If one year ago I had come in with an announcement that “Google dropped X product,” it would mean that Google had seriously messed up, miscalculated, or determined that a service couldn’t survive in the market. Google dropping a project no longer means the same thing, however. Since the April management shuffle (which occurred immediately after Larry Page re-took the reigns of Google), Google has been relentlessly dropping projects – including ones that are viable. This trend continues this month with Google dropping 11 developer APIs, including the popular Google Translate API.
To clarify, that doesn’t mean Google is dropping these services in their own outlets (such as the Google Translate website). Translate, as well as the other services related to the soon-to-be abandoned APIs, will continue as normal in the Google web and mobile apps. But developers who want to integrate the Google services, such as Translate, into their own web or mobile app rely on these developer APIs; the API is the medium by which developers access the Google data.
“Deprecating the Translate API was the hardest choice for us to make,” said Google representative Adam Feldman. But in the end it was a simple matter of how the popular API was being used. “The Translate API was subject to extensive abuse – the vast majority of usage was in clear violation of our terms.” He did not specify exactly what terms of service violations were taking place.