The beauty of this platform that we love, Android, is the many things that it allows you to do. Customization is the name. Besides the built-in features that Google and its partners, the various device makers, update every year with every new version of Android, apps play a key role in how we use our devices and, thus, end up perceiving the platform as a whole.
This is why it is always sad when some notable apps, like the ones listed below, reach their end of life and their developers call it a day.
In 2019, there were several high profile and very visible exits led by none other than Google itself. In fact, as per this list, Google killed the highest number of apps and services.
1. Buzz Launcher
For those that used it, Buzz Launcher was undeniably the king of Android customization. Well, if you are willing to overlook the other options that have existed for years but required system-level privileges (root).
Unfortunately for it, and the thousands of users that had made it what it is with their unique creative creations, Buzz Launcher opened the year effectively dead. It has remained so ever since.
It was no secret that Google’s failed social product was going to die. In a world where Facebook won on the mainstream front where it once hoped to dominate and the remaining crumbs taken over by messenger apps, there was only one way Google+ could go: the grave.
I mean, what was there to keep it running after all that we had found it useful for like photos (Google Photos) and messages (Hangouts) had long been stripped off and offered to users as standalone products?
Google’s struggles with social media didn’t end at the networking (ala Facebook) stage. They extended to the messaging/messenger side of things. While whatever remains of its chat product, Hangouts, remains on life support and is a prime candidate for hitting the graveyard in 2020, 2019 saw its attempts at yet another messaging app, Allo, go up in smoke.
It is not like it was unexpected, though. Like Google+, Google had long stripped its most useful features, like the Google Assistant, and availed them outside the app. Other standout features like Smart Replies had been made available to Google’s other messaging app, Android Messages.
Following an announcement around this time last year, Allo finally breathed its last in March. Its legacy, however, remains secure in the future of messaging that Google is pursuing by bringing everything that made it worthwhile to Android Messages and going through with its rollout of rich messaging features.
4. Inbox by Gmail
5 years ago, the bright people at Google came up with a way to one-up themselves: re-invent the wheel. Make what they had improved upon just 6 years earlier, better. Thus was born Inbox.
From the start, Inbox’s main undoing could easily be found in its name: Inbox by Gmail. Could an email experience outside of Gmail stick around and be allowed to co-exist? We’ve lived long enough to know the answer.
That is not to discount Inbox, though.
It was brilliant and well thought out. There were lots of features it packed at launch that were way ahead of their time and, as we have seen them get integrated in other Google products like Gmail and Messages, must-haves.
However, its lack of appeal to the masses that stuck with the good old Gmail they have come to know and love, was its Waterloo. As such, its end, just like Allo and Google+, arrived at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
5. Google Trips
If there is to be a painless death then this is more like it.
You see, Google Trips is a service offered by Google that makes scheduling, well, trips, easy. The service lives on to date and there are many out there that are enjoying it this holiday season and even many more who will be relying on it in years to come.
However, what is for certain is that they won’t be using the service from a mobile application.
The Google Trips mobile app was discontinued in August and we have had to learn to live without its lively recommendations ever since.