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Google Discontinues Wave Communication App

August 5, 2010

Google Wave, a cross-platform, web-based application for real time communication that was announced in May 2009, is being dropped by the California-based technology firm due to a lack of interest, the company announced in a Wednesday afternoon blog entry.

The application, which featured live character-by-character typing, the ability to drag-and-drop desktop files, image sharing, enhanced spell-checking, and a plethora of other features, “a high bar for what was possible in a web browser,” Urs Holzle, Google’s Senior Vice President of Operations, said in an August 4 post on the company’s official blog.

“Developers in the audience stood and cheered. Some even waved their laptops”¦ [and] 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,” he added. “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,” Holzle said. “The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations”¦ are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began.”

Wave was officially released to the public in May following an eight-month beta-testing period, and the company had hoped it might surpass traditional email and enhance productivity by adding elements of chat and group access technology into the mix, as well as incorporating the ability to edit and add comments to other documents posted by other users.

“It was just too ambitious of an idea for mainstream popularity,” MG Siegler of TechCrunch.com told BBC News Technology Reporter Maggie Shiels on Thursday. “They were trying to do many things in a new way that people weren’t accustomed to. And while it may it have been great as a productivity tool, I don’t think Google pitched it well when they introduced it.”

“It would have taken a long time for the idea to gain any kind of popularity,” Siegler added.

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