The Final Days for Google Wave Have Arrived: Read-Only Now, To Be Turned Off in April


Google Wave once looked like it could become Google's next big thing, but in the end, the service was too complicated and never developed enough of an active following. Just a few weeks after coming out of beta in August 2010, Google announced that it would stop developing Wave. Since then, though, Wave was still available for new users and there was still some limited activity on the service. Starting today, however, Wave is moving one step close to its grave as waves are now read-only, just as Google announced back in November 2011.

Wave screen 360On April 30, 2012, Google will turn the service off completely. Wave will live on as the Wave Protocol (now under control of the Apache Foundation) and on a number of experimental services.

Maybe Wave' most lasting legacy (besides the infamous 80-minute demo at Google I/O 2009) is that it, at least according to Google's own story, taught the company quite a few lessons it incorporated into its far more successful Google+.

When it was first unveiled, Google called it an "unbelievable product." Sadly, users never quite warmed up to the service and the core team that was behind it is actually now scattered among other Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook.

11:04 am

HP Gives up on webOS Hardware, Leaves Door Open for Licensing


When Hewlett-Packard (HP) bought Palm in 2010, it looked like webOS still had a bright future. First developed by Palm on top of a Linux kernel, webOS looked like it could potentially rival Android and even iOS at some point, especially given that HP wanted to put its full marketing power behind it. Today, however, HP announced that, as part of a major reshuffle of its business, it would stop developing webOS devices altogether.

Those webOS devices HP came up with, however, were at best minor successes and at worst, as in the case of the TouchPad tablet, major disasters (even though the hardware really wasn’t that bad). HP was never able to convince developers to release software for the platform and consumers aren’t likely to buy a device that doesn’t feature the right apps.

Here is the language from HP’s press release:

In addition, HP reported that it plans to announce that it will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.


In the past, HP was rather bullish on webOS. Just a week ago, the company was still talking about taking it beyond the tablet and phone and bring it to cars. HP also planned to bring it to Windows PCs as either a secondary operating system or as a shell on top of Windows.

No More HP webOS Devices

While HP’s CEO Leo Apotheker noted that the TouchPad did fulfill the company’s sales expectations, few expected the company to fully cancel the program altogether. In today’s earning’s call, he also noted that HP sees “too long a ramp-up in the market share” and hence decided to exit the market space as it is “no longer in the best interest of the company and its shareholders.” Interestingly, Apotheker only talked about the tablet business and didn’t address the phone business at all.

Given that HP still hopes to “optimize the value of the webOS software going forward,” there is still some hope that the company will choose to license it to other manufacturers or sell it to a competitor.

It’s hard to imagine who would be interested in the software, though, as virtually all of HP’s competitors already have their open tablet operating systems.


9:14 pm

Death by Zillow? Google Retires Google Maps Real Estate Listings


In 2009, Google launched real estate listings as one of the search options in Google Maps. Apparently, this was not a major hit, as the company today announced that it is retiring this feature because of “low usage” and “the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites.”

Google also plans to shut down the Google Base API, which listing providers used to submit their listing to Google Maps. According to the company, this posed major “infrastructure challenges.” Given the low usage of the service, it probably didn’t make sense for Google to re-engineer this API just for real estate listings as the new API is focused on inventory data for stores.

Killed by Zillow?

It’s worth noting that Google never really gave its real estate listings first billing in Google Maps. Unless you knew that feature was there, you would have only really stumbled upon it by accident. Now that sites like Zillow, Estately and others have cornered the market for these listings already, it probably makes more business sense to focus on helping real estate agents market their businesses to potential customers than on spending its engineers’ time on building a better real estate search experience (though if there is one market I can think of that could use even more disruption from the Internet, it’s real estate).

real estate portland Google Maps.jpg

12:59 pm