Google, Amazon, and eBay have quietly killed their Apple Watch apps (GOOG, AMZN, AAPL)

Google, Amazon, and eBay have quietly killed their Apple Watch apps (GOOG, AMZN, AAPL)

Several major tech companies have killed off their Apple Watch apps, according to Apple Insider.

Google, Amazon, and eBay reportedly removed support for their standalone Apple Watch apps in software updates rolled out at the end of April.

Amazon and Ebay pulled their main shopping apps, while Google killed off its Google Maps app.

None of the companies announced they were pulling the WatchOS apps in their iOS software update release notes and the removals have gone largely unnoticed, suggesting they weren’t widely used.

Apple remains committed to the Apple Watch but it has struggled to convince people that they need to buy one. Official sales figures for the device aren’t available, but analysts estimate that they’re increasingly disappointing. Last October, analysts at IDC estimated that Apple shipped 1.1 million Apple Watches in the third quarter of 2016, which was down 71.6% from the year-ago period.

Apple isn’t the only company struggling to sell wearable devices. Google’s Android Wear smartwatches, which are made by an array of manufacturers, are also struggling to take off. Google had to delay the next version of Wear until 2017, and several partners have abandoned their plans to make new Android smartwatches this year. Motorola even said it halted its smartwatch plans indefinitely.

And, Pebble, the startup largely responsible for juicing interest in smartwatches back in 2012, sold itself to Fitbit for basically nothing last December. Its future products were cancelled, and support for current products will end soon.

Interestingly, Google reportedly told Apple Insider it plans to add Apple Watch support for its Google Maps app again in the future.

A number of other companies have also killed off their Apple Watch app, including US retailer Target, according to Apple Insider.

SEE ALSO: Google’s ambitious smartwatch vision is failing to materialise

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Sundar Pichai just hinted at how Google will make money from maps, and it sounds like lots of ads (GOOG, GOOGL)

Sundar Pichai just hinted at how Google will make money from maps, and it sounds like lots of ads (GOOG, GOOGL)

Google Maps is one of the company’s most popular services, but when it comes to bringing in revenue, Maps is not pulling its weight. 

That’s by design — Google admits it has been slow to monetize the app.

“We take a long term view,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai told a Wall Street analyst who inquired about potential plans to turn Maps into a more significant moneymaker during the company’s Q1 earnings call on Thursday

Pichai noted that Maps was still seeing strong user growth, even years after its initial launch, thanks to the spread of smartphones in emerging markets. Maps is “an integral” part of the mobile phone, he noted. And with the rise of new technologies like augmented reality, which overlays digital images onto the real world, maps will play a bigger role, he said.

So what about the money?

Pichai didn’t provide an explicit answer about plans for monetizing maps, but his comments give a pretty good sense of what the company might have in mind:

“I’m sure you have noticed changes in Google Maps with the last few months. If you open Google Maps, you’re traveling or out on a Friday evening, we start surfacing a lot more info about what you can do, places to eat and so on. So those are beginning to get good feedback from users and I think that gives us an opportunity to add value there overtime as well.”

The two key terms here are “good feedback” and “add value.” That’s the core philosophy behind all of Google’s advertising business. 

Google loves to talk about how its ads are actually useful to consumers rather than annoying distractions. In the case of search ads, that attitude has helped build a company valued at $610 billion. 

So if Google believes its Maps users are already enjoying getting recommendations about nearby restaurants and attractions in the app, it’s probably only a matter of time before Google gives businesses the “opportunity” to participate as well. 

No one wants their phone to be bombarded with unsolicited and intrusive coupons and promotional offers for every retail store they walk past on the street. But if you’re already searching and exploring for nearby places in the Maps app, Google could easily toss in a few promoted places or coupons to its current recommendations — or turn it into an ad platform of its own.

Pichai’s comments show the company clearly sees a place for ads in Maps. It’s just a question of when Google is ready to flip the switch.

SEE ALSO: Uber’s self-driving car boss, Anthony Levandowski, is stepping aside amid legal fight with Waymo

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Google, the world’s top advertising company, is building an ad blocker for Chrome

Google, the world’s top advertising company, is building an ad blocker for Chrome

Google, the internet’s biggest advertising company, may be building an ad blocker.

The search giant plans to roll out a feature in the next mobile version of its Chrome browser that would filter out certain types of ads, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday. 

Such a tool seems at odds with the company’s primary revenue source, but Google thinks that it could actually deter people from resorting to other blockers in the long run, according to the report.

By targeting only the most disruptive ad formats — pop-ups, interstitials, and autoplay videos, for instance — the hope is that less people will be driven to third-party software. Google already ostensibly bans many of these types of ads anyway. Read more…

More about Advertising, Ad Blocking, Google Chrome, Google, and Business

Russian Android users will now be able to choose between Google and Yandex

Russian Android users will now be able to choose between Google and Yandex

As part of Google’s ongoing dispute with Russian antitrust officials, Google has agreed to no longer require its apps be pre-installed on Android for access to the Google Play Store.

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