Google finally call time on Wave after a near universal lack of interest; however, does this now leave the door open for new social technologies like Google Me?
Google Wave was released in a bubble of excitement and expectation. However, less than a year later, it has finally burst [Update on Google Wave | Google Blog]. Competition to be one of the chosen few (well, 100,000) to test it was fierce, but it seems wider public adoption proved to be more challenging.
With Buzz still ticking over and rather loud murmurings emanating from Google HQ about a new social media platform, space for Wave was always going to be limited. Writing it off as a shambolic failure would be a little premature though I feel.
Technologies come and go. Some innovations succeed, whilst others fail – that’s just the way of things. For Google, Wave may well prove to be a vital learning experience. General consensus seems to suggest that this email/social hybrid worked. Eric Schmidt in a recent Q&A even described it as a “very clever product” [see: Eric Schmidt on the demise of Google Wave | CNet]. It just failed to reach the user numbers needed for it to function effectively.
Whilst Buzz neatly maintains Gmail integration, Wave has left a window of opportunity for a dedicated social service under the Google umbrella. Invariably some technologies they developed for Wave will now be pumped into a new format. They can learn from the mistakes of both Buzz and Wave too, hopefully creating an amalgam that works.
Just seeing Google ‘fail’ at something though is surprising enough. However, as with all their products, the marketing was limited to word of mouth and occasional employee tweet – so no wastage there, but perhaps an opportunity missed. With their market strength and resources, it is probably still deemed a better option to innovate and capitulate than simply tread water.
Anyway, the disintegration of Wave adds further credence to claims of Google Me’s existence. In fact, it might well pave the way for an earlier roll-out, who knows? What I do know though is that we can safely cross one off the list for ‘What to Look Out For in the World of Search in 2010‘ – ah well, you win some, you lose some.