7 times Google could have done better

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Since Google was founded in 1998, the company has done a great deal for the world of technology.

But while there have been some clear successes like Chromecast and Chromebooks, the company has made several attempts to blow our minds that have straight up failed.

In hopes of a brighter future full of impressive new hardware, we’ve decided to revisit seven of Google’s less-than-impressive attempts at greatness.

 

1. Google TV

 

Google’s attempt at a Smart TV platform was co-developed by Intel, Sony and Logitech, and launched on Oct. 6, 2010 and the second generation Google TV pulled in partners like LG, Samsung and Vizio. Three years after the product’s release, the introduction of the Asus Cube which promised to be the most intuitive Google TV interface proved that though the attempt seemed promising, Google TV was no match for its competitors: Apple TV, Roku or the Xbox 360. Google TV was discontinued in 2014 and succeeded by Android TV.

2. Google Glass

Image: NINA FRAZIER HANSEN/mashable

Oh, Google Glass. The rise and fall of Google’s wearable technology in the form of weird-looking, incomplete spectacles is one for the books. Though the eyewear initially captivated tech-lovers everywhere, Glass ultimately led to a great deal of hassle. Users complained that constantly looking up and to the right at the prism display resulted in eye strain, and the product ultimately devolved into a series of internet memes. And to be honest, they kind of made you look like a douchebag.

3. Project Ara

Image: KARISSA BELL/mashable

Google’s modular smartphone project, Project Ara, seemed to have some serious potential, but alas nothing came of it. The idea for the project came out of Google’s secretive Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group and had a goal of creating a unique, Android-based smartphone platform with adaptable pieces of hardware. In Project Ara, almost every piece of hardware down to the phone’s battery, processor and camera could be easily separated, replaced and customized without having to upgrade the entire device.

It looked pretty cool, but despite Google proclaiming in May that it would have a developer edition of Ara ready for the end of this year and a consumer release in 2017 the project was abandoned this September.

4. Google+

Image: nicole gallucci/SCREENGRAB

Google+ is simply a flop. Google keeps trying to make it happen, but in the iconic words of Mean Girls’ Regina George, “it’s not going to happen.”

Plus followed two failed social platforms from Google: “Buzz,” which launched 2010 and lived a short life until it retired in 2011, and “Google Friend Connect,” which reigned from 2008 to 2012. Despite genuine attempts at added communication features like “Hangouts” and user-focused redesigns, Google’s revamped social network Google+, which focused on connecting users via “Circles,” couldn’t compete with the content sharing of Facebook or Twitter.

Google+ was launched in 2011, and somehow it still manages to hang on today.

5. Google Wave

 

Google attempted to combine a bunch of key communication platforms in real-time by creating Google Wave in 2009. Google took aspects of email, instant messaging, wikis, web chat, social networking and project management to form a confusing stand-alone product. Though the platform did have some valuable uses, the company announced it would cease active development of the overly hyped Google Wave in 2010, and in 2012 Wave servers were officially shut down.

6. Nexus Phones

Image: ELIZABETH PIERSON/mashable

Blessed are the companies that take on the iPhone, a feat which Google attempted with the launch of their Android-operated Nexus smartphones. The Nexus One was released in 2010, and from there the company unveiled the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6 and the latest Nexus 6P, released in 2015. Though the smartphones advanced throughout the years, they never managed to reach iPhone caliber. Google is hosting an event on Oct. 4, where it will presumably announce its new Pixel and Pixel XL Android phones, which could replace the Nexus brand entirely, so perhaps there’s still some hope.

7. Android@Home

Google’s 2011 attempt at introducing smart home technology came in the form of Android@Home, a plan that would allow users to control their lights and other appliances at home with any Android device. Since then Google Nest and Apple Home have worked to increasingly perfect the idea, and alas, Android@Home is no more.

 

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