The much-hyped, rarely understood Google Wave project–essentially an email application with more intensive real-time collaboration and communication tools bolted on–will be developed no longer, Google announced in a blog post this afternoon. Can’t say that it’s much of a surprise.

Wave was composed of several technically innovative individual parts, like its real-time, as-you-type chat, an advanced spellcheck algorithm and the ability for developers to build their own add-ons. Innovative enough, in fact, to receive a Best of What’s New nod last year. But the service lacked cohesion. Put simply: no one knew what to use it for.

Here at, we looked at using Wave as our command central for running the site (we currently use the web chat service Campfire), but found it too complex and in many ways ill-suited to the task. Having co-workers see what you’re typing each keypress at a time–mistakes, recasts, backspaces and all–was more awkward than useful. And I still don’t think I understand the methodology of storing conversations and projects in “Waves.”

We, apparently, weren’t alone. Google says “Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked.” It will be maintained through the end of the year, and for those rarefied few that understood the service enough to start using it, they’ll have a way to export all their data before the plug is pulled for good.

Google Blog