Google says goodbye to Wave

Google has waved goodbye to its online collaboration service Wave. The company, which launched the developer preview of the service last year, said in a blog it had not “seen the user adoption [it] would have liked.”

It said it would axe the service at the end of the year, although the technology behind the service would be used for different Google projects.

When Wave hit the technology world in May last year, few would have predicted its short lifespan and ill fate. At the time, the service, which allowed users to communicate and share information at the same time in the same workspace on the internet through a mash up of email, instant messaging, blogging and social networking, reached its pinnacle with invites to the Wave beta being sold on eBay for up to £55.

Urs Hölzle, senior vice president, operations & Google Fellow, said the company at the time was just as excited about the project.

“We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication.

“But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.

“The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave,” he wrote from a bog.

However, the company is not admitting failure. Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, played down the significance of the Wave announcement. “Our policy is, we try things,” he told delegates at a technology conference in Lake Tahoe, California.

“We celebrate our failures. This is a company where it is absolutely OK to try something that is very hard, have it not be successful, take the learning and apply it to something new.”