Nov 24, 2011 113 reads by Navneet Kaushal

Continuing on its spring cleaning path, Google has announced the end of seven more of its failed products including the failed social network Wave and the knowledge platform Knol. It seems that Google is walking steadily on its path to shut down its products that haven’t taken off. Some of the earlier products that have been axed include- Buzz, Jaiku, and even Google Labs.

Google Axe

Now, the search giant has continued its cull by calling it a day for more services including Gears, Friend Connect and Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE). Google Wave that was launched with a big bang in June 2009 was supposed to be the next big thing in social. However, people were not moved by its features to present email, IM, and other social media in one window, and in 2010, the company announced they would not work on Wave anymore. Wave could not create any big waves to pull users away from Facebook and Twitter.

Knol, launched in 2007 failed to challenge Wikipedia, and will be finally laid to rest on October 1, 2012.

Google Gears has also been axed, in fact the plug-in stopped supporting new browsers in March this year and in December, Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will cease operation across all browsers.

Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C), is also being shut down, as Google believes other institutions can take the cause of reducing the cost of renewable energy further.

Google wants to focus more on its newer ventures, as it is quoted, “In terms of the details, here is the latest update:

  • Google Bookmarks Lists– This is an experimental feature for sharing bookmarks and collaborating with friends, which we’re going to end on December 19, 2011. All bookmarks within Lists will be retained and labeled for easier identification, while the rest of Google Bookmarks will function as usual. As Lists was an English-only feature, non-English languages will be unaffected.
  • Google Friend Connect– Friend Connect allows webmasters to add social features to their sites by embedding a few snippets of code. We're retiring the service for all non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012. We encourage affected sites to create a Google+ page and place a Google+ badge on their site so they can bring their community of followers to Google+ and use new features like Circles and Hangouts to keep in touch.
  • Google Gears– In March we said goodbye to the Gears browser extension for creating offline web applications and stopped supporting new browsers. On December 1, 2011, Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will stop working across all browsers, and later in December Gears will no longer be available for download. This is part of our effort to help incorporate offline capabilities into HTML5, and we’ve made a lot of progress. For example, you can access Gmail, Calendar and Docs offline in Chrome.
  • Google Search Timeline– We’re removing this graph of historical results for a query. Users will be able to restrict any search to particular time periods using the refinement tools on the left-hand side of the search page. Additionally, users who wish to see graphs with historical trends for a web search can use or for data since 2004. For more historical data, the "ngram viewer" in Google Books offers similar information.
  • Google Wave– We announced that we’d stopped development on Google Wave over a year ago. But as of January 31, 2012, Wave will become read-only and you won’t be able to create new ones. On April 30 we will turn it off completely. You’ll be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. If you’d like to continue using this technology, there are a number of open-source projects, including Apache Wave and Walkaround.
  • Knol– We launched Knol in 2007 to help improve web content by enabling experts to collaborate on in-depth articles. In order to continue this work, we’ve been working with Solvitor and Crowd Favorite to create Annotum, an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress. Knol will work as usual until April 30, 2012, and you can download your knols to a file and/or migrate them to From May 1 through October 1, 2012, knols will no longer be viewable, but can be downloaded and exported. After that time, Knol content will no longer be accessible.
  • Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)– This initiative was developed as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy, with an RE<C engineering team focused on researching improvements to solar power technology. At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level. So we’ve published our results to help others in the field continue to advance the state of power tower technology, and we’ve closed our efforts. We will continue our work to generate cleaner, more efficient energy- including our on-campus efforts, procuring renewable energy for our data centers, making our data centers even more efficient and investing more than $850 million in renewable energy technologies.”

CEO Larry Page, after taking over from Eric Schmidt earlier this year has been focused on streamlining Google's projects. This new wave of spring cleaning is a result of the same.

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
Navneet Kaushal
Navneet Kaushal
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