Talking tech since 2003

The high-profile closure of Google Reader at the beginning of this month was bittersweet for many, and the fact that Google still supports many smaller products and services can’t help. It looks like the company is ready to pull the plug on one of those products today, but not entirely — on August 15, the Google Catalogs apps for iOS and Android will no longer be supported by the company, but Google Catalogs will continue to live on at google.com/catalogs, a URL I have personally never visited until today.

catalogs-iosGoogle Catalogs is a sort of digital repository for all of those catalogs you typically get in the mail. Think L.L. Bean, Pottery Barn and so on. Bringing these catalogs to iPads and Android tablets might have actually been very useful for those who shop out of them, but it appears that Google isn’t willing to spend valuable resources on keeping those apps alive and updated. Something tells me that not many people are using Catalogs. If that’s the case, though, why keep the Web version alive?

Bertel King, Jr. of Android Police (who broke this story) is hoping that the Google Catalogs apps aren’t being phased out in order to introduce Play Catalogs. I also hope that isn’t the case. I can only take so many services that start with the word “Play,” and, no disrespect to catalogs, but they don’t exactly belong up there with media like music, movies, magazines, books and games. Fitting the catalogs discreetly into a section of the store makes some sense, but I’m not all that confident we’ll be seeing them again.

The truth is, Google Catalogs is the remnant of an era when Google was trying to do anything and everything. The company is showing a lot more focus, these days, and although the Web version of Google Catalogs isn’t going anywhere for the time being, I feel pretty strongly that it’ll get the same quiet sunset the iOS and Android apps are getting. After all, if working on Google Reader can’t get someone onto Larry Page’s “L-Team,” how could working on Google Catalogs possibly do so?

We’d love to hear from any Google Catalogs users out there. If you use the iOS, Android or Web versions of Catalogs, let us know what you think about Google pulling support for the mobile versions of the product.


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