Google Wave has officially crashed.
The company announced Wednesday it will cease new developments for Google Wave, an innovative online communication tool, by effectively pulling the plug on the project just shy of its first birthday.
Wave launched last year in September with much fanfare as a platform designed to revolutionize the way people interact online by allowing users to share and edit information in real time. Unfortunately, this Google product was a bit ahead of its time, and many users were unclear on exactly what it was or how to use it. Frankly, even we have trouble describing it now.
“Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked,” Urs Holzle, senior vice president of Operations, wrote on Google’s official blog. “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.”
This isn’t the first time Google (Stock Quote: GOOG) dropped a much-hyped product. In 2005, the company released a tool called Web Accelerator, which was supposed to make the Internet run faster, only to shut it down after a week. Similarly in 2008, Google debuted an online virtual world in the same vein as Second Life, but abandoned it after five months due to a lack of interest from users. More recently, the company announced last month that it would discontinue the Nexus One, its signature smartphone.
All of this might lead you to believe that Google has a bad track record. But the company emphasizes that it likes to take risks with new products to see what works and trash what doesn’t. As Holzle said, “We have always pursued innovative projects because we want to drive breakthroughs in computer science that dramatically improve our users’ lives.”
Still, we can’t help but speculate which Google product will be next to bite the digital bullet. Currently, Google’s most vulnerable project seems to be Buzz, a social media tool launched earlier this year that enables users to post updates in the mode of Twitter or Facebook. Unfortunately, no one is using it. One report found that 90% of all Buzz posts are automatically generated from other social media accounts that are linked to Buzz. So maybe it’s time to finally silence Buzz once and for all.
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