As another year draws to a close, it’s time to cast our eye back to the previous 12 months and pay homage to all the things we had to say goodbye too.
Which gadgets, features, technologies, and apps did we bid farewell to in 2018? And what are we looking forward to in 2019? Keep reading to discover our top picks!
1. Netflix User Reviews
In 2015, Netflix introduced a star-based rating system for shows on its platform. The system lasted barely two years before it was replaced with a thumbs up/down approach.
In August 2018, Netflix canned that system as well. Today, there is no native way to review content directly on Netflix.
What to use in 2019: Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. Both have user and critic reviews for thousands of TV shows and movies.
2. Spotify Running
The idea was a good one—Spotify would judge how fast you were running while out for your daily jog, then play songs with beats that matched your pace.
The feature was canceled back in February as Spotify continued its long tradition of killing widely-loved features.
What to use in 2019: Spotify has a lot of jogging playlists in its Workout category. You could also try Jog.fm. Just tell the service how quickly you run a kilometer, and it will play appropriate tunes.
MoviePass, the company, is still alive—barely. However, MoviePass as a trustworthy and reliable way to watch movies in the cinema is dead.
The company charged a flat fee to watch unlimited films in a month. However, cash flow issues forced it to change its terms. Millions of subscribers canceled their plans and the stock price plummeted to almost zero.
What to use in 2019: AMC Stubs A-List. AMC was one of MoviePass’ staunchest critics. It’s $19.95 per month membership entitles you to three movies a week in any format.
Snapcash was Snapchat’s attempt to enter the peer-to-peer mobile payments market. It was launched in partnership with Square back in 2014 but found itself under pressure from apps like Venmo and services like Google Pay and Apple Pay.
The service was officially retired on 30 August 2018.
What to use in 2019: There are lots of peer-to-peer payment apps. Some of the best include Venmo, Cash App, and TabbedOut.
5. Windows HomeGroup
Microsoft launched Windows HomeGroup with the release of Windows 7 back in 2009. It provided a way for users to share their libraries and devices with other people on their network.
In August 2018, it’s lifespan finally ended with the release of Windows 10 build 1803.
What to use in 2019: Windows has a new set of native tools that allow you to share your printer over a network and File Explorer with other people.
6. Facebook Friend List Feeds
Facebook is massively bloated with unnecessary features, so we agree that some trimming had to take place. But the Friend List feeds seems like an odd place to start. It let you see posts from specific groups of buddies without needing to wade through all the other nonsense you see on the platform.
The cynics, of course, would argue that forcing you to wade through the unnecessary stuff is exactly why Facebook removed it (cough, ads).
What to use in 2019: Lots of other social media apps offer some form of lists feature, allowing you to add users to groups and only see content from its members. The most prominent is Twitter.
7. Telltale Games
A well-known name in the gaming industry, Telltale Games was responsible for titles such as Jurassic Park: The Game, The Walking Dead: A New Frontier, Game of Thrones, and The Wolf Among Us.
The business unexpectedly shut its doors and filed for bankruptcy in November 2018. The issue arose after an investor pulled out during the production of The Walking Dead: The Final Season.
What to use in 2019: If you like narrative games, titles from studios such as Giant Sparrow are sure to please. 2017’s What Remains of Edith Finch and 2012’s The Unfinished Swan are both worth playing.
8. Google Inbox
Google Inbox is on its deathbed. In September, Google announced that the app would get no more features and would be left to die. It will officially go offline in March 2019.
Inbox tried to be a smarter email inbox, but its best features were increasingly absorbed into email providers’ standard apps over time.
What to use in 2019: The Gmail or Outlook apps. They offer features such as customizable swipes, smart replies, the ability to undo sent emails, and Wear OS integration.
9. Google Plus
It’s somewhat remarkable that Google Plus lasted as long as it did. It’s been a shell of a network for at least three years.
The news that Google planned to close the network was announced in October, less than a month after the Google Inbox news. It will go offline for good in April 2019.
What to use in 2019: Any other social media network. Depending on the type of content you enjoy, you can’t go wrong with one of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.
10. Yahoo Messenger
Ah, the memories. Yahoo Messenger went live in early-1998 and lasted until mid-2018, meaning it just broke the two-decade mark before Yahoo killed the app.
Yahoo Messenger offered live chat, file transfers, video chat, multi-person chat rooms, and integration with other Yahoo services like Yahoo Mail.
What to use in 2019: Officially, the company stopped developing Yahoo Messenger so it could focus on Yahoo Together, a Slack competitor. Our recommendation? Just use Slack.
11. Unlimited Video Storage on Google
Just recently, I realized how convenient Google Photos is for backing up my pics. You get unlimited storage for photos up to 16 megapixels and 1080p for videos.(You get around 8Gb(?) storage limit for higher resolution photos and videos) You can even backup your RAW files there.
— Away;See You Next Year! (@Niiru_san) December 14, 2018
Google has always offered unlimited photo and video storage to its users, as long as you were willing to allow Google to perform some compression on the file.
In late-2018, the company introduced some restrictions. Only videos in the MPG, MOD, MMV, TOD, WMV, ASF, AVI, DIVX, MOV, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, MP4, M2T, M2TS, MTS, and MKV formats would be free. Everything else would count against your Google Drive storage limit.
What to use in 2019: You’re going to have to keep using Google Drive. There’s still no other free service that comes close in terms of compatibility or data allowances.
12. Android Nearby Notifications
Android’s Nearby Notifications didn’t even make it to their third birthday. Conceived as a way for apps, sites, and services to alert you to helpful local information, they had developed into a giant spam network.
Support for the notifications ended on 6 December.
What to use in 2019: A smart assistant. It doesn’t matter whether you use Alexa, Cortana, Siri, or Google Home, all the services are capable of providing up-to-the-minute information about your local area, including news, traffic, events, and more.
13. YouTube Video Annotations
YouTube Video Annotations are something that we’re definitely not sorry to see the back of. They’ve been a staple poorly-produced YouTube videos for a decade, but as you read this, Google is removing them all.
The majority have already been deleted. They will all have vanished by 15 January 2019.
What to use in 2019: YouTube—in peace!
14. Apple iPhone SE
The iPhone SE launched alongside the iPhone 6S in 2016. It was the company’s budget device; the phone’s sole aim was to get people into the Apple ecosystem in a bid to grow market share. At just $399, consumers loved it.
The phone is no longer available. Apple ended its lifecycle in its September event.
What to use in 2019: Apple wants newcomers to buy the iPhone XR if they want an “affordable” model. But the XR costs $749—almost twice as much as the SE. If money is the most important factor for you, buy an Android.
At its peak, StumbleUpon was one of the most popular websites in the world. It had 40 million daily active users.
It paired people with articles, videos, and other web content that matched the interests they’d subscribed to. You could upvote or downvote the pages to further refine the recommendations.
After a 16-year run, the site shut down in June 2018.
What to use in 2019: Mix.com. StumbleUpon migrated all its accounts to Mix. It’s like StumbleUpon-meets-social-media. We’ve looked at other StumbleUpon alternatives if you’d like to learn more.
Happy New Year
So, that was 2018. Now it’s time to turn our attention to all the new and exciting tech that we’re going to see in the coming 12 months. Let us know what you’re most looking forward to in the comments.
And finally, we’d like to end by saying Happy New Year to all our readers. We wish you every success and happiness in 2019. Just make sure you stick to those New Year’s Resolutions!