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Google shutters Dodgeball, an SMS-based, location-capable effort: Search giant quits work on the mobile social network

Google Inc. will pull the plug on Dodgeball, cease development of its microblogging service Jaiku and slash roughly 100 jobs as it streamlines its operations in a struggling economy.
An SMS-based, location-based service, Dodgeball gained traction in the early days of mobile social networks and was acquired for an undisclosed sum in 2005. But co-founders Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert left Google in 2007, citing the parent company’s lack of support for the service, and onlookers have long expected Google to kill the service entirely.
“We have decided to discontinue in the next couple of months, after which the service will no longer be available,” Vic Gundotra, VP of engineering, wrote on Google’s blog. “We will communicate the exact timeframe shortly.”
Meanwhile, Google said it has stopped developing the codebase for Jaiku, a Twitter-like service it acquired in October 2007 and promptly closed down to new users. Google plans to release a new, open source Jaiku Engine project, allowing users to develop their own microblogging services, and Jaiku’s service will continue “thanks to a dedicated and passionate volunteer team of Googlers,” Gundotra wrote.
The moves underscore Google’s penchant for acquiring startups to leverage their technology even as the parent company lets the original business wither on the vine. The company killed JotSpot, a collaboration tool for office workers, replacing it with Google Sites and infuriating longtime users. And GrandCentral, a VoIP-based service Google snapped up for $50 million in 2007, is in limbo after being closed to new users.


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