back to article 55-inch Jamboard and app ecosystem tossed into the Google graveyard

Customers aren't usually left with a mostly useless 55-inch Android tablet when Google sends another of its many services to the graveyard, but here we are. The Jamboard and its accompanying apps will cease to work in a little more than a year. Jamboard is a giant touchscreen Android tablet intended for collaborative …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Leaving the device with limited functionality,

    Butty promised...

  2. ianbetteridge

    Do we think Google is deliberately going out of its way to show business customers that it just can't be trusted?

    1. DS999 Silver badge

      Anyone who trusts Google to continue a product outside of their core offerings of Search, Maps, Android and of course ad platform is a fool. Anything else is at some degree of risk.

      At this point I would be surprised but not totally shocked if someday they decided they didn't want to bother with email any longer and announced a phaseout of Gmail!

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge

        Business customers?

        It's the schools i'm worried about. They won't have the resources to install the alternative software etc. Never mind train staff on it. They'll just be left with a useless pile of junk, and be forced back to blackboards and chalk. Not necessarily all bad then I suppose

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Business customers?

          Were there really schools (outside of private schools for the wealthy that have money to burn on frivolous stuff to make them look "cutting edge") that spent $5000 on these things? If they paid for them at all, I'm sure they got them at a deep discount. And probably they weren't used very effectively, with most teachers sticking with the blackboard because that's what they know from when they received their teaching degree in college.

          1. Roopee Bronze badge

            Re: Business customers?

            You are way out of date!

            I stopped working in primary schools over 10 years ago but at that point every school that I went in, and most others in the UK I believe, already had a large interactive whiteboard in every classroom front and centre!

            There may have been a blackboard around in some rooms but they had already been sidelined as a teaching aid.

            Icon - similarly anachronistic :)

            1. DS999 Silver badge

              Re: Business customers?

              Blackboard and whiteboard are basically the same thing, modulo the difference between dealing with chalk dust and dealing with students sniffing the pens. An electronic version of that would cost a lot more without providing much additional benefit.

              I've been inside local grade schools and they didn't have anything fancy like that. Haven't been inside junior high/high schools since I was in school so I don't know what they've got. I could see where being able to type math formulas legibly would be a useful, as well as animating equation solving and so forth. At least I would have appreciated it as remember a few teachers whose legibility when writing on a blackboard was a problem!

              1. sabroni Silver badge

                Re: Blackboard and whiteboard are basically the same thing

                But the discussion is about INTERACTIVE whiteboards. Is that the same thing as a blackboard?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >> Anyone who trusts Google to continue a product outside of their core offerings of Search, Maps, Android and of course ad platform is a fool. Anything else is at some degree of risk.

        Anyone who trusts any SaaS vendor to not kill off a product when it suits them is a fool. Because it's not just Google who kills off services, Microsoft is a mess of constant change as well.

        There has always been a risk for anything where you had to rely on a 3rd party for some software or service to work. It's nothing new.

        It's also not necessarily a problem. The key here is to make sure your business can deal with the change when it happens (i.e., you have a plan B). Which, of course, many businesses don't have, but it's because they are lead by fools.

      3. 43300 Silver badge

        The email platform must be really great for collecting data which can then be used for targeted advertising, so for that reason I'd expect them to keep this one!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ... going out of its way to show business customers that it just can't be trusted?

      Well ...

      If Google customers ever actually considered that Google could be trusted, then they are the ones who cannot be trusted.


    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Going out of its way? No, this is its way.

    4. Wade Burchette

      Google probably discontinued Jamboard because it was not making any money tracking you.

    5. aerogems Silver badge

      I worked at Google for about a year, primarily with the engineers who build their network racks and trays and whatnot (yes, they make and sell those things). It seems like almost as soon as they launched some new model, they'd put out the LTB and discontinue it to replace it with something else. That may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but far less than you might think. I was pretty removed from that whole process, and was only there for about a year, so if even I knew about it then there was probably plenty of others I didn't know about.

