Google kills Wave and chance to reinvent online communications

Google kills Wave and chance to reinvent online communications

Summary: Google killed Wave, a move that also keeps the company from advancing communications tools.

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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.

Topics: Collaboration, Browser, CXO, Cloud, Enterprise Software, Google, Software

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19 comments
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  • Google kills more things than Microsoft does

    Sheesh.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • Right, that is because Google innovates a lot more that Microsoft.

      If you innovate you have to take risks. You have a lot of failures, but, you learn a lot.
      DonnieBoy
      • Google Wave

        Hardly innovative.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Just when I was wondering where all the Google-apologists have been ...

        I know I can count on you the old faithful.
        LBiege
      • And yet another failed attempt

        at something outside their twin cash cows (search and advertising) that people really aren't interested in.

        Too bad the only thing they're learning is that they should just stick to their twin cash cows.
        John Zern
    • RE: Google kills Wave and chance to reinvent online communications

      @NStalnecker As usual, the dinosaur speaks...did you type this from your Packard Bell?
      cyberslammer
  • I never had time to figure out Wave, and good they killed it. But,

    I imagine that the parts will be used in other places, and, they will take another stab later at replacing or enhancing email. In any case, it has to be a lot more intuitive!!!!!!!!!
    DonnieBoy
  • RE: Google kills Wave and chance to reinvent online communications

    I wasn't a huge fan of it. Basically, the way I saw it is that if one needed chat, one would be better served using Gtalk or IRC or Skype. The only place it worked well for me was in a classroom environment where you had people contributing source code snippets, etc. in collaboration. Rarely is it that business folk are working at the exact same time as one another.

    I do agree that it should, instead of being killed outright, be moved into Gmail. I'd use it then. Launching it as a standalone was wrong.
    jrockefeller1@...
  • RE: Google kills Wave and chance to reinvent online communications

    You can't reinvent internet communications with a product nobody can figure out how or why to use.
    txscott
    • No kidding. I knew the blog author's brain was missing

      when I read this line:
      "It?s unfortunate that Wave had to die before it really had a chance to grow into something bigger and better. "

      Things that are growing into something bigger and better don't die. They, you know, grow into something bigger and better.
      frgough
  • Wave is not dead

    At http://wavelook.com, we've created the first and only Wave client for Outlook and our wave web app is in private beta.
    WaveLook
  • Ignorance isn't bliss

    Browser support is important to gain grounds. But they decided to remain ignorant about that.

    A year back it was hard for them to admit that Flash is here to stay. But, a couple of months back they decided to include Flash with Chrome. Why? Because HTML5 video standard doesn't standardizes streaming, skipping and full screen. How else will youtube show overlapping ads and allow video sharing with <embed> code in facebook and elsewhere? What will happen to picnik.com if there was no Flash?

    If any one here is in developing websites please don't ignore prevalent technologies and browsers, even if you hate them.
    samunplugged
    • Flash? Really?

      @samunplugged What in the world does Flash have to do with this story? Are you really so knee-jerk defensive about Flash that you think any Google failure would have been saved if they had just included Flash in their browser? Sheesh. And they say Apple has fanboys...
      mrswine
  • Maybe Facebook is too prevalent now...

    Maybe there is too much of a critical mass in other social media, and coupled with the steep learning curve and no clear function (at least for casual observers) spelled its doom.
    Roque Mocan
  • Too Complicated For The Masses

    I was one of the early users of Wave, and I was not impressed with it, simply because it required that I invite all my contacts from gmail to use it, which made it a real hassle considering you had only limited invites.

    How about this...integrate a collaboration tool within Gmail or Google Talk that will allow me to use webcam, white board, file sharing, etc...instead of separating it into different entities I have to invite everyone to that's in my contact list.

    Another thing you all need to look at is webcam functionality in Google Talk. I shouldn't have to log into Gmail to use my webcam to collaborate with a colleage when I already have Google Talk open.

    My three cents.
    cyberslammer
  • @Sam Diaz

    "Buzz is still filling my Gmail page with a bunch of crap"
    Why not simply disable it?
    pool7
    • RE: Google kills Wave and chance to reinvent online communications

      @pool7 tried that today indeed. there are some terror pages where you're told that by disabling buzz you're also disabling this and that and that cant be undone. Not really understanding whats this and that i didnt procede.. that's the only people why people arent disabling it
      jccq
  • Totally right: this was ridicolously premature

    Google is clearly falling victim of some very less than brilliant management layer. The problem with Wave was that unlike useless buzz it was never integrated in the environment that's becoming more and more what people spend 50% of their time in during working hours: gmail. I couldnt possibly bother to go to another website so i was (faithfully) waiting to see it pop up in there.. but no way..
    jccq
  • Wave story

    I liked wave at a very first instant and thought wow what a tool with all things in one go...so what frustrated me? I am a convenience monicker, things should be in a go and that's what expectation from wave:
    1)people want to know it fast
    2)It worked on invitation principle..which in itself was a tardy thing!
    3)Thing become more slow, when for opening google wave first i open my gmail and going to wave is in itself was tedious.
    4) Where were the friends on wave all are there on gmail, first I have to send invites to my friends for wave then they are supposed to join that and then only something can happen!
    In short its well said in the article that Gmail, gtalk and wave all need to be collaborated. Google at this stage or product lifecycle should target their old customers rather than making new one that's what happened with google wave!

    Joshia
    http://www.iyogi.net/hp
    Joshia Angela