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The show’s over: Google quietly closes down its Showtimes website after 11 years

Ken Wolter /123rf
It looks like Google’s attempt to take on IMDb was not as successful as the company would have liked. The Google Showtimes website has been closed down with almost no notice. Some of the website’s functionality has been rolled out into Search.

Google Showtimes essentially allowed users to see things like cinemas, films being shown, and showtimes based on their location. While the website itself now returns a 404 error, an “about” page for the site in the U.K. gives some direction for users who were fans of the site.

“Google Showtimes was discontinued on 1 November 2016. You can now discover show times on the search results page by searching for the name of the movie that you want to see or try searching for the word ‘movies’ to discover what’s in cinemas,” says the page.

It’s not yet known exactly why Google decided to put an end to the service, but the assumption is that it just wasn’t popular enough to warrant keeping it running and current. It’s also possible that the service ran counter to Google’s information-providing goals, which have largely shifted to Search over the past few years. Not only that, but the website itself had hardly been updated since it was launched in 2005, and it didn’t really carry ads at all, meaning that it’s unlikely that it really generated any revenue for Google.

Thankfully, you’ll still be able to get showtimes from Google based on your location. Just type a movie title followed by the word “showtimes,” and you’ll be presented with all the nearby locations and showtimes of your chosen movie.

It’s likely we’ll see more services like this close over the next few years as Google shifts into showing information in search results rather than with specific websites.

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