A bongo enthusiast once said, "time is a flat circle," which is a pretentious way of saying history repeats itself. And nowhere is that more apparent than the tech industry. Every year, hopeful entrepreneurs with a twinkle in their eyes introduce the next app, gadget, or concept that will change the world and free us from the tyranny of talking to other humans, looking something up, or making our own dinners.
But not every idea is a winner. And not every winning idea will last forever. For every Silicon Valley darling currently basking in the glory of a Job Well Done, another is winding down, shutting off the lights, and penning a sad Medium post about their company's demise. Do not weep for them; they will surely return with another big idea. But for now, let us reflect on the tech we lost in 2018.
To help show off the power of the Google Assistant, Google in 2016 released Allo, an AI-powered chat app. When PCMag reviewed Allo last year, we found it to be a beautifully designed app that was an enjoyable experience for chatting with friends and sharing media. But we were skeptical that it could beat the chat app competition. Google apparently agrees. In a December blog post, Google said it's now focusing on its messaging app Messages as well as "working closely with the mobile industry to upgrade SMS." The end goal is to do away with SMS and replace it with Rich Communications Services (RCS). For RCS to shine, Allo must die. RIP.
This one was surprising, but also not. In October, Google announced that it would shut down the consumer version of Google+ over the next 10 months, following the discovery of a bug that it opted to keep secret. The search giant framed the decision as one that makes sense given that very few people actively use Google+, but the Wall Street Journal reported that the move came after Google discovered a bug that left private user information open to developers in March, but declined to alert users for fear of regulatory scrutiny.
1TB of Free Flickr Storage
In 2013, then-Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer hosted a big New York City press event to unveil a revamped version of the Flickr photo-sharing site, a new Android app, and announce that every Flickr user would get 1TB of free storage. Five years later, Mayer is gone, Flickr has been acquired by SmugMug, and that 1TB of storage is kaput, replaced with 1,000 photos or videos. On Feb. 5, SmugMug will start deleting images and videos until your free account is back down to 1,000 assets.
With office messaging largely relegated to team-messaging apps like Slack these days, and personal messages fired off on mobile phones, Yahoo Messenger was not long for this world. On July 17, the chat service sent its final message. Yahoo said it's now "focusing on building and introducing new, exciting communications tools that better fit consumer needs."