So much for Google Wave. What was positioned as web-based software that could transform Internet communications is officially dead. Yes, Google has pulled the plug on Google Wave.
Google Wave blended e-mail, instant messages, blogs, wikis and other collaboration tools in a web-based application that aimed to allow people to communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps and more.
Launched with plenty of fanfare at the Google I/O conference in May 2009, Google called the HTML5 app a successor to e-mail and instant messaging, a reinvention of these tools that took a fresh look at what people need in communication and collaboration online. Now Google is waving goodbye to these aspirations.
Who Uses Wave? Few.
Google Senior Vice President of Operations and Google Fellow Urs Hölzle pointed to Wave's many successes in the past year. He recalled how Google demonstrated character-by-character live typing, and the ability to drag-and-drop files from the desktop, even "playback" the history of changes -- all within a browser -- at the Google I/O conference. And he remembered how developers in the audience stood and cheered, some even waving their laptops.
"The use cases we've seen show the power of this technology: Sharing images and other media in real time, improving spell-checking by understanding not just an individual word, but also the context of each word, and enabling third-party developers to build new tools like consumer gadgets for travel, or robots to check code," Hölzle said.
Despite the warm welcome -- and despite the successes and loyal Wave fans, Hölzle admitted the platform hasn't seen the user adoption Google hoped for. Therefore, Google will not continue developing Wave as a stand-alone product. Google will, however, maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects.
A Google Bust?
The Google Wave project wasn't a total waste of time. Google has already made the central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave's innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, available as open source. That means customers and partners can continue the innovation Google began. Google also plans to work on tools so users can easily "liberate" their content from Wave.
"Plain and simple, people weren't using Google Wave beyond a core of enthusiasts. It hadn't gained enough momentum to make it look like a potentially successful product," confirmed Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence.
Although some bloggers are praising Google for pulling the plug quickly, Sterling thinks Google probably could have done things -- simplify the product, do more education for users -- that would have driven greater adoption. Sterling, however, agreed that further investment was not justified.
"What's surprising is how Google shuttered the project a little more than a year after promoting it as a visionary product, which was several years in development, and the successor to instant messaging and e-mail," Sterling said. "I guess people just aren't ready to give up e-mail."
Posted: 2010-08-11 @ 7:22pm PT
"I guess people just aren't ready to give up e-mail"? what about: I guess people have enough of HTML bloat and are moving to short messaging and twitter (a.k.a. original email plus limit of 140 characters)?
Posted: 2010-08-05 @ 4:07pm PT
" And he remembered how developers in the audience stood and cheered, some even waving their laptops."
I was there at Google I/O when they released it. Nobody stood up, nobody waved laptops. False Hype... And I was severely disappointed when the big giveaway that upstaged the phone given away the previous day was "A free account on google wave". Whoop-dee-doo.
Posted: 2010-08-05 @ 1:53pm PT
Who cares? No one even used it anyway. If Google really wants to drop a complete and utter failure, they should drop the obscenely bad redesign of Google News, and fire everyone responsible for it. I'd prefer they were shot so they couldn't take their incompetence somewhere else, but unfortunately, we live in a civilized society.