* Says projects didn't catch on as much as hoped
* News comes 3 months after Larry Page in CEO job
By Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO, June 24 Google Inc (GOOG.O),
known for ambitious efforts developing technology outside its
main Internet search business, is shuttering two projects that
struggled to find a following.
Google Health and Google PowerMeter had sought to change
the way consumers access healthcare information and their home
But Google said on Friday that it will "retire" both in the
coming months, noting that the projects didn't "catch on the
way we would have hoped."
"We want to satisfy the most pressing needs for the
greatest number of people. In the case of these two products,
our inability to scale has led us to focus our priorities
elsewhere," Google said in a post co-authored by Senior Product
Manager Aaron Brown and Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl.
The move comes roughly three months into Google co-founder
Larry Page's tenure as Chief Executive. Google announced the
news on the same day that it acknowledged that the U.S. Federal
Trade Commission has begun a review of its business practices
in search and advertising. [ID:nN1E75N0O6]
Page is considered a big proponent of Google's experimental
projects, such as self-driving cars, as well as of the
company's culture which encourages employees to spend 20
percent of their time on projects outside of their day-to-day
But in recent months Google has come under criticism from
investors worried that the company's free-spending ways will
take a toll on profit margins.
Indeed, some Google insiders predicted that Page would take
a hard look at the company's manifold projects when he became
CEO, placing bigger bets on those that show promise and pulling
the plug on others.
Google Health, which was launched in May 2008, provided
consumers with a way to store their medical records online.
Google said on Friday that the service was popular with certain
groups of people, such as tech-savvy patients and fitness
enthusiasts, but had failed to catch on with the general
The Google Health website will continue to operate until
January 1, and consumers will be able to retrieve their
personal information until January 1, 2013.
Google said it will terminate its PowerMeter service on
September 16. The service, which Google released in February
2009 through its non-profit division, let consumers use the Web
to monitor their home electricity consumption.
(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic; editing by Carol Bishopric)