Google drops Wave because of lack of users

By Maggie Shiels
Technology reporter, BBC News, Silicon Valley

  • Published

Google is waving goodbye to Wave, a product which the company said would transform the way people communicate online.

It blamed poor take-up by users of the service, which was launched to great fanfare just one year ago.

At the time Google described the tool as "how e-mail would look if it were invented today".

It combined e-mail, instant messaging and features that allowed people to collaborate on documents in real-time.

Users could see edits and comments written by other "Wavers" as they were typed.

"Wave has not seen the adoption we would have liked," said Urs Holzle of the firm in a blog post.

"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 product was created by two brothers Jens and Lars Rasmussen, who were also behind Google Maps.

'Clever product'

Last year Lars Rasmussen acknowledged to BBC News that the success of the platform depended on how many people were willing to join and use the tool.

"Without other people adopting Wave, it will never take off," he said.

"I have been accused of being pathologically optimistic about it but I can't see why people wouldn't want it."

Google has not said how many people signed up for or used Wave.

Speaking at Techonomy, a technology conference in Lake Tahoe, California, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said it was hard to say why Wave did not strike a chord with a majority of users.

"It's a very clever product. You never know why it didn't work.

"Our policy is we try things. Remember we celebrate our failure. This is a company where it is okay to try something that is very hard and not have it be successful."

Mr Schmidt said that Google will take what it has learned and apply it to something new. He refused to be drawn on what products the technology will be used in.

Many people who tried Wave complained that it was too hard to use or that they did not understand why they would use it.

"It was just too ambitious of an idea for mainstream popularity," said MG Siegler of the technology blog told BBC News.

"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.

"That said, it would have taken a long time for the idea to gain any kind of popularity."

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