Google has announced that its hyper local social networking app- Neighbourly will be shut down next month. The app, which never really came out of its Beta phase, will stop working on May 12th. Data on the app will be available for users to download through Google takeouts until October 12th 2020.
The experimental app launched in mid-2018 offered a portal to users to seek information about their local neighbourhood. It allowed users to ask questions to their neighbours by text or voice, share local expertise, and keep up with updates in the area. According to aGoogle spokesperson, the company “set out to build a helpful neighbourhood app that would let neighbours help each other find answers to everyday questions.”
Part of the company’s Next billion initiative, the app was first launched in Mumbai and then slowly expanded to other Indian cities. The app could be used in a range of local languages and had also rolled out a multitude of new features. Unfortunately, none of this was enough to make the app relevant through 2020. “The app hasn’t grown like we had hoped” said the tech giant. In fact the traction for the app was so abysmal that third party intelligence services such as App Annie and Sensor Towers didn’t have substantial data about it to report. The App however did have 10 Million downloads on Play Store.
User’s data including posts, replies, comments, content they liked, posts they saved, reported content, can be downloaded through Google Takeouts before October 12th. For the next few weeks, the app will remain functional for those seeking local community-related information during the on-going lockdown.
Meanwhile, Google intends to work on other Apps that are serving people in terms of communication and awareness amidst the covid-19 pandemic. “In these difficult times, we believe we can help more people by focusing on other Google apps that are serving millions of people every day” said a company spokesperson. Google also encouraged users who want to continue sharing their local language to become a Google Maps Local guide.
Neighbourly will be yet another addition to Google’s list of failed projects. Some of Google’s flagship products, specifically in India, haven’t really taken off the way company wanted them to. Recently, Google also announced the shutdown of Google Station, a service that allowed partners to roll out free Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. The service started on scale, providing free Wi-Fi in over 400 railway stations across India. Last year, Google also shut down Areo an app that allowed users to order in meals and also schedule appointments with local service professionals like painters and electricians.