Google Redirects Patent Search, Shuts Down Google Related Toolbar, One Pass & Vaccine Finder

google-g-logoAfter only eight months, the Google Related toolbar is headed to the dead pool. That’s one of several Google products being phased out in the company’s latest “spring cleaning” announcement, along with the One Pass payment system for news publishers, Google Patent Search losing its own home page and Google Flu Vaccine Finder.

Google Related is was a browser toolbar that offered contextual information about the web page being displayed in the main browser window. For example, when looking at a restaurant’s website, Google Related would show a map/address, reviews and similar restaurants/businesses.

google-related

In its announcement today, Google says “the product isn’t experiencing the kind of adoption we’d like, and while we still believe in the value provided to our users, we’ll be retiring the existing product over the next few weeks.”

As I said, that’s just one of several announcements. Here’s a quick look at some of the others:

  • Google Patent Search is going away. Formerly available at www.google.com/patents, Google says it’s now offering a better patent search experience through Google.com, and plans to add more patent search features there in the future.
  • Google One Pass has been shut down. This was the company’s payment system for publishers that launched in February 2011. Google says it’s working with its partners to transition to Google Consumer Surveys and other platforms.
  • Google’s Flu Vaccine Finder has been passed over to HealthMap and relaunched there as the HealthMap Flu Vaccine Finder.

There are also API- and mobile-related announcements, along with a couple related to Picasa, on Google’s blog post.

Postscript From Danny Sullivan:

When Google Related rolled-out last August. I can recall some worries by some that this was going to push Google products unfairly over publishers. As one person commented back at the launch:

I run a restaurant guide website. When I browse a restaurant page on my site, it pops up offering me links to: Google’s Place page for the same restaurant; the Google maps page for the same restaurant; links to Google places pages for other restaurants nearby; some web results to other competitors sites. Perhaps some of this is useful to the user, but the abundance of links to Google properties makes me more than a little sceptical as to the true intentions here.

If that was really Google’s plan, this stands as a testament that just because Google releases something, that’s no guarantee it’ll do well. See also Google BuzzGoogle Wave, Google TV….

On a personal note, telling us that the Related team will now “focus on creating more magic moments across other Google products” just sounds like Google is going way over on the marketing speak. Related didn’t work. Got it. But “magic moments?” Just give us some products that work, and that will be magical enough.

As for Patent Search, I’m just waiting for someone from Google to complain that it’s not really closing that service, since it’s just “redirecting” it. Yeah, it’s closed, and there’s nothing magical about that. Google wrote:

We’re redirecting the old Patent Search homepage to google.com to make sure everyone is getting the best possible experience for their patent searches.

How on does dumping people who were going to a dedicated vertical search engine on patents to the Google home page which searches the entire web by default become “the best possible experience.”

If you want to do patent searches, you have to be one of the few people who may have caught Google’s post today and noted that there’s an advanced patent search page that’s also being offered. Why not just redirect Google Patent Search to that page? That would have been the best possible experience.

Postscript 2 From Danny Sullivan: Turns out, trying to reach the old Google Patents site at patents.google.com redirects you to the Google.com homepage but with a filter in place to search only against patents. It also says that in the search box, “search patents,” but I totally missed this. That’s much better than I thought, but I think it’ll still be confusing to some.

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Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Patents | Google: Toolbar | Google: Web Search | Top News

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About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • http://twitter.com/seocharlie Carlos Chacón l SEO

    Google should focus in “Search” only. They are trying to do so many things but nothing really exceptional. Great “Local-search” is the biggest project they should be working right now. 

  • daveintheuk

    Brilliant news for publishers and webmasters that Google is dropping the Related toolbar. Their intentions with the product became VERY clear when they twice worked around ways webmasters had found to prevent it from showing.

    Perhaps something to do with all the anti-trust cases they are facing at the moment… it was pretty indefensible.

  • Jon Orwant

    I work for Google on Patent Search, which is expanding and will be rolling out several new features in 2012.  Our “spring cleaning announcement” was simply to alert our users that the Patent Search home page was redirecting to google.com in Patents mode.  All the content is still there, and all the searches behave exactly as before.

  • Pat Grady

    i wonder if their lack of product lifetime stability… will affect their domain’s rankings.

  • http://twitter.com/IvanaTwinkie Mike Willens

    It may be easier to simply bookmark the Google Patent advanced search page for future reference. http://www.google.com/advanced_patent_search

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/U364AMDPSKHLBQCCJX5LVZQK5Q Aline

    my best friend’s sister-in-law makes $69/hr on the computer. She has been fired for seven months but last month her pay check was $16501 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more here CashLazy.c&#111m  

  • Shreyas Mulgund

    Nice post! I can’t comprehend possible reasons for the not-so-good popularity of the Related toolbar. As an user, I’d rather see all logical aspects collected together in one place, rather than having to search for it myself.

    For e.g. suppose I am searching for a pest control service in the neighborhood, I would like to look at all possible pest control services, as well as any user feedback.(if any) 

    Google Related exactly provided that, and should have been a runaway hit with local searches. However, for someone looking for information resources on the web, Google Related could be a big confusing, as he/she is presented with a lot of unnecessary content.

    Having said that, it is my personal preference that people come to Google & search, rather than searching on a toolbar. A toolbar search, though user-friendly, is not very informative. Descriptions beneath the actual search result are not visible, rendering a lot of optimization efforts useless. So, on a personal level, I am happy that Related is out of the way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adam-Goff/100003745805608 Adam Goff

    my classmate’s sister-in-law makes $84 hourly on the laptop. She has been fired for 7 months but last month her income was $9078 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Go to this site N u t t y R i c h dot cöm

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