Google Video, iGoogle and other products closing for good

As part of its continued pursuit of “focus” Google is shutting down five more products. That includes Google Video, iGoogle, Google Mini, Google Talk Chatback and its Symbian Search App, the company announced in a blog post Tuesday afternoon.

Google Hangouts has already become a meme

Leonado DiCaprio, Dexter Morgan and your mom are only some of the people who are using Google’s new and much-hyped video chatting feature Hangouts, if we can believe screenshots taken by users of the service. But of course, the question is: Can we?

Users to Google Video: Please Don’t Delete Our Clips

Google wants to delete all the videos it has been hosting on its long-neglected Google Video platform next month. Some users are now hoping that the company changes its mind and preserves the archive in a way that won’t lead to dead links and broken embeds.

Google Apps Adds Groups

Google Apps (s goog), the suite of productivity applications that’s a favorite of WWD, has had Groups, a discussion group application, added to its array of tools. In addition to providing email using your own domain, Google Apps offers a number of ways for businesses and organizations to collaborate, including Docs, Spreadsheets, Calendars and over 20 other applications. But competitors like Zoho have had discussion groups for some time, so Google definitely needed to catch up.

The Google Apps version of Google Groups looks much like the public version of Groups that can be used by anyone. It has a plain but functional interface. However, groups created through Google Apps can be branded with an organization’s logo, and can be administered through the Google Apps dashboard to, for example, make Groups visible only to those with email addresses from the organization.

This new feature is not available in the free Standard Edition of Google Apps. To get access to Groups, you must purchase Google Apps Premier Edition, which costs $50 per user per year (a free 30-day trial is available). Groups are also available to users of Google Apps Education Edition, which, despite the name, is available to any registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the U.S., as well as to schools. The Premier Edition also offers video hosting through Google Video, technical support, uptime guarantees, email archiving, and other features.

Do you use Google Apps? Will the addition of Groups enhance your collaboration abilities?

Google Launches Video Sharing for Business

Google has found a way to make money from video sharing — but not on YouTube. The company will add video to its paid business edition of Google Apps on Monday. In a way, Google is opening up a whole new category of online video: internal corporate video sharing.

Google Apps customers pay $50 per user per year for Gmail, Google Talk, Google Docs and other communication and collaboration tools (there is also a free version that doesn’t include customer support and APIs). Now, paid users can upload videos of up to 300 MB, with no time-length restrictions, for a total of 3GB per account and unlimited video views.

There are existing enterprise video delivery vendors aplenty, including Kontiki, Cisco and Thomson, but their tools are used for top-down communication and training. Google thinks there’s an opportunity for easy video sharing — รก la YouTube — between team members for applications such as ad hoc training, product demos, and team building. Except, unlike YouTube, not just anyone will be able see these videos — access will be restricted to specific employees.

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Problems with Google Video, Service

Users have been filling the Google Video Help message boards with reports of problems uploading video and are apparently getting little, if any, help from Google.

Problems started on April 12, when users uploaded video only to have two seconds of a grey box — or nothing — appear when they checked the file online. Others report issues with the uploader starting and stopping on a loop during the upload process.

From reading through the comments, it looks like the trouble is with files larger than 100MB that were uploaded through the Google Desktop Video Uploader. The web-based uploader seems to be working fine.

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