Google Waves Goodbye to Wave

On Thursday, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Operations, blogged on the official Google Blog (which, funnily enough, is just some blogspot blog, but whatever) that Google would no longer be developing Google Wave. Key elements of the technology are OpenSource so they may continue to be used and developed but Google itself is phasing out the project.

When Google Wave had been out for about five months, I noted that I did not like it much because at the same time, I was in the process of moving towards more basic text for day to day tasks, and Google Wave, which allows someone else to type with real time character by character transtubualization onto your document, is very much the opposite of that in every way I can imagine.

But I’m not happy that Google Wave has in fact “crashed on the lonely shore of Software User Indifference.” Indeed, there are people and organizations that use it, and it is unique and interesting. Indeed, (if I may say “indeed” twice in the same paragraph) it is a little disconcerting that Google would drop the project not because they think it sucks (they don’t seem to think this at all, assuming they are being honest about it) but because it is not the new Word plus Power Point and everyone’s main collaboration platform. What is wrong with maintaining (especially if using OpenSource resources) a niche technology? Is Google a major technology and information company, or a popularity contest?

Personally, I’m happy to wave wave goodbye, but I’d prefer it if Google didn’t.

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7 thoughts on “Google Waves Goodbye to Wave

  1. @pough:

    It’s the “powered by WordPress” argument; if you go to an organization’s official website, and you see “Powered by WordPress” or “Powered by Blogspot” at the bottom, are you more or less inclined to respect their technical skills/credibility?

  2. I was … joking. One could say (remember, this is joke) that “real” blogs are on their own domain, and people who are not so serious blog on blogspot or, etc.

    Google does indeed own blogspot. So their blogging on blogspot is like having a major corporate executive lunch for the Burger King veeps and XEOs at … Burger king.

    It would be funnier, of course, if the Google blog was on

  3. Hi Greg, I salute your vision in recognizing that although the wave does not meet your requirements, it may very well be suited to the enterprise market…

    My name is Ilya Spitalnik and I am the CEO of the Greenwave Business Incubator, a Google-Era private equity and business incubation firm. We invest in seed- an early-stage companies, develop and support them to break-even and beyond.

    I’ll tell you what impact Google Wave had upon our business, and the speed at which we were able to integrate it into our corporate processes.

    From reading early-user reports, I deduce that I am one of the lucky ones who joined Google Wave late in 2010, when there were no sign-up restriction, many initial start-up problems had been ironed out and a large number of extensions and add-ons were functional.

    I will lead into my story by saying that I go through phases where I research new technology. This type of research leads you down â??rabbit holesâ? (following links from one article to another).

    I came across the Google Wave Developer Preview at Google I/O 2009 which I started watching at around midnight. Around 7 minutes later my jaw just dropped.

    Google was presenting the most advanced, most brilliant, extendable, open source enterprise collaboration tool that I had ever seen (and most likely that is out there) â?? and in inimitable Google style they were making it available for free?!?!?!

    If there is anybody who can sustainably create something that is â??too good to be trueâ? – its Google – in this case it was just â??farâ? too good to be true…

    I finished watching the Video around 2am as I was pausing to check the application features while they were being demonstrated in the video.

    By 2:15am I had sent outright orders – not requests but orders – to all Greenwavers (all the employees, outsourcers and entrepreneurs affiliated with our incubator) to sign up for a Google Wave account, watch some videos on how to use it and create at least one wave where I am collaborated to demonstrate that they were on the ball.

    By 5:23pm the following day everyone in our organisation, spanning 4 continents was using the Wave and although many people did not initially understand how it differed from email and instant messaging, as soon as we started collaborating on everything from contract design, training development, copywriting, logo design and marketing collateral everybody started to understand what this would mean for our business…

    Itâ??s important to note that I added the following instructions around 2 days after we started using the Wave: â??Wave was not to be used to replace email or Instant Messaging. The Wave is singularly used for team collaboration, and specifically for (multimedia) document collaboration. It is not an â??instant messaging or emailâ? platformâ?

    I get the sense that there was a serious flaw in Googles PR and marketing that confused to many potential users about this fact.

    For IM and VoIP you use Skype and for email you use Gmail and those are currently best of breed.

    To get a glimpse of the awesome power of the Google Wave you should see the Pulpwave from the @getwhirled team. I only discovered it amidst my research on Google Waves future, and that is when I set up the SaveTheWave Google Page

    SaveTheWave: Donâ??t get me wrong, I have no real illusion that Google will reverse their decision on axing the wave, in fact I canâ??t even say that I disagree with them: The wave is a an enterprise solution and is unlikely to be usable for the consumer market (in its current state) â?? so if Google wants to pursue the consumer space and further their foray into social media, then the Wave is not the way to go.

    What I am hoping for is that we can find a solution to retain the Google Wave infrastructure in its current state, so that companies such as ours will not be forced to migrate millions of waves into â??alternative vesselsâ?.

    Please get in touch with me Ilya Spitalnik if:
    1. Your organisation is directly affected by Googleâ??s decision,
    2. You love the wave and you want to be part of this effort,
    3. If you are part of the Google Wave development team or
    4. If you are a stakeholder in the Google machine in some other form.

  4. It’s a shame to see it go. I feel that something like Wave or something simpler like a wiki will be the way that 21st century scientific collaboration is going to go. Real-time, continuous peer review with open access seems like a good idea.

    Is Google a major technology and information company, or a popularity contest?

    This is capitalism, so both.

    Anyway, the real reason Google got rid of Wave is probably that Bing isn’t doing anything like it, and it seems to be Google’s raison d’etre these days to act more and more like Bing.

  5. Bing? Never heard of it.

    Ilya, interesting story. I’m sure that there are many like yours. Perhaps Google will do what it need to do to facilitate a continued opensource wave project.

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