Google wave is officially to be “abandoned”.
Past the surprise, the bitterness. Apparently, the all-in-wonder tool of Google didn’t get the user adoption it required to be continued. Still, the reasons behind this are puzzling. Google repeatedly makes actions towards collaboration in groups. To cite a few initiatives, Google Groups (awkward, but somewhat functional to manage projects perhaps), Google Buzz (past the initial privacy-leak outcry, nothing there to say, the use remains marginal at best), Google Docs (recently gifted with a google-wave like collaboration engine), rumors of a facebook contender (Google Me) and ultimately buying of the Farmville online games giant Zynga.
All points in the direction of ultra-collaboration, on the cloud.
By repeated attempts, it seems that Google aims at the global facebook market. People not knowledgeable about tools, not geeks. But still the strategy seemed to be geek-oriented, in hope that the minority of geeks would introduce Wave to the rest of people.
This was apparent since the first presentation of Google Wave, back in 2009, where they announced that the API would be open to developers, so that they can play with the technology.The problem is, the programmers and geeks should have used that opportunity to make the most out of Wave, and THOSE applications are the ones that change the life of the general non-technical public.
iPad and Flip. Rss has been around for ages, it’s the technology that allows you to subscribe to website’s news feeds. That way, you can collect all the news of the sites that interest you in a convenient place on your computer, and stay up-to-date. Rss is an obscure term, and even though reading the feeds is standard in most web browsers, few people use them. BUT first Feedly and then PageFlip are making this incredibly understandable, and convince a lot more people.
Same thing should have happened to Wave: development of simple applications that speak to all. But still some questions remain. Why would google pull the plug on his cherished tool before it becomes accepted? Arguably, the technology and interface are still immature, in that developing addons is quite a tedium and getting around in a bare-interface is too.
Were the costs of revamping Wave so important that they could overweigh the benefits? Let’s look at those potential benefits.
Wave is, simply put, a weblife organiser. It puts you in the center of a lot of communication possibilities in a coherent model: e-mail, blogging, social media, chat, forums could all be synchronised by a Wave mental model. In this case, logging in to your Wave account could allow you to check up on everything that happens on a variety of websites, for a single identity. All your preferred websites, in an even broader sense than iGoogle pages.
Example of things it could easily solve. Logging in to a flurry of different websites, view their latest activity and post new content. I log in to wave, see that I have two facebook messages: i can reply directly in those waves, and the messages get pushed to the format that Facebook accepts automatically. No need to log in, to laze about and lose concentration.
Problem: this scenario is impossible to achieve because of two reasons:
– facebook pushing is not possible because nobody made such an application. Because it was difficult (obscure programmatical model). Because facebook and the likes are not participating in the same vision, making that use fairly unobvious.
– wave hasn’t been thought for that specific purpose, and so was too general. but at the same time, the GUI wasn’t easy to modify (programmatical immaturity) and some specific templates of use are thought only for “Wave-viewing”, and not showing what can be made with the content of waves.
These two reasons result in the RSS syndrome: people don’t see the potential easily, unless served in a plate.
The plate was not served, RIP google wave.
And hello Apache Wave-in-a-box!