Thursday, November 22, 2007

Google sunset: Page Creator and Co-op?

In the course of drafting a geeky post on my latest experiment to my Google custom search pages, I went hunting for links to some of the pieces.

That's when I discovered that they weren't on the "Gmail menu" any more.

The "Gmail menu" is the set of links that appear atop the standard Google product pages. Today mine looks like this:
Web Images Products News Maps Gmail more ▼
Blog Search Blogger Books Calendar Documents Finance Groups Labs Orkut Patents Photos Reader Scholar Video
This is the list of products Google wants us to use. The list used to include a link to "more", which pointed to Google Labs, but that link has been removed. It also used to include a link to Google Page Creator, but that's been demoted all the way to a "red icon" "beta" entry on the Google Labs menu. (Looking at the list, it appears that red, yellow, green refer to the relative health of the project following the euro conventions.)

In other words, Google Page Creator is being sunset. I expect they'll replace it with something considerably better, but the transition will be painful. I use GPC a fair bit for some of my Google App sites, so I'm mildly concerned about how Google will manage the pending switch. I wouldn't advise anyone to start using PGC today.

Google Co-Op, which is integral to my pending post, has vanished. It's not on the Lab page and it's no longer on the Gmail drop down menu. Google's still doing press releases about their coop-subsuming custom search engine program though, so I'm hopeful this will be relaunched in some other form. (update: looks like Co-Op was subsumed into CSE last March)

My mental model of Google is that It worships the algorithm, abhors the satanic tree hierarchy , and considers natural selection to be the ultimate algorithm (good and deity). All of this can be seen in their product approach. Google Co-Op, for example, still has a page and seems active, but there's no exposure of a "parent" page. It will survive or die based on the evolution of the links that point to it.

Like this one.

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