Search engine giant Google has confirmed that it has withdrawn its bid to encourage renewable energy and scrapped its Wikipedia rival Knol. In a blog post, the company said that the decisions are part of its 'spring cleaning' process, introduced by Larry Page, the Co-Founder and new Chief Executive Officer of Google.
The 'Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)' initiative was developed to help cap the cost of renewable energy. But according to Urs Hölzle, the company's Senior Vice-President for Operations and a Google Fellow, other organizations are now better positioned than Google to take this research "to the next level".
To date, Google has ploughed more than $850 million into renewable energy technologies.
In addition to the announcement regarding renewable energy, Google has also confirmed that it is to close Knol in a bid to improve web content by "enabling experts to collaborate on in-depth articles". Instead of using Knol, which launched in 2007, Google has created Annotum, which it explains is as "an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress". It has, however, announced that Knol will work until the end of April.
Acknowledging that Google's projects have not all been as successful as the company had hoped, Mr Hölzle said: "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," Mr Hölzle explained, "our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience."
Furthermore, Google said that it is abandoning the 'Gears'-based version of its offline email access, in addition to 'Bookmarks Lists', 'Friend Connect' and 'Search Timeline'. Its 'Wave' service, meanwhile - which it had already scaled back work on - is to be discontinued at the end of January, Google said.
This comes shortly after new figures revealed that Google+, the social networking site launched earlier this year by the search engine giant, has been struggling to build on its early momentum. Indeed, research firm Experian Hitwise said the new site is "losing millions of visitors", having launched back in June.
Early figures suggested that Google+ may have been able to challenge the market dominance of Facebook, but that has transpired to be untrue.