Google To Kill Wave, Gears, Friend Connect And More Products In Third Round Of 'Spring Cleaning'

Google on Tuesday announced the third round of its "spring cleaning" effort, aimed at streamlining its product offerings across the web.

According to a post on the Google Blog written by the Senior Vice President, Operations and Google Fellow Urs Hölzle, the company is taking the axe to the following products and services: Google Wave, Google Gears, Google Friend Connect, Google Bookmarks Lists, Google Search Timeline, Knol and Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal.

Unlike some of the products on this list, Wave is going away altogether. Hailed as an "email killer" when it launched in 2009, Google Wave failed to catch on over the course of its first few months, and the company announced plans to terminate the project in August 2010. According to Hölzle's post, the service will become read-only on January 31, 2012 and will go dark on April 30.

"You’ll be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off," Hölzle explains. "If you’d like to continue using this technology, there are a number of open-source projects, including Apache Wave and Walkaround."

Web app development tool Google Gears, which the company began phasing out in March, will be shuttered by the end of the year. "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," wrote Hölzle.

Friend Connect, a tool that let developers add social features to third-party sites, will be usable only for Google's blogging platform, Blogger, as of March 1, 2012. Hölzle said that current users should create pages on the web giant's social network, Google+. "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," Hölzle wrote on the Google Blog.

(Visit the blog post to see what Google has planned for Bookmarks Lists, Search Timeline, Knol and Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal.)

Google has been cleaning house since it launched Google+ over the summer. In October, Google shuttered Buzz, its failed social network from 2010 that generated a huge privacy controversy during its early days. The company also announced at the same time that it would kill off Jaiku, iGoogle's social features and other products.

In September, the company announced that it would clear out 10 products, including Desktop, Notebook, Fast Flip, Aardvark and others. While a few products were axed entirely, features from some were rolled into Google+ or other, more popular Google services.

Google announced in October that 40 million users had signed up for Google+. If that number continues to climb, you can expect to see even more periodic cleanings-out of products and services.