Back in 2015, Google launched a service called Google Contributor, which allowed users to pay a small amount of money per month to see fewer AdSense ads on their favorite websites. The service never expanded outside the United States, and last month, Google announced it would shut down "mid-January 2017."
Oh Brazil, you magnificent country of beautiful landscapes, sexy women, excellent football players, and silly judges and judicial system. For the third time since 2015, a Brazilian state judge has ordered a complete shut down on WhatsApp by forcing operators to block the service nationwide for 72 hours, and thus killing the main means of communication of 91% of the country's mobile users.
The main question is why. Due to legal secrecy in the country, the details aren't released, but it appears that this isn't related to the first two bans in February of 2015 (issued by judge Luiz de Moura Correia from the state of Piauí) and December of 2015 (issued by a São Paulo judge).
Gameloft is one of the most prolific and high-profile developers of mobile games, having taken an early lead with the rise of the iTunes App Store and continuing to release games at a rapid pace. But all is not well for the well-known developer: this morning reports have surfaced that the company has completely shut down its New York City studio and related offices.
Remember Grooveshark? It's OK if you don't - after all, the controversial music sharing app hasn't been available on the Play Store for more than two years after it made its amazingly brief debut. But users can still get the app as an APK download on Grooveshark's site, and last month they were thrilled to find that it supported Google's Chromecast streaming gadget. Until today, when Google unceremoniously blocked it from accessing Chromecast features... reportedly at the request of the RIAA.
Yes, the Recording Industry Association of America is still alive and kicking, serving as the real-world embodiment of John Lithgow in Footloose.
Alas, poor Rando, we knew it well. Actually, not that well - that was kind of the point. This photo sharing app from the developer of Whale Trail eschewed the usual reputation and tagging systems of most photo sharing services in favor of a one-at-a-time approach. But after a Russian programmer created a script to game the system and upload thousands of identical photos, thus funneling all of Rando's unique content to himself, the developers shut down the app and the service. You can read more about it in this extensive TechCrunch interview.
The idea behind Rando was refreshing, if a little anti-social: you take a photo, then share it to the service.
Schemer, Google's niche quasi-social network for sharing all the things you want to do in life, is being shut down. Since launching over 2 years ago, it has struggled to find a user base, new features were few and far between, and the app itself was only updated a handful of times. For those unaware of how Schemer works, the idea is pretty simple. You use it to list things you want to do, and mingle with other people who either want to do the same thing or have already done it.
For people who aren't ready to stop scheming and exploring, Google is now directing them to its Field Trip app and the "Explore" feature within Google Maps.
If you eagerly updated your Android device to the shiny new version of Google Maps yesterday, only to despair at the absence of Google's Latitude location tracking/sharing service, there's a good reason for that. Latitude is going the way of Google Reader, and the service will disappear completely on August 9th. Google has made the change official on the "About Latitude" page of the Maps for mobile support hub, explaining that Latitude for iPhone, the Latitude API, and the various web services will be retired as well. You've got just under a month to say your goodbyes.
Google hasn't technically said so, but Latitude appears to be the latest service casualty to fall to the company's expanding focus on Google+.
Fans of the task management service Astrid were understandably concerned when Yahoo acquired the company back in May. Now their worst fears have been realized. Astrid is shutting down on August 5th of this year. That gives you less than a month to get your data out.
Update 4: OnLive has finally issued the following statement:
We can now confirm that the assets of OnLive, Inc. have been acquired into a newly-formed company and is backed by substantial funding, and which will continue to operate the OnLive Game and Desktop services, as well as support all of OnLive's apps and devices, as well as game, productivity and enterprise partnerships. The new company is hiring a large percentage of OnLive, Inc.'s staff across all departments and plans to continue to hire substantially more people, including additional OnLive employees. All previously announced products and services, including those in the works, will continue and there is no expected interruption of any OnLive services.