Saturday, February 25, 2017

RIP Google Spaces

Google Spaces, a products that most of my readers probably haven't even heard of, will be discontinued on April 17, 2017.


Spaces was developed as a organizational tool for teams. It has elements of Google Keep, Classroom, and Drive rolled into one. Given the greater popularity of these three tools, it's not surprising that Spaces never gathered momentum.

I suspect that the end of Spaces is also due in part to the pending launch of Team Drive (read my review here).

I don't expect many tears to be shed for Spaces. We can, however, observe a few interesting trends from the development and now end of this collaborative team tool:

1. Google likes internal competition. 

It's not uncommon for Google to launch competing projects and wait to see what sticks. Even when a project is cancelled, we frequently see the best features from that product rolled into an existing tool (i.e. Wave being absorbed by Google Drive).

2. Google's pace of innovation has increased

Google has been on a tear over the last 18 months in terms of launching new products (Spaces, Trips, Allo, Duo, Home, Pixel phone, Daydream...) and discontinue unpopular products (Spaces, Research tool, hangout apps). When engineering talent is at a premium, you have to pick and chose your projects.

3. Google is focused on teams

Over the past year Google has focused a lot on helping teams work more efficiently. They have added improved search through machine learning, launched Team Drive and cloud search (coming soon).

What do you think? Will you miss Spaces? Are there any missing pieces to Google's collection of collaborative team tools?

3 comments:

  1. Spaces was/is a superb product for unifying different teacher groups in a school or district, but it may have been too active - too many notifications. It was meant to compete with Slack and Yammer. Very sad to see it go, but it is hard to get a group established.

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  2. Because it was likely to last longer. I use Google Classroom for teacher communications. I mark each class "TEACHERS."

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  3. Google Spaces was also an amazing Family social network that was not only based on "showing myself" or getting "Like" over and over but it was based upon thematic: family events, games, sciences, books, school, TV show and the list goes on. Many parents let their children dive into Facebook, instagram, Snapchat.. Studies (Sherry Turkle and many others) show that our children are losing empathy when they start using Facebook before 18 (and most of them are connected to Facebook at 8 or 9) Googles Spaces is easy to work with. Children and their friends, parents, grand parents and all family can share real things with each other. Most of the time around a Thematic. We can also share Photosfrom Google Photos, comments. Google Spaces was a good start to learn how to interact socially at a smaller scale instead of being overwhelmed on this huge human social network we've created to promote ourselves mostly. On Facebook the tremendous amount of information is inevitably swallowed by the black hole of everything that becomes nothing most of the time. Too many information is coming from everywhere, going in every direction. The brain can't "compute". Our children and teens think they can handle it. But they can't. We see the brain activity in MRI.

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