Google is canning Wave, Knol, Search Timeline and Google Gears, along with a slew of other features in order to build up fewer products with more integrated features.
“Our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience,” the company explained in its third blog post concerning the sweep.
These products did not take off for Google as originally anticipated, so the company is axing them, leaving room for more important projects such as Google+, which is starting to see deeper integrations with successful Google products such as YouTube.
Wave, one of the products getting killed off, was a similar product to Google+ in that it allowed you to collaborate with friends and coworkers on a presentation or document. You could have conversations around a topic and introduce supplemental materials, but the product never really took off. Google+ now also has communication and collaboration features such as the screen and file sharing aspects of Hangout, Google+’s video chat client.
Wave will be completely turned off on April 30th, but those who want to save their files can download PDFs of them.
The company is also replacing Gears, favoring baked-in HTML5 features that allow you to work offline. Gears allowed Gmail and Google Calendar users to sync these products with an offline client, which cached e-mails and calendar updates. You were then able to read and respond to e-mails, which would be placed in your outbound box to be sent upon reconnection to the internet. Now, however, Google says there is a built in Chrome feature that allows you to work in this same capacity but does not exist as a separate product from the browser.
Knol was another collaboration tool Google hoped would improve web content. Similar to Wikipedia, it allowed topic “experts” to provide information and insight into that topic. Another axed product, Google Search Timeline, allowed you to see the history of results for a search term in graph form. Google is now directing Timeline users to Google Trends for this sort of information.
Google recently killed off Buzz in another “out of season spring cleaning.” More products may be on the chopping block in the future.