I'm having a hard time believing that!
How would a company bring the best and latest technologies to the public, as an open source, open protocol, federated system and pull the plug, a couple of weeks after opening it to the public (without invitation) claiming that they didn't see the adoption they thought they'd have ? It's like developing `postfix` for 4 years, then stopping development just before you ship it to the main distributions so that a real network can live. Of course, if we had only one MTA server on earth, that would be a little problematic for the adoption of e-mail, but Google didn't get (had not yet got) to that point where they allowed for the network to emerge.
Also, large parts of the code is already released, and the specs are out, Novell created their Pulse service and a whole lot followed. How would it be possible that they went to a point where they had a usable product, that any company could potentially take over, and they, the creators of the technology, would just run away in the field. It's like if they were going to miss their own boat!
People say it was difficult to grasp. Come on, you only had to see Wave in use for 5 minutes to start drooling (and understanding). Seriously, it's only a white page, and you can type text in it, make it bold and drag'n'drop some users from a contact list. Is that what people don't grasp ? Sounds to me like some known concepts!
They've invested several millions, they didn't do a lot of fanfare about the product, except that 1h-long video (plus some others, and user contributed videos), so was that only a technology preview for some other things ? Didn't they really believe it could kill e-mail ?
I just can't believe Wave is completely dead, so this is why I list here some of my speculations:
- Google is preparing something huge, they've learnt a whole lot about real-time communications, and they'll plug everything into Google Me, which will revolutionize the face of the web, finally making it real-time without the constraints of the Google Wave client (the fact that the wave is inside a single site's iframe).
- Google has ported all it's technology to Google Docs (allowing for real-time sharing and collaboration). They have larger adoption there, no need for a separate client, and they'll plug all their robots/gadgets things in there. No need for a new account to a new service to have all the benefits, only feature upgrade. But there again, there is only one central Google Docs, no federation, so that would be against the open-source philosophy, and would mark a regrettable move by Google.
- Google will do another incredible move, which I can't even speculate about, that leverages all the awesome technology they've developed in Google Wave, all to users's amazement and satisfaction, and will finally kill e-mail.
- They've stepped on a patent from another company and they don't want to go forward because a trial could be fatal for the whole company (perhaps?!?).
UPDATE (16h15): Look below for Eric Schmidt talking about Google Wave's "death"... I think he alludes to my option number 1: