Washed up: Google Wave is cancelled

Google has halted development of its Wave project, just over a year after it was unveiled to great fanfare.

Washed up: Google Wave is cancelled

Google Wave was an uneasy hybrid of email, instant messaging, blogging and social networking. It was heralded as a ground-breaking form of real-time communication when it was first revealed in May 2009.

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

Initially, interest in the service reached fever pitch, with invites to the Wave beta changing hands for up to £55 on eBay. But that early hysteria soon petered out, with users struggling to find a use for the service.

“Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked,” admits Google fellow Urs Hölzle on the Google 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.”

One of those other projects is Google Buzz, which was controversially integrated into Gmail earlier this year, and uses many of the features first introduced with Wave. Google claims Buzz has tens of millions of active users, although it remains in the shadows of Twitter and Facebook.

Prepared to fail

For Google, the closure of Wave registers as another failed attempt to break into the social-networking market. The company’s Orkut network has largely failed to take off outside of South America, although it is heavily rumoured to be launching another social-networking project later this year.

Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company is still prepared to take risks. “Our policy is we try things,” the Google boss said in the wake of the Wave closure, according to a report on CNet.com. “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.”

Schmidt insists the company remains proud of the work that went into Wave. “We liked the [user interface] and we liked a lot of the new features in it [but it] didn’t get enough traction, so we are taking those technologies and applying them to new technologies that are not announced,” he said. “We’ll get the benefit of Google Wave but it won’t be as a separate product.”

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