13 years on, Google retires ‘Google Friends’

Google has retired its first public outreach program, the monthly email digest Google Friends, launched 13 years ago.

The mailing list, aptly name ‘Google Friends’ as Google grew up more like a open source community than like a company, saw its final edition on Friday.

“..the number of subscribers to this newsletter has remained flat, so we’ve concluded that this format is no longer the best way for us to get the word out about new Google products and services,” it said in its final issue.

There would indeed be many who would miss Google Friends as, at one time, it was the only authentic source information about what the company was up to, its latest experiments, new ways to use search and other tidbits.

Over time, however, email forwards have been replaced by trendier platforms — Facebook, Blogs, Twitter.. and Google has successfully made new homes for itself on all of them.

It started the Official Google Blog in 2004 and joined Twitter in 2009. On Twitter, Google’s is one of accounts with the largest number of followers, 3.4 million.

“We’ve seen dramatic growth on those channels,” it said.

The Google Friends Newsletter was created by Larry Page in April 1998, when Google was still on Stanford servers.

“In the early days, the Friends notes offered newsy details like “We are gearing up to do another crawl. We should start within a few weeks” and tips on tweaking your search queries,” Google reminisced, signing of with a:

“You’re always a Google friend to us!”