Google's Australian Wave developers to keep jobs

Real time communication and collaboration tool being wound down due to underwhelming user response

The future of Google Australia developers is secure despite the announcement that work on Google Wave, being developed as a standalone product in Australia, will cease towards the end of this year.

According to a Google Australia spokesperson, local development staff assigned to Wave would be redeployed to other Google products under development locally. These include Google Maps, Google Apps, various network tools and geo-spatial products, and Google Blogger.

The spokesperson would not reveal the total number of developers working on Wave, but added that some would remain on the project to facilitate the transfer of key features of the real time communication and collaboration into other Google products as well as open source tools and applications.

Major capabilities developed through Google Wave include sharing images and other media in real time, live typing, dragging-and-dropping files from the desktop, and spell-checking using the contextual use of a word.

“But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked,” Google senior vice president, Operations and Google fellow, Urs Hölzle, wrote in a blog post on the the company's decision to wind down Wave.

“We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects."

Wave’s demise follows news in May that uptake of Google’s Nexus phone had also been neither as widespread nor as fast as hoped.

“…As with every innovation, some parts worked better than others,” Google vice president engineering, Andy Rubin, wrote in a blog post. “While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not.

“It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it’s clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from.”

According to the Google Australia spokesperson, the company would not become risk adverse in its choice of future IT research and products as a result of Wave's dismal reception.

“The great thing about Wave was that we were wanting to push the boundaries of computer science,” the spokesperson said. “We wanted to take big risks; it’s something Google relishes and is very much part of the psyche of the company.

“In fact, the founders [of Google] wrote in one of the first letters to the company that we were going to take big bets on big projects and that some of these will do really well and some won’t. That’s the way we run our business.”

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