Anyone else remember portals? Designed as all-inclusive browser home pages where you'd aggregate news alongside email, sports, classifieds, travel, weather, and links to other online interests, portals were to be a sort of Internet newspaper.
No longer. Google
Other projects piled onto the digital trash heap:
- Google Mini, a specialized piece of search hardware aimed at small businesses.
- Google Talk Chatback, a widget that allowed site operators to directly engage with their visitors.
- Google Video, which has long been replaced by YouTube.
- Symbian Search, a custom Google search app for devices using Nokia's old Symbian OS.
The big news here isn't so much that Google is cleaning house, but that there are still companies that depend on portals to some degree. AOL and Yahoo!
According to website tracker Alexa, Yahoo! is now the fourth most popular website behind Google, Facebook
But that's also not the worst part. Alexa search data reveals that most users aren't so much interested in "My Yahoo!" as they are the company's mail service. Meanwhile, according to comScore, Yahoo! sites attracted 11.3% fewer unique visitors in May 2012 than in the same month a year ago.
In killing iGoogle, the search king is bowing to the truth that social-media outlets have largely replaced portals as aggregators of webby goodness. Facebook and its more than 900 million active monthly users are, arguably, the biggest benefactors of this shift -- though the Big G would no doubt appreciate seeing more of us giving Google+ a try.
A portal to profits
As great as Facebook could become, our senior tech analyst believes there's a better social-media stock that investors should be buying now. Want the details? Get instant access to his research -- it's totally free for a limited time.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+ or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.
The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.