An article by Steven Levy about the guy who founded the service, and it’s history:
Making the world’s problem solvers 10% more efficient: Ten years after a Google engineer empowered researchers with Scholar, he can’t bear to leave it
“Information had very strong geographical boundaries,” he says. “I come from a place where those boundaries are very, very apparent. They are in your face. To be able to make a dent in that is a very attractive proposition.”
Acharya’s continued leadership of a single, small team (now consisting of nine) is unusual at Google, and not necessarily seen as a smart thing by his peers. By concentrating on Scholar, Acharya in effect removed himself from the fast track at Google…. But he can’t bear to leave his creation, even as he realizes that at Google’s current scale, Scholar is a niche.
…But like it or not, the niche reality was reinforced after Larry Page took over as CEO in 2011, and adopted an approach of “more wood behind fewer arrows.” Scholar was not discarded — it still commands huge respect at Google which, after all, is largely populated by former academics—but clearly shunted to the back end of the quiver.
…Asked who informed him of what many referred to as Scholar’s “demotion,” Acharya says, “I don’t think they told me.” But he says that the lower profile isn’t a problem, because those who do use Scholar have no problem finding it. “If I had seen a drop in usage, I would worry tremendously,” he says. “There was no drop in usage. I also would have felt bad if I had been asked to give up resources, but we have always grown in both machine and people resources. I don’t feel demoted at all.”