could not exist forever. I have two personal Outlook.com email addresses, an unused personal Gmail account, just for Android devices, and a Gmail account for work that I can not help. I use the Outlook app on my desktop for two reasons: I prefer desktop software for one, but it also means I'm not affected by any changes in Gmail user interface.
For Allo, almost all the fonts on the wall looked from the very beginning. No support for text messages or video calls? Useless, no matter how fine some of the features were.
The Fabric and Firebase example provides another suggestion for what to look for: If features from an app or service are ported to the counterparty, be extremely careful. Sometimes you do not even have to wait for the features to appear in your workflow: The hints often come in beta releases and leaks.
The chance is that Google does not do everything that works just to make your life easier. The functionality is moved over because the company tries to measure how useful the other service really is. It happened to Allo, it happened with the inbox, and it's going to happen again and again.
From a business perspective, it makes no sense for Google to hold two or more of the same app or service around. It launches them to experiment, test and iterate, but eventually there must be a last man standing. Or sometimes, as in the case of Google Reader, nobody stands.
Hell, Google probably killed Gmail if it could not figure out a way to earn money with G Suite for Businesses and Ads for Consumers. Like all other companies, Google is a business at the end of the day.
I can say twice about using Google services, full stops. But that's another story.
ProBeat is a column where Emil ranks about what crosses him that week.