Google is engaging in a bit of what it calls out of season spring cleaning, or indeed autumn cleaning, sweeping away a number of products and initiatives which haven’t worked out like so many dead leaves.
The biggest profile casualty to be officially closed is Google Wave, which has been pretty much deceased since the firm announced it was halting work on the social/collaboration project last year. Of course, Google+ is now the sole focus on the social front.
Wave will become read-only in January, and will be completely shut down in April 2012, the few months grace being given to allow folks to export any content they wish to keep in PDF format.
Knol is also being culled, Google’s attempt at a Wikipedia style service. Knol will continue to run until the end of April 2012, but will then be switched off, although content will remain accessible until October when the plug will be completely pulled.
Support for the Google Gears browser extension was withdrawn earlier this year, and next month Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will cease to function over all browsers. Gears will no longer be available for download come Christmas.
Google notes that it is refocusing on HTML5 when it comes to offline capabilities, and that it’s possible to access Gmail and other services offline in Chrome.
Some other bits and bobs are getting the chop, such as Google bookmark lists, which was an experimental feature to allow sharing bookmarks with friends.
Google’s “Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal” project has also come to a close, with the company publishing its results to date, and passing the baton to other companies who are “better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level”.