Google drops Google Wave

Only a year after its release, Google's attempt at a social-networking service is being discontinued

A little more than a year after the service was launched, Google is pulling the plug on its Google Wave social-networking service, the company said Wednesday.

"Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked," wrote Urs Hölzle, Google senior vice president for operations, in a blog post. As a result of the public indifference, "We don't plan to continue developing Wave as a stand-alone product," he said.

The company will maintain the service through the end of the year, and the technology will be rolled into other Google projects, Hölzle said. Some features are already available as open-source components, and Google will offer tools to let users "easily 'liberate' their content from Wave," he said.

Hölzle implied that Wave might have been too radical of a concept for mass adoption, despite the company's many attempts to explain it to the public.

A "Web app for real time communication and collaboration, it set a high bar for what was possible in a Web browser," he said. "We weren't quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication."

The decision seems to have been made rather speedily. As recently as Monday, the company posted information about upcoming Wave developer talks in Washington D.C. and Michigan.

At the O'Reilly Open Source Conference last month in Portland, Oregon, Google Wave developer Dan Peterson admitted, in a Wave tutorial, that early versions of the service were slow and tended to crash. Subsequent work improved performance and made the product more stable, he noted.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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