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Google Wave killed off: Drowning, not Waving

The tide has gone out permanently for collaborative inbox tool Google Wave

The tide has gone out permanently for Google Wave. The collaborative inbox tool will no longer be developed by Google although the site will remain online until the end of the year.

Despite a swell of excitement at launch, Wave is like the band that sells more t-shirts than records. It's undoubtedly a very clever collaboration tool, but we just couldn't find a use for it. In an exclusive interview earlier this year, Wave and Google Maps developer Lars Rasmussen told us, "It'll be five years before we can say 'this actually works'."

Google CEO Eric Schmidt told the Technonomy conference that Wave had been an experiment that would see benefits folded into other products. Schmidt shrugged off Wave's failure by explaining, "We celebrate our failures. This is a company where it is absolutely okay to try something that is very hard, have it not be successful, take the learning and apply it to something new."

Schmidt explained that the big G likes to throw stuff at the Web and see what sticks: "As a culture we don't over-promote products... we tend to sort of release them and then see what happens." What happened wasn't pretty for a surprising number of flops in the Google back catalogue.

That whole mid-90s Web startup slacker attitude is fine when it comes to clever but wacky tools like Wave and Google Buzz, but we would have liked to have seen a more concerted marketing effort for the Nexus One, for instance.

The Nexus One was an excellent smart phone that could have leveraged the Google brand to take on the iPhone 4 in the mainstream, but the launch campaign consisted of some Google employees tweeting that they had one and did anyone want a go? Compare that to the laser-guided, precision-focused military operation that is an Apple launch and you wonder if Google is missing a trick. After disappointing sales, the Nexus One recently kicked the bucket. It's not all bad news for Google, though: Android is doing rather well.

You notice we've gone this entire piece without saying anything about waving goodbye? To celebrate, let's remember the good times with the Wave versions of Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting. Be warned: they're both extremely sweary-mouthed.