After an underwhelming response from Internet users, Google has decided to can its Wave collaboration application.

What precisely was Wave? Very few bothered to find out beyond the few who were invited, and those who did appear to have turned away from it in short order.  Reports circulated of its complexity and lack of user friendliness.

Officially it was claimed to be capable of supplanting email by allowing groups of users to share information using a realtime workspace, a concept that, to be fair, no other company has managed to make work either.

“Despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked,” admitted Google blogger and senior vice president, Urs Hölzle.

“The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began.”

Google seems to have turned to the need to occasionally can projects into an odd form of company celebration in the style of ‘we are brave enough to fail’ mode that can look to outsiders like candid honesty.  To others it suggests that Google still struggles when it gets beyond the deeper engineering of search.

The focus will now turn to other modestly performing projects such as Google’s Buzz social networking tool, although that might survive thanks to its Gmail integration and strategic importance.