Google Wave, the online product that was supposed to change how we communicate and collaborate online, was killed by the company today, a victim of slow user adoption.
It's unfortunate that Wave had to die before it really had a chance to grow into something bigger and better. When the company introduced Wave at its I/O developer conference more than a year ago, the response was very "ooh-aah." I remember being impressed with what it had to offer - but the learning curve and adoption rate was slow. And quite frankly, Google did very little to advance it.
That's too bad. Wave may not have been the ultimate, end-all offering for 21st Century communications - but the team was definitely on to something. Email has become so bogged down that it's hardly the most effective or efficient tool for communications these days. Instant Messaging is effective - but it operates in a silo, independent of the other communications. The same goes with collaboration tools - they don't mix well with the communications offerings that are out there.
Granted, my defense of Wave isn't implying that I was a hardcore Wave user. In fact, I can't even tell you the last time I checked my Wave page. Sure, Google can blame slow adoption for Wave's death - but I don't see it that way. Google doomed Wave from the beginning by making it a standalone product and then doing very little - if anything - to promote the adoption or usage.
As much as I hate to compare Wave to Buzz, the Twitter copycat that offered very little in originality and should have been killed today instead of Wave, Google had it right when it incorporated Buzz into Gmail. That's where Wave belonged - in Gmail or Docs, not as a standalone product.
But there's no use crying over what's already done. Wave was killed prematurely. Buzz is still filling my Gmail page with a bunch of crap and e-mail remains an inefficient tool that we're stuck with.
Hopefully, Google will salvage some pieces of Wave and incorporate it into other offerings. Better yet, let's hope that Google - or someone else out there - has seen the potential behind a greater communications and collaboration tool and will take what Google started and finish it right.
Wave had potential to be so much more. It's unfortunate that Google was looking for instant success and couldn't see its potential to drive a much needed change in online communications in the long run.