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Google trims feature fat

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Google trimmed news "badges" and more as part of year-long house cleaning aimed at sweeping out unpopular, outdated or unneeded features at its online properties. 

"It is really important to focus or we end up doing too much with too little impact," Google senior engineering director Yossi Matias said in a blog post.

"So today, we're winding down a bunch more features -- bringing the total to nearly 60 since we started our 'spring' clean last fall."

Google is ditching many features that add little value or were never used much in the first place.

Features being eliminated included AdSense for Feeds, which let website publishers earn revenue by placing ads in RSS feeds, and Classic Plus, which allowed users to upload images to use as backgrounds at Google.com.

Google will consolidate online storage of data in Picasa and Drive, giving users five gigabytes of memory space for free overall for both services and options to pay for more capacity, according to Matias.

On Oct 15, the company will stop displaying "Badges" awarded for story-reading achievements at its online news pages and no longer show recommended sections.

Google Insights for Search was meshed into an improved Google Trends service that lets people compare search patterns in varying places, categories and time periods at google.com/trends.

An Android application that guided people to nearby places of interest was pulled from the Google Play online shop because the capabilities can be found in the version of Google Maps software for mobile devices.

"We want people to have a beautifully simple experience when using Google," Matias said.

"These changes will enable us to focus better so that we can do more to help improve the products that millions of people use multiple times a day."

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