      Sometimes Google reminds me of Wells Fargo during the whole fake account scandal. Executive bonuses were tied to creating new accounts for people, and ultimately the administrative overhead of creating all these accounts was costing the bank money, but there was this disconnect between the left and right hands of the business. One side was incentivized to do something that actively harmed the company, even not accounting for the shitstorm that hit when this scandal broke. And no one seemed to stop and consider that there are only so many possible customers out there. Even if you figure people who have more than $100K to their name creating new accounts to keep within the FDIC coverage limit, there has to be some upper limit on the number of new accounts that can really be valid accounts. Just another case of different people within the same company being incentivized for mutually excusive goals.

  3. Howard Sway Silver badge

    The Jamboard.....

    is toast.

    And another $5000 reminder that you should never ever buy hardware that depends upon cloud services.

  4. Michael Hoffmann Silver badge


    Paraphrasing from an observation I made on another forum:

    What does it say about the future of GCP.

    - under any other circumstances you would think that they simply can't afford to give up Cloud

    - but GCP has been losing hundreds of millions every year, and they're pretty far behind the 2 juggernauts

    - AWS and Azure are rolling it in, despite spending decreases

    - they can't just fall back to their trusted approach of "when in doubt inject ads or hoover up all the data"

    - try that with cloud services and you would have a rare moment of unity with corporations and governments clamouring for a nuclear strike on Alphabet HQ

    - far from the ever-upward gravy train of cloud spending, companies have reined things back, and of course, as denizens here like to point out, cloud isn't a panacea

    Having now worked with it a fair bit, it's a good platform/product, but when has that ever stopped them from cancelling something if it doesn't make money?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: GCP

      But they need server farms for their internal use, and running a public cloud gives something for their sysadmins to practice on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google is the fish that rots from its head

      Google has one big problem, and that problem is it's CEO Sundar Pichai.

      GCP shouldn't lose money. It's the most reliable and secure cloud platform amongst the big vendors. And a lot of today's cloud technologies were developed within Google.

      Google is full of great stuff.

      But because it's lead by a CEO who has shown to be only interested in Google's ad business and who has demonstrated an inability to monetize the many assets Google has in a way that's sustainable (profitable) and valuable for Google customers, products are withering and new ideas are turned into products by someone else.

      Great potential ruined by another lackluster CEO who is incapable of, you know, leading.

    3. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: GCP

      Problem with Google Cloud services is their general lack of customer services.

      With Azure and AWS huge amounts of information, lots of examples in a wide variety of programming languages.

      With Google Cloud, minimal information in comparison, not that many languages well covered (Google especially poor on examples with languages that they may hate (e.g. as competitor linked) but are widely used commercially e.g. C#). The other 2 big cloud providers more pragmatic as know its all about getting people to try it and some of the trial users will stick (for commercial use, if you are going cloud then typically want to have 2 providers for fall-back purposes and so a lot of trial / exploratory coding gets done to see which provider you are happy with - AWS & Azure also good with free / cheap trials whilst you prototype workflows and see if cloud does the job (or not)). Google just seemed far less user friendly, which is the opposite of what is needed - with commercial emphasis (unfortunately too often) on getting things done as quickly as possible, then the more frictionless / faster to get up and running cloud offerings are at a big advantage.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Over 20 years ago

    I used an interactive whiteboard that worked with a projector. It was touch sensitive and fed the pen position back to the PC to project onto the board. It allowed you to annotate slides among other things.

    It even came with an "eraser" that could wipe the marks off.

    USB connected.

    It's knowing shit that this that makes me deeply unpopular with vendors. Especially ones that try to pretend they innovate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Over 20 years ago

      Jamboard has been killed because it's essentially a product which never saw any real adoption.

      I guess spending $5k plus licensing wasn't such an attractive value proposition when there were already other alternatives which cost a lot less.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Over 20 years ago

      I've got one in my trailer waiting to go to the recycling centre!

