Most of us in the U.S. are preparing for Thanksgiving, but it looks like Google is getting a head start on its New Years resolutions. As part of an effort to slim down the company’s multiple projects and put more focus on important sectors, it’s ending service for a handful of once-vibrant projects. Among the biggest are Google’s ambitious but under-used collaboration tool, Wave, Twitter competitor Google Buzz, Wikipedia-like aggregate Knol, medical records engine Google Health, and PC file-searching tool Google Desktop.
A lot of the abandoned projects have simply been superseded by newer technology. Google Wave and Google Buzz have both been overshadowed by Google Plus, which is getting a lot more adoption from mainstream users and technocrats alike. Google Desktop began way back in 2004, but its instant search action has been largely duplicated natively in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and OS X. The last version was released in May of last year.By April of 2012 all the above services will be completely shut down.
As Google expands into more and more markets with the incredibly popular Android, and the considerably less popular Google TV, this sort of this is unfortunately inevitable. There are alternatives for nearly all the services that are disappearing, but there are certainly users who will miss them. Google Desktop should at least continue to function in its current state, and Google has already open-sourced the software behind Wave for the truly dedicated to roll their own.