Goodbye to Google Wave – I Won’t Miss It
Ah, Google Wave. You had so much promise. So much hype. And now, you’re gone. And I say good riddance!
That might be a bit harsh, but for all the anticipation, I was left wanting more. A lot more. It was like softcore porn.
But the intentions were good, they really were. So before bashing the downfalls and shortcomings, let’s look at the positives, shall we?
So, Google Wave did try to fix the issues modern homosapiens have with multiple communication channels. Let’s face it, with all the different ways to communicate, the message is quickly getting lost in the ether (or the proverbial cloud). I could text, email, IM, call, Tweet, Facebook and more. But each of those operations had a unique platform. And sometimes a unique device, although those barriers are quickly being decimated by mobile everything devices.
We’ve seen this kind of bundled success before. It’s likely that you’re using it right now to view this, your computer desktop. Microsoft’s Windows platform and the Apple OS’s among others (including the Google desktop OS) are early versions of Google Wave. They combined the functionality of multiple applications into one central access point. Hell all mobile OS’s do the same thing. But we want everything to sit in the cloud, be universally accessible from anywhere. That was Google Wave, with a concentration on communication.
I believe was a valiant effort, a good first try if you will. There are really only a few platforms that are in a position to try something like this right now, something that really requires a single sign on. Facebook has it’s Connect program, allowing you to log into other platforms with your Facebook credentials and participate. Google uses the same thing with it’s multitude of platforms including Google itself, gmail, calendar, Youtube and more. Then there are HUGE user bases like Yahoo, MSN and AOL that could potentially have the scale needed to successfully execute a single sign program.
But despite Google’s large number of accounts, the usage just never reached that critical tipping point. And that, in my opinion, is the one major fault that led to the demise of Google Wave. There just wasn’t enough adopters to make the channel viable as a central point of communication. Now, why didn’t more people adopt. I’ve got one reason.
Numero Uno. Exhibit A.
No integration with other platforms. Period. In order for a mass communication portal to work, you have to be able to aggregate mass. AOL’s instant messenger has got to be one of the most popular IM tools available, it didn’t show up, Google instead opting for it’s Chat program (and rightfully so, it’s theirs). Hotmail, Outlook, nothing. So no email integration other than gmail. And come on, no Twitter or Facebook? Oh wait, we did get Google Buzz! (Sure hope you caught the sarcasm).
That shortcoming led you to only connect with other Wave users. Well, you know what. I already have an AOL account, and I”ve been using it for years (since I was 12, ahh-thank you), I’ve got all my buddy lists built and organized, and my emoticons are cool, and the preferences are exactly how I like them. So… I’ll stick with that. And I believe that kind of thinking was rampant. I mean, I’m already following Snookie on Twitter, I don’t want to have to find her again through Wave. The less contact I have with her the lower my chance of collecting and STD (to my knowledge that’s not possible through Cyber-Space yet, but if anyone could do it I think it would have to be someone from Jersey Shore).
And let’s talk about the first edition of Wave. It was buggy, and clumsy, and the UI was a mess. Overall, it just wasn’t a very good experience. I know plenty of other Google products have been through similar stages, with other more viable and established options and come out on top. But Wave never reached the critical tipping point.
Perhaps Wave is just too ahead of its time. We’ve seen examples of this kind of technology introduction for a long time (Friendster anyone?). Maybe we just need to wait for the youngsters of today to develop into the centralized all digital communicators that a product like Google Wave needs. Or perhaps we’ll just wait for Google Me to come out (the highly-anticipated rival to Facebook, Twitter & Linkedin). I’ll be sure to try anything that comes my way.