You know, it isn’t often I talk about a DEAD project / product for “Tools of the Week”, however; when one of the 800 lb. gorillas makes a mistake, I have to comment a little.
Not too long ago, people (mainly tech people) were waiting to get an invite for Google Wave, a real-time user collaboration tool.
Now, Google has just pulled the plug and admits that while they are very proud of the team who made Google Wave and their innovations, they are not seeing the adoption they were hoping for and therefore are not going to push forward with any new updates to the software. They will, however; release much of the code (and some already has been) to open source projects.
Why did Google Wave Fail?
I hear third (or fourth) hand comments that many inside Google are breaking into camps on how to continue the innovation they are (rightly so) famous for. Some desire to make everything as fast as possible, some want to spend a little speed loading time by adding more code and, frankly, make it look nice.
I am one of those people who cheer the team who wants Google to spend a little time on the user interface, please.
Based on my headline above, is this the main problem I see that caused the code to fail? I don’t think so. I do, however; think it is a part.
I personally have a few concerns with anything that Google gives out for free. I understand their business model which is to bring people to their products (through the internet), advertising everywhere (or glean information from what they are doing) in exchange for the services, products, features you are using.
Generally, I am ok with that. However; I am not going to share too much on Google. I will share website analytic information, I get an incredible value (http://www.Google.com/Analytics) for doing so with little risk. I already show everything on my website to the world, Google is ok knowing who comes to my website and moves around on it. I am ok with that.
However; when it comes to more advantageous information (such as found in my emails, or real-time communication), I will not share that information with them.
Finally, I believe we already have popular products handling the functionality we need (IM, Skype, Webex etc) and we (the general public) were not looking for another product with an ugly Google interface to integrate with our work.
So, ugly interface, not sharing personal information, already have ‘good enough’ products = not moving over to Google Wave.
From the death of Wave, comes what children?
I certainly applaud Google giving the code (or as much as they have) to Open Source for others to use. It will be interesting what projects will integrate this code and continue new solutions in the future. Certainly, I expect someone to use some of this code in new and fascinating ways and many of us will benefit.
So, may we mourn (ever so briefly) over the passing of Google Wave, and wonder what the birth of new projects from the code they gave away will look like ahead.