Google Wave, Knol and five more Google initiatives getting the axe

Google has announced the execution of seven products and initiatives, including the long-time-coming shutdowns of Google Wave and Knol.
Written by Matt Weinberger, Contributor

Google's calling it an out-of-season spring cleaning session, but it reads more like the handing down of a death sentence. Seven more Google products, features and initiatives are on the chopping block - including Google Wave, which has been a dead man walking ever since development stopped over a year ago, and Knol, Google's ill-loved Wikipedia competitor.

Here's the full list of services getting the axe and their respective shutdown timelines, as per Google's official blog entry:

  • Google Bookmarks List: An experimental feature for sharing links with friends, all bookmarks will be retained in the user's Google Bookmarks account when Bookmarks Lists shuts down for good on December 19th, 2011.
  • Google Friend Connect: Designed to help webmasters add social sharing tools to their websites with just a few lines of code, Google Friend Connect is pretty much made redundant with the advent of Google+ pages and badges. For anyone not using Friend Connect on Blogger, it's going to be shut down on March 1, 2012.
  • Google Gears: Before HTML5 became the hot new thing in the Googleplex, Google Gears was the lynchpin of the company's offline strategy. On December 1st, Google Gears will stop providing offline access to Gmail and Google Calendar, and by late December it won't be available for download at all. Instead, Google is working on building deeper offline modes into the new, HTML5-powered versions of the Google Apps suite.
  • Google Search Timeline: You'll still be able to see historical results for a search query using the navigation tools on the left side of the search page, but you're losing the ability to see the relevant graph.
  • Google Wave: Google's infamous blend of instant messaging, e-mail and collaboration never really found its audience and development ceased in the summer of 2010, effectively neutering it. And as of January 31st, 2012, Google's making all Waves read-only across the board, finally putting it out of its misery entirely on April 30th.
  • Knol: Google intended Knol to meet Wikipedia's collective editing strategy by enabling a network of experts to create a basis of solid, verified information. Unfortunately, Knol never caught on fire the way Google hoped, and following a shutdown new page setup on April 30th, 2012, individual topic entries will be available for download from May 1st through October 1st. However, Google has worked with Solvitor and Crowd Favorite for Annotum, an open-source publishing platform with a similar design philosophy to the soon-defunct Knol.
  • Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C): Google has decided that others are in a better place to help with this solar power initiative, and as such it's releasing its findings into the wild for the rest of the power tower community to take advantage of. But make no mistake - it's only this one initiative that Google is shuttering, and that blog entry makes it clear that the search giant is continuing to invest in alternative energy.

And there you have it. First Google Buzz, now Google Wave. It looks like Google is trying to make good on its promise of "more wood behind fewer arrows."

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