Google announced on Friday that it will retire its health and energy data services before the end of the year, as they have not proved as popular as the web giant had hoped.
Both services offer consumers greater control over their data. Google Health, which was launched in 2008, allows users to manage and analyse their personal health information, while Google PowerMeter allows them to track their electricity consumption. The services pitted Google in competition with healthcare and utility providers respectively for ownership of key data.
Google said it had failed to attract as many users to the services as it had hoped. "We want to satisfy the most pressing needs for the greatest number of people," executives wrote on the company’s official blog. "In the case of these two products, our inability to scale has led us to focus our priorities elsewhere."
Google Health will operate through January 1 2012, and allow users to get their data out up until the same day in 2013. "Now, with a few years of experience, we’ve observed that Google Health is not having the broad impact that we hoped it would," the company said.
Google PowerMeter will be ending on September 16 this year, and will also allow users to get their data out. "Momentum is building toward making energy information more readily accessible. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with PowerMeter and look forward to what will develop next in this space," Google said.
In 2008, a think tank in the UK suggested that the NHS might entrust patient data to companies such as Google or Microsoft, in order to give users greater control over their healthcare data and to save money.