Google may have spilled the beans about its next service shutdown

Google is infamous for ruthlessly killing services it doesn't deem successful or viable anymore. Just this winter, the company sunset Stadia, it's high-profile game streaming platform that it announced with much fanfare a few years earlier. It looks like Google just prematurely spilled the beans on yet another shutdown, though this one might not ring a bell for you. A banner has appeared in the Grasshopper app, a Duolingo-like service the company’s Area 120 team created to help you learn how to code.

As one of our tipsters spotted, a new banner has appeared at the top of Grasshopper's home screen that reads, "Grasshopper is shutting down on June 15, 2023." While the wording is as clear as it gets, the rest of the story isn't quite so straightforward. When you tap the "Read more" button, you're taken to a forum entry from what appears to be a Google employee's profile with the subject "Quick test, please ignore." It then goes on to say "Test post, should be unlisted." The post was published fourteen days ago on February 24. With the linking in mind, it's very likely that it was meant as a placeholder for the shutdown announcement, though it looks like it hasn't been updated to give any further information.

We haven’t been able to reproduce the banner in the app or on the website, so it might have been pushed live for a limited number of users inadvertently.

Grasshopper was announced in 2018 and was initially only available as an app on Android and iOS. The company only later brought it to the web in 2019. The service allows users to learn JavaScript using playful lessons, which are reminiscent of language learning apps like Duolingo. The app encourages you to come back every day to build a streak.

In its 2019 desktop launch announcement, Google said that the app reached more than two million people since its initial release for mobile. It was mostly pitched as an option for adults interested in getting to know basic programming skills, potentially helping them to explore new career paths.

Google axing the service wouldn’t come as a surprise, as the Grasshopper was launched as part of the company’s Area 120, its in-house incubator for startup-like ideas. The division saw severe cuts in 2022 as Google reacted to the slowing economic growth, killing half of its projects.

We've reached out to Google for confirmation.

Thanks: Anthonoy

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