Goodbye, iGoogle. We hardly knew thee.
Well, no, that's a bit of an invention, as Google's personalised home page ran for a good eight years or so before Google officially pulled the plug on the service a few days ago.
Before you bemoan that your customised page is no more, it's not as if Google's axe swung without fair warning. The company announced in July of last year that iGoogle would officially be put out to pasture on 1 November of this year. Lo and behold, the site is officially no more — hitting up the traditional iGoogle address (google.com/ig) now just transfers you over to plain old Google dot com.
"We originally launched iGoogle in 2005 before anyone could fully imagine the ways that today's web and mobile apps would put personalized, real-time information at your fingertips. With modern apps that run on platforms like Chrome and Android, the need for iGoogle has eroded over time, so we'll be winding it down," wrote Google general manager Matt Eichner at the time.
Google didn't make any kind of formal announcement prior to shutting down the service. Its departure is the second somewhat major Google service — at least, one of Google's more well-known services — that the company has canned this year. The personalised Google start page now joins Google Reader in the services graveyard, the latter having been killed off this past July.
Google's somewhat infrequent 'cleanings' of the services it offers do occasionally come as a bit of a surprise to those who feel that some tools, regardless of their popularity, should persist within Google's panoply of offerings. At the very least, it's thought that they could have the potential to bolster Google's higher-profile offerings.
"I suspect that it survived for some time after being put into maintenance because they believed it could still be a useful source of content into G+. Reader users were always voracious consumers of content, and many of them filtered and shared a great deal of it," wrote Brian Shih, former Google Reader product manager, in a Quora comment this past March.
Google, however, is likely much more keen on a web vision that's based around social connections, sharing, and personalised updates as a result of one's friends and source selections. While iGoogle definitely encompassed the latter, as a result of users' ability to self-select the news and information they wanted to see on their personalised homepages, it wasn't quite as socially driven nor as integrated into the overall "Google experience" as the company's other products – YouTube, Google+, Gmail, Android and, of course, Adwords.
And, hence, it has ceased to be.