It has been a long spell of “Operation Product Cleanup” at Google. Some of the high profile announcements like shutting down of the Google Translate API and the outrage have seen it reframed as a paid version. Others, like Google Maps Flash, were not so lucky in the most recent round of API euthanasia.
In what it calls a "fall spring-clean," Google has marked a series of products for retirement. The blog post clearly states that the products identified do not fall anymore in the high-impact group and hence the decision to retire them.
The last couple of months have seen a significant rise in the number of APIs being marked for shutdown by various vendors, such as the demise of Yahoo Maps API. More than ever, developers will need to do their homework before integrating with an API, understand the API terms and explore alternatives should a need arise. It used to be that APIs from the big players were the ones to count on. These recent moves, especially from Google, should give developers pause.