Google Wave began saying its goodbyes a few days ago when development of the communication/collaboration facility software was suspended by the company. The website will be maintained until at least the end of the year.
The application, which was Google’s attempt to amalgamate the social and business networking of Facebook and LinkedIn with a computing platform and wikis, failed to attract the kind of attention Google hoped on its release on May 19th, 2010.
With its lack of a definitive use or market, its ambiguity was seen as its strength, but also its shortcoming. Most of the facilities of the application were available separately elsewhere in more accessible formats.
According to Jonathan Yarmis, in a report from Ovrum, the independent telecoms analyst:
“The ongoing growth of things like Facebook and Twitter probably killed Wave, as conversations that might have taken place there instead migrated to either a social platform (Facebook) or a more conversational tool (Twitter).”
“Even Google Buzz played a role in Wave’s death as the two were somewhat similarly targeted but Buzz, being more Twitter-like, was easier to understand and embrace.”
One thing is for sure, though. One learns a lot more from a failure than from a success, so this could actually play to Google’s advantage. Additionally, a socially-enabled collaboration platform is most likely on the way, as the nature of this particular market is constantly, and quickly, expanding and evolving.
And that platform will, just as likely, have its roots in the lessons learned from Google Wave.
“If and when Google introduces its platform (and really, it’s just a question of when), this would have obsoleted (sic) Wave anyhow. This way they just put a bullet in it now, so when they introduce the next platform, the focus isn’t on how this co-exists with Wave, or what this means for Wave, or anything like that. Wave is gone, will be quickly forgotten, and when Google does the next thing, for the most part no one will focus on Wave.”
I don’t know about you, but it’s refreshing when a company as successful as Google fails at something. It reminds us we’re all mortal, and infallibility doesn’t exist. Having said that, I can’t see how Google, innovative as they are, won’t turn the knowledge gleaned from this situation to its advantage.
Stefan Abrutat is an award-winning freelance writer, blogger and editor in a wide variety of fields, from sports to science, the philosophy of science, humourism, history, travel and food.