Google Waves Goodbye – Has the tide gone out for Google Wave?

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It seems only yesterday that I received an invite to Beta test Google Wave and after a few early issues, the service (I thought) developed into a fun platform in which to chat and collaborate in real-time.

Google have given a press release to the future of the Wave product and it doesn’t look as if it will be supported much after this year.  From the Official Google Blog:

….But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. 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. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

Speaking as someone who whilst was not a regular user (but kept a keen eye on the platform after it went public), I saw two major problems with what I still believe is a viable (and slightly different) social networking tool.

The first one was the searching of Waves.  If Google Wave was meant to appeal to a mainstream audience  the “casual/average” user had to get their head around how to search for Waves that contained items of interest.   Todays “casual” user, wants everything on a plate and they want it yesterday, if it’s not immediate they move on.

The second problem for Wave was the explosion of Twitter which I don’t think Google would have predicted.  Although Twitter could be said to be a different type of product, Twitter offers far more immediacy in terms of learning curve which mainstream users who have no interest in exploring new techs are lapping it up.

Google Wave appeared to require far too much of an investment of time to appeal to the “Twitter generation” and my excitement for Google’s product initially didn’t consider that.

It is a shame though as I liked Wave, even though I don’t think it ever really slotted into the market.  The “l33t” will always champion IRC or similar for collaborative chat and the mainstream will like the simplicity of Twitter/Facebook wall et al.  Wave didn’t really offer a home for either and the limbo it found itself in ultimately left it vulnerable to the chop we are witnessing now.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

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