Google abandons renewable energy push
Google has pulled out of its bid to encourage renewable energy and ditched its Wikipedia rival Knol.
The search giant said in a blog post that the moves were part of its continued ‘spring cleaning’, instigated by new CEO, co-founder Larry Page.
Urs Hölzle, the company’s Senior Vice President for Operations and a Google Fellow, said that the “Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative was developed as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy, with an RE<C engineering team focused on researching improvements to solar power technology. At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level”.
The company has published the results of its work to date, and said it was investing more than $850 million in renewable energy technologies.
Google is also closing Knol, which it launched in 2007 “to help improve web content by enabling experts to collaborate on in-depth articles”. It has instead created Annotum, which it describes as “an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress”. Knol will work until the end of April.
Google conceded that its projects have not all been as successful as it had wished.
“We’re in the process of shutting a number of products which haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for, integrating others as features into our broader product efforts, and ending several which have shown us a different path forward. Overall, our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience,” Hölzle claimed.
Google is also abandoning the ‘Gears’-based version of its offline email access, as well as ‘Bookmarks Lists’, ‘Friend Connect’ and ‘Search Timeline’, which produced a graph of search engine results over time. The company additionally confirmed that its ‘Wave’ service, which it had already scaled back work on, was being discontinued at the end of January.