Google announced Knol, back in 2007 with the aim to create an authoritative knowledge base written by experts. The effort didn’t take off really except the initial hype. Everyone including Google seems forgotten about Knol till now, Google announced now that it is retiring the service with effect from April 30 2012, everything from the site will be removed but not from the servers. Users have the opportunity to download the articles till October 1st 2012 or can migrate their content to Annotum.org, which is powered by WordPress built in collaboration with Solvitor LLC and Crowd Favorite. Knol users can migrate their content to Annotum using Export option in Knol account, and users can set redirects from Knol to Annotum.
Along with Knol Google is retiring several other projects as well including Google Friend Connect, Wave, Google Search timeline, Google Gears, Renewable energy cheaper than Coal and Google Bookmark lists.
Google Friend Connect allowed users to add social features to their sites by embedding a few snippets of code. This also didn’t take off and with the recent launch of Google+ this feature is redundant. Google is retiring this service effective from march 1st 2012 for all non-blogger sites and suggests users to use Google plus.
Google Bookmarks lists is an experimental feature for sharing bookmarks and collaborating with friends, this is retiring from December 19, 2011. Only lists feature is being retired and bookmarks stay alive.
Google gears allowed web applications to be used offline, Gears for Gmail is quite popular, even WordPress has a gears plugin. In March Google Gears browser extension was ceased and starting from December 1st 2011 Gears based Gmail and Calendar will stop working and Gears won’t be available for download. To supplement this Google is using offline capabilities of HTML5.
Google Wave another over hyped product from Google is retiring, Infact the development of Google Wave ceased a year back. From January 31, 2012 onwards Wave becomes read only and users can’t create new ones. April 30, 2012 they will completely turn it off.
All of these services which are announced to shut are not popular with users, while some users might like some of these products but most failed to get user attention. That may be one of the reason to shut down all these products, in that way Google can focus on their main business, that is search and other initiatives like Google plus.