* Says other institutions better placed to carry on effort
* Announces six other projects it will cease supporting
By Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 22 Google Inc has
abandoned an ambitious project to make renewable energy cheaper
than coal, the latest target of Chief Executive Larry Page's moves
to focus the Internet giant on fewer efforts.
Google said on Tuesday that it was pulling the plug on seven
projects, including Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal as well as
a Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia service known as Knol.
The plans, which Google announced on its corporate blog,
represent the third so-called "spring cleaning" announcement that
Google has made since Google co-founder Page took the reins in
The changes come as Google is facing stiff competition in
mobile computing and social networking from Apple Inc
and Facebook, and as some investors have groused about rising
spending at the world's No.1 Internet search company.
"To recap, we're in the process of shutting down 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," wrote
Google Senior Vice President of Operations Urs Holzle in the blog
Google said that it believed other institutions were better
positioned to take its renewable energy efforts "to the next
Google began making investments and doing research into
technology to drive down the price of renewable energy in 2007,
with a particular focus on solar power technology.
In 2009, the company's so-called Green Energy Czar, Bill
Weihl, told Reuters that he expected to demonstrate within a few
years working technology that could produce renewable energy at a
cheaper price than coal.
"It is even odds, more or less," Weihl said at the time. "In
three years, we could have multiple megawatts of plants out
A Google spokesman said that Weihl had left Google earlier
Google noted in its blog post that it would continue efforts
to generate "cleaner, more efficient energy," including procuring
renewable energy for its data centers.
Among the other projects included in Tuesday's "spring
cleaning" were Google Knol, Google Search Timeline, Google Gear,
Google Friend Connect, Google Bookmarks Lists and Google Wave, an
ill-fated social networking and communication service that Google
had previously said it would cease developing.
Google said that in December its email and calendar
applications will no longer work with Gears technology, which
allows Google's software to work when not connected to the
Internet. Google said it is working to create offline capabilities
into HTML5 technology instead.
Google Friend Connect, which allows website publishers to add
social features to their sites, will be retired in March for all
non-Blogger websites, Google said. It suggested that websites use
its Google+ social network instead.
Earlier this year, Google said it would "wind down" Google
Labs, a website that offered public access to experimental Google
products, as well as terminating products that let consumers
monitor their home energy consumption and keep track of their
personal health records.
Shares of Google, which finished Tuesday's regular trading
session down 94 cents, were up 86 cents at $580.86 in after hours