Goodbye Google Wave, We Hardly Knew You

Citing slow adoption, Google (GOOG) announced Wednesday on its blog that it is halting development of Google Wave, an innovative email application which combined elements of live chat and real-time document sharing.

When announced in May 2009, Google Wave was lauded as a breakthrough technology which would change the way people communicate online. Members of the development community embraced it, including one who created an amazing online Wave animation using a scene from Pulp Fiction.

But in the Wednesday blog entry, Urz Hölzle, a senior vice president of operations, acknowledged, "despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked." He said Google Wave would be discontinued 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." He promised developers who had built new kinds of web applications using Wave would be given tools to "liberate" their code from the site.

Finally, he congratulated the team for the ways they had "pushed the boundaries of consumer science." Tech blog Engadget offered a moment of silence for the 'now-fallen experiment' of Lars and Jens Rasmussen, who also created Google Maps.

Aspects of their success will, presumably live on in other Google products, such as Gmail and Google Docs. But Google Wave will now join the ranks of amazing tech innovations that were, sadly, debuted well ahead of their time.