Though the ambitious online collaboration tool got gears spinning when Google first showed it off to a crowd of enthusiastic developers back in May 2009, interest has waned with time, and on Wednesday, Google officially dropped the axe on the fledgling project.
“Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked,” said Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of operations, 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.”
Wave attempted to merge chat, e-mail, and social networking into a collaborative tool for working on projects – in real time – with others. Despite a number of impressive technical feats, and Google’s own internal adoption of it, Wave’s purpose largely eluded mainstream users, who weren’t quite able to figure out what to do with Wave after logging in. Unlike Gmail, Google Docs or even Buzz, consumer applications for a collaborative tool ended up being few and far between, leaving only a narrow and geeky audience for potential users.
As for Google’s promise to “extend the technology for us in other Google projects,” we wouldn’t be surprised to see some features trickle over to Gmail, where Buzz has proven that Google can force adoption of anything – even if it does infuriate half its users in the process.