In September this year, Google started a major clean up of its products and services to concentrate its resources on Google+ and other core products. They shut down a lot of services which were peripheral and hardly popular.
Earlier Google had also dumped Google Toolbar for Firefox and Google Labs projects.
Today it has dumped a few more services and the most notable names are Google Wave, Friend Connect.
Introduced in 2009, as the future of how people will collaborate and share content. It was never adopted and a lot of nice features were never really utilized.
Google Wave will go Read only in January 2012 and shut-down completely in April 2012.
It is also doing away with FriendConnect, which was popular on some Blogspot blogs. The axe on FriendConnect was expected as Google expects people to use Google+ badges on their websites. FriendConnect will be discontinued from March 2012.
Google stopped supporting Google Gears quite sometime ago. It was used mainly for Gmail offline. Lately Chrome as a new app to allow Gmail and Google Docs users to work offline. Google Gears will stop working from 1st December 2011 itself.
Google Knol, Google Bookmarks Lists are the other services that Google is shutting down. Google Bookmarks remains but the option of creating and sharing lists will be discontinued. Google Knol was also expected to close down for some time now.
Google had become a little unfocused with many projects but not enough quality. It usually creates something of a beta version of a service and then keep tweaking it to perfection. With too many services, Google probably was not able to innovate as well. Shutting down services which were not too popular was probably the only way out for Google.
Do drop in your comments.
(via Google Blog)