Google Shuts Down One Pass, Related & More in "Spring Cleaning"

Google has announced a "spring cleaning" round of product closures, continuing its drive toward a "simpler, more beautiful user experience across Google." CEO Larry Page has demanded that the company slim down to focus on its "big bets," unifying its offerings under the identity service of Google+. What got the axe this time?

Google will shut down One Pass, a micropayment service for Web publishers. It offered publishers different options, including subscriptions, metered access, freemium models, coupon discounts and single article sales. Google only charged the normal 2% fee for Google Checkout payments.

It was a neat idea, but Google has recently rolled out a different scheme to pay for online content: Google Consumer Surveys. Rather than asking users to pay with real money, Google allows publishers to monetize their opinions instead. It allows marketers to create surveys that pop up for users, paying for the content they visit. It costs survey creators $0.10 and up per response. The user just pays with his or her time.

Google Related is going away. It was an extension of Google's browser toolbar that showed related content alongside the pages one browsed. "The product isn't experiencing the kind of adoption we'd like," Google's announcement says, and the team will be moving on to apply the same skills to other Google products.

The Google Talk mobile Web app is going away. Google recommends the native Android app or third-party chat clients available on other systems.

Google Sync for BlackBerry devices will be shut down on June 1. Google recommends other services that will let BlackBerry users sync email, calendars and contacts.

The Google Flu Vaccine Finder was built for a specific need during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. It's being passed on to HealthMap.

Google has decided to redirect the Google Patent Search page to Google.com. The team has improved patent search functionality on the main search engine, so it surfaces the same information faster than the dedicated Patents page did.

Google is deprecating Picasa for Linux, launching a version for the WINE Windows emulator, which Linux machines can run. It's also disabling downloads of the Picasa Web Albums Uploader for Mac and the Plugin for iPhoto, suggesting the dedicated Picasa Mac app instead.

Finally, for developers, Google is deprecating some old APIs, and it has also adopted a new deprecation policy with a one-year timeframe and clear explanations of the process.