There’s a story in the Washington Post that blames the death of iGoogle, the personalized homepage that Google created but didn’t really tell anyone about, on social media in general. It mentions Google+ as part of the problem but didn’t get the story exactly right.
Google+ was the only problem. iGoogle did not fall victim to Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social sites because it didn’t compete with them. It wasn’t a matter of mentality switching from personalized selection to crowdsourcing our decisions based upon our feeds. That’s ludicrous. iGoogle failed for two reasons and they both circled around Google+.
The first reason is obvious. Google+ is everything that Google wants to be on the web. They’ve given two years of developing and testing plus two years of hardcore focus after launch before leaving it where it is today – a focus but not the whole ballgame. They have other things they’re pursuing now in mobile and other areas, but they are not taking their eyes completely off the social game. They never will. They’ve put too much into it to allow it to fail like every other social endeavor they’ve tried outside of YouTube.
The second reason goes back to the earlier focus. They could have very easily promoted the heck out of iGoogle but decided to keep it a secret menu item like ordering Animal Style burgers from In ‘N Out. They did this because they knew Google+ was on the way and that it would eventually replace iGoogle. There was an outside chance that iGoogle could be integrated in as part of the evolving Google+ environment, but when that became unlikely a year ago, they decided to let it die.
Here’s what the Washington Post had to say about it:
Customized portals like iGoogle really represented a sort of first step toward the highly personalized experience most us have online now due to the influence of social media. It seems almost quaint to rely on self-selection when you can use the hive-mind of your network to help deliver content to your stream. And with Google’s push toward an all-encompassing social-driven Web experience, it’s no surprise they decided to ax the service.
Read More: Washington Post