Death By Google: Tech Giant Kills Another Useful App

January 2, 2014
bump app

That really great app, Bump — the one that lets you transfer info between phones simply by tapping them together? It’s dead. Google killed it.

And according to Harry McCracken, Time magazine’s “Technologizer,” it’s not the first time Google has killed a promising app — and won’t be the last. According to McCracken, the tech giant has a disquieting habit of buying promising start-ups, then dumping the products they developed. He lays out the five stages of Google death.

1. Announcement of thrilling acquisition

2. Reiteration of startup’s wildly ambitious founding notion

3. Explanation that Google is the best place to change the world

4. Acknowledgement (or sometimes non-acknowledgement) that the startup’s product is being discontinued or is going into limbo

5. Expression of heartfelt gratitude to various supporters, usually including the consumers who are losing something they liked

What Google gets is the talent pool of those start-up organizations. Having the additional brainpower in its organization to develop future products for Google is often more valuable in the long run than whatever product the team has already put on the market.

As commenters to Technologizer quickly pointed out, there are many ways to share files that don’t require you to be standing next to the other user. Good point. But millions of users have found a useful tool in Bump. They’ll have to bump along with no upgrades and limited support until someone (Google, perhaps?) launches the next generation.