Active development on Google Wave, a collaboration tool that used features of email, chat and document sharing, has been shut down. Google announced that the chief reason for discontinuing Wave was the low user adoption. The platform will live on within other Google projects, as well as the many portions of Wave that have been open sourced.
In the official announcement Google’s Urs Holze, Sr. VP of Operations, shared the company’s plans with the technology:
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. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began.
In recent memory, there are few product releases that created as big a launch hype as Google Wave. It was touted as the email killer, one that would revolutionize how we collaborate with each other. The interesting, most forward-looking part of it, was that it was all delivered within the browser.
Wave even came with an ecosystem of extensions, the Wave API, where developers could extend it, using Robots and Gadgets. It seemed at the time, that once the hype settles down, the developer ecosystem would take over, delivering high quality extensions that would further drive Wave. But that did not happen.
One possible reason is that Google released Buzz, which also has an API. The cross-over of features caused confusion. Did Buzz kill Wave?
Google Wave despite its end, was an interesting product. It will not come as a surprise, if other products released by Google are built on the same foundations. What is next for companies that were building competing products? 12Sprints from SAP and PBWorks were being touted as Google Wave killers.