In what may be a first for Google, the company has decided to shut down one of its sideshows/experiments – Google Answers - after more than four years. Is this a new strategic direction for Google and/or a sign of the times that some projects should die a quiet death if they're not working well? If this is Google's new approach, you wonder how long it will be before Okrut and Froogle are pushed out of the portfolio. Who knows, maybe this move suggests Google will be more pragmatic about rolling out new services rather than slapping stuff on the wall and seeing if it sticks. While Google gets points for experimenting with all kinds of different things, its less-than-stellar success into new markets (Google Spreadsheets, anyone?) has arguably damaged its reputation as an innovator more than it has produced tangible benefits. Update: Rex Hammock has a theory why Google Answers failed: Wikipedia.