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November 23, 2011

Google Says Goodbye to Wave, Knol and Five Other Failed Services

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

In a transparent bout of sugar-coating, Google (News - Alert) on Tuesday announced a small "spring cleaning" initiative, meaning the company is yet again shuttering a number of products and services that have failed to garner any user appeal.

The biggest name on the chopping block – Google Wave – doesn't come as all that big of a surprise considering the company ceased development on the project more than a year ago. The ill-conceived collaboration tool will meet its final demise on April 30, 2012, although it will become a read-only product in January.

Another victim of the latest spring cleaning exercise is Knol, Google's failed attempt to create an alternative to Wikipedia. While Knol will be shuttered at the end of April 2012, Google is working on an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform called Annotum, which may provide some value that Knol was unable to.

The other five programs to get the axe are below:

Google Bookmarks Lists: The experimental link-sharing and collaboration feature will meet its end on Dec. 19, 2011.

Google Friend Connect: The development tool, initially designed to enable Webmasters to add social features to their sites using embedded code, will be shuttered for non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012. If anything, the closing of Google Friend Connect is an effort to convince Webmasters to use Google+ badges as an alternative.

Google Gears: Google is saying goodbye to its open-source interface for accessing offline Web apps like Gmail and Calendar. The closing is part of a broader push to incorporate offline capabilities into HTML5. Google Gears will be going away on Dec. 1, 2011.

Google Search Timeline (News - Alert): Google is eliminating the physical graph of historical results for a specific query, but users can still access the information using the navigation tools on the left side of the search page. Google didn't give an end date, so it seems as if this change has already been made.

Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C): In a rare moment of humility, Google admitted that others are better equipped to tackle the issue of making solar power more sustainable. Google has published its results and is moving on.

The announcement comes just a handful of months after the company killed off Google Labs, a website that lets users toy around with early prototypes. The moves are part of Google CEO Larry Page's (News - Alert) broader initiative to streamline and simplify its product line, concentrating more on what makes money…like advertising.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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