  6. aerogems Silver badge

    Another Solution In Search Of A Problem

    Outside of like TV news anchors, what practical use case is there for something like this that can't be done just as well with a $100 whiteboard and some dry erase markers? I read El Reg, so obviously I'm a fan of technology, but sometimes low-tech solutions are just better. Maybe some day someone will create some kind of interactive device that beats a chalkboard/whiteboard or even an old overhead light projector, but that day definitely isn't today.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Another Solution In Search Of A Problem

      Smartboards are very nice. I have used a few. The problem is the price. Yes, there are smartboards which cost more than $5k. However, there are also smartboards which cost under $500. They aren't as fancy as Google's things, but they work. And they have been around for over a decade.

      A good smartboard makes quite a difference from a traditional whiteboard or, worse, a blackboard. (I haven't seen a black, or even a green board in decades. Lots of whiteboards, though.)

      I suspect that their things didn't sell because they cost too much and didn't offer good enough functionality.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Another Solution In Search Of A Problem

        "A good smartboard makes quite a difference from a traditional whiteboard"

        But does it make enough difference to justify the cost?

        1. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Another Solution In Search Of A Problem

          The cheaper ones, yes. It's very useful to have something that converts my terrible handwriting into readable text. It's useful to be able to display diagrams, pictures, maps, etc., and to be able to move them around as necessary. I once had a history class taught using a smart board; animated displays of battles such as Saratoga, the Virginia Capes, Gettysburg, Hampton Roads, and Midway made it much easier for the students.

          Medical-type stuff is also greatly helped by a smart board. And, of course, many IT concepts. Using a $10k board would be overkill, but a $1k board, not so much. There are a lot of $1k and under boards out there.

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Another Solution In Search Of A Problem

        a traditional whiteboard or, worse, a blackboard

        Leaving aside the dust problem, the one advantage a blackboard has over a whiteboard is longevity. Give it a couple of years in a typical classroom and a whiteboard goes grey with all the pen which doesn't quite wipe off any more, and if some idiot cleaner tries to use a "product" to clean it up and damages the glossy surface (granted, that's sometimes necessary when a different idiot uses a permanent marker instead of dry-wipe), it's even worse. When a blackboard (traditional or roller) starts to go grey, give it a wash with plain water. If that doesn't work, the traditional type can be repainted and back in use in a few hours (or be a regular summer-break job for the school caretaker).

        And don't get me started on the way that Epson seemed to have cornered the (UK) market in classroom projectors with their "lucky if the LCD module lasts three years" units, when DLP would have been much more robust... hopefully less of an issue now they have mostly ditched discharge lamps for lasers.


        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Another Solution In Search Of A Problem

          "when a different idiot uses a permanent marker instead of dry-wipe"

          If leaving a business you're not fond of, always make sure that you replenish the box of marker pens in the statonery cupboard with some permanent markets mixed with the existing dry-wipe ones. Nobody reads the pen. A more direct, but riskier approach is to subsitute the pens directly in the meeting rooms. Ideally with big "write on walls".

          As AC I can't choose a suitable icon.

  7. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    It would have avoided the ill-will if Google had said we'll send an update to remove the internet dependency and provide a cross-platform application to replace the functionality locally.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      I'm sure Lineage could spin up a version for Jamboard but they'd need time, and they're having enough trouble keeping up with e-waste being churned out by multinationals as it is.

  8. Oliver Mayes

    We played around with one of these a few years ago. They set it up in the middle of the office and encouraged everyone to explore it and see if it would be useful to put one in each of our meeting rooms.

    After a few days there was a presentation about it in the all-hands meeting, where a manager gushed about the functionality and demonstrated how it even had a 'History' feature, so if you erased something by accident you could rewind it and get your notes back. He clicked the revert button rapidly and a wide variety of crude drawings, that had previously been erased, returned to life in front of a few hundred staff.

  9. Mike 137 Silver badge

    The Jamboard and its accompanying apps will cease to work in a little more than a year

    So it will have cost first adopters a little over $800 per year in capex, but at least they'll save the $250 'annual management dashboard fee'.

    When they've got you by the balls, they don't give two hoots about your hearts or minds.

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