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Google is shutting down Spaces, its experimental group discussion platform

Why it matters to you

You probably didn't use Google Spaces, but what Google learned from the service could soon go into a Google product you may use.

Yet another Google service is being sent to the graveyard. Google Spaces, which launched in May 2016 shortly before Google I/O 2016, is being shut down. The service will be read-only starting on March 3, and it will close down for good April 17.

The move is interesting, but not all that surprising — Google catches a lot of criticism for launching, then shuttering messaging services, and Spaces, which was a group messaging service likened to a stripped-down version of Slack, is no exception to that. The goal of the service was to help groups organize conversations around specific topics — and it functioned less as a messaging service and more like a group forum app.

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The way it worked was relatively easy. You could simply set a topic, then invite anyone with a Google account to discuss said topic. Key to how it worked was its ability to use search to pull in YouTube videos, images, and search results.

“As we focus our efforts, we’ve decided to take what we learned with Spaces, and apply it to our existing products. Unfortunately, this means that we’ll be saying goodbye to supporting Spaces. We want to thank all of the Spaces users who tried out the app and shared their feedback,” said John Kilcline, Google product manager, in a Google+ post.

Spaces was undeniably a social service, and it highlights Google’s long and winding attempts at jumping into the social media network space. First, the company launched Google+, which largely failed despite the fact that it still exists. While Google+ is now a much different service than it was when it launched in 2011, the fact is that Google has a long way to go before it launches the Facebook and Twitter competitor that it has long hoped to create.