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Google has confirmed that it has abandoned a number of side projects, such as its video-sharing and microblogging services, in order to focus efforts on improving more popular products. It means web users will no longer be able to upload video to the Google Video service, and signals the end of Google Catalog Search, which allowed web users to search catalogues online, as well as Google Notebook, an online 'corkboard' facility that allowed users to keep notes of interesting articles, web pages or information they had come across on the internet. It also spells the end of Dodgeball, a social software service for mobile phones, microblogging service Jaiku, and Google Mashup Editor, which enabled web users to overlay their own stats, data or information on services such as Google Maps. The changes to Google Video come as no surprise. Google bought video-sharing website YouTube, the leading video-sharing website on the internet, for $1.65 billion in 2006. And Google Catalog Search, an experimental service launched to help Google develop optical character recognition technology (OCR), is no longer needed now that Google has put OCR to use scanning and digitising books so they can be searched and read online.

The Notebook service will be closed to new members, and will no longer be developed by Google, although existing users can continue to use it. Google is trying to encourage migration across to other, similar products, such as Google Docs and Google Bookmarks. And the winding down of Jaiku, a rival to the Twitter microblogging platform, could hint at a potential future bid for Twitter by the Google team. Twitter has established itself as the major microblogging platform at the expense of several rivals, including Pownce, which closed last month. Facebook tried to acquire Twitter for $500 million in stock last year, but was rebuffed. But Google might be interested in launching a takeover bid for the platform itself, in an effort to boost its online social network presence. Twitter founder Evan Williams is a former Google employee. "Google has long believed that thoughtful iteration is the best way to build useful products for our users," wrote Vic Gundotra, vice president of engineering at Google, on the company's blog. "As part of that process, we are always looking for ways to better focus our teams on the products that can have the most impact." ( www.telegraph.co.uk )


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