Google quietly shuts down standalone Google Showtimes movie site – TechCrunch

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It looks like the latest image from one of Google’s efforts to expand into more detailed vertical search pages. Without much notice, the search giant shut down its standalone movie site where people could search for theaters, movies and show times on a particular date and near a specific location, deploying certain features directly in its main search portal. “Google Showtimes,” as the service was called, now displays a 404 error if you try to visit its main page.

The “about” description, however, linked above, provides the following message:

“Google Showtimes was discontinued on November 1, 2016. You can now find showtimes on the search results page by searching for the name of the movie you want to see or try searching for the word“ movies ”to find out what it is. there are in cinemas. “

A spokesperson declined to comment further on the shutdown and whether it was part of one of Google’s recurring Spring Cleaning (or Fall Cleaning, as the case may be) service shutdowns.

It’s unclear why Google decided to shut down the separate portal, but there are signs that Google Showtimes isn’t much of a blockbuster for the business, and maybe even goes against the way Google. sees some of its biggest developments in research and media.

Google’s movie portal appears to have gone live for the first time some form in the fall of 2005, and as you can see in a screenshot from October 2016 below, it has never been updated much beyond its interface based on Google’s original, very simple and clean aesthetic. in his original research experience.

This was actually a good thing, it seems, as user groups (now old) on Google product forums, Reddit, and somewhere else who complain about the shutdown note the contrast with competing services like fandango and Movie tickets – which may seem more eye-catching but are less useful for finding theaters and movies based on specific locations and times that may not be exactly where you are at that precise moment.

These users now seem to be ready to go Google their popcorn to remove Google Showtimes and funnel some of the functionality into Google.com, which shows basic results like this when I search for a theater or movie here in the UK on Google.com:

screenshot-2016-11-07-at-15-26-55

It appears that Google didn’t do much to sell ads against Showtimes, meaning that the resulting traffic, as it was, didn’t necessarily translate into revenue for the company.

Google Showtimes has clashed somewhat with major trends in the film industry, which is gearing up for another tough year for theaters. Box office ticket sales for 2016 are set to be the worst in a century, according to Vanity Show.

Google Showtimes also stood out from the broader industry trend for streaming and Google’s ambitions to become a video distribution and consumption platform, as it did a full year before the acquisition of YouTube (and many years before services like Android TV).

Instead, Google Showtimes seemed more of the company’s strategy to expand into more vertical search categories, providing landing places for people who take to the web to search for specific information. and choosing specific portals to access it, rather than the Google tote. Google.com, a trend that has developed with the increase in smartphone use, where people want fewer steps between finding something and getting an answer.

This effort resulted in the creation of a comprehensive mapping product, Google maps, but also portals like Google Flights for the search of plane tickets and Google Finance for news and financial data. It may be that while Google is still working on new search experiences beyond Google.com, they are more likely to be based on other vertical definitions (such as mobile, location, etc.) than Google. could have originally conceived.

Indeed, Google Showtimes is not the first vertical portal that Google has closed. Google’s hotel search engine now lives in Maps, rather than as a separate site.


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