The internet has once again proved to be the true liberator of choice. Users have rejected Google Wave and sent it back with the tide whence it came. Two years in development for little return, surely someone must have been wrapped on the knuckles for this giant failure.
Google were majorly excited a little over a year ago when beat version invites were selling for £55 on eBay. At the time they were quoted as saying:
“After months holed up in a conference room in the Sydney office, our five-person “startup” team emerged with a prototype. And now, after more than two years of expanding our ideas, our team, and technology, we’re very eager to return and see what the world might think. Today we’re giving developers an early preview of Google Wave.
A “wave” is equal parts conversation and document, where people can communicate and work together with richly formatted text, photos, videos, maps, and more”.
CEO Eric Schmidt insists the development work has not been a waste of time, stating, “We liked the user interface and we liked a lot of the new features in it but it didn’t get enough traction, so we are taking those technologies and applying them to new technologies that are not announced, we’ll get the benefit of Google Wave but it won’t be as a separate product.”
As previously discussed in other posts on this blog, the one stop shop isn’t necessarily something internet users want. The enjoyment of the internet is freedom to choose and place loyalty in different corners of the web, rather than being bullied into using one service for all aspects of internet life. Complexity is also a consideration, although we are an internet savvy generation, many people are easily stressed by technology and Google Wave was, at a first, daunting to say the least. Google has its roots firmly set in SEO, search engine marketing and advertising. Therefore, aside from Google mail everyone associates Google with search which is perhaps another reason Wave was ignored.
Whatever the reasons, Google Wave is to be developed no further. Google confirmed this with the following statement.
“We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication. 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. But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects”.
With a few billion in the bank, I am sure Google will get over this hiccup and get back to SEO, search engine marketing and advertising, yet when you have that much money it isn’t always about the money. In the case of Google Wave both pride and image have been dented, for now at